• Alarm Audit

    2010 - Power/oil

    Andy was asked to carry out an alarm audit at a facility controlling power generation and supply to oil production sites. Over 20 gas turbines and a distribution network were controlled from a central location. Andy found that the system had evolved over a number of years, resulting a mismatch of control and monitoring technology being used. All had their own alarm systems, with varying problems and were in desperate need of review and rationalisation. Andy identified that operators were overloaded with alarms, but had developed coping strategies that allowed them to prioritise their actions. He provided the client with a plan to fundamentally change the way alarms were being managed that would improve reliability and process safety.  This was very well received, and Andy was asked to return to implement the proposals at a new facility. In fact the client was so impressed they offered a financial bonus.

  • Alarm review and rationalisation

    2011 - Power/oil

    Andy acted as leader of an alarm review for two new gas turbines.  He ran a workshop attended by representatives from operations, engineering, projects and maintenance teams; as well as EPC contractors and vendors.  Andy's first task was to achieve an agreed alarm philosophy consistent with latest standards and guidance including EMMUA 191.  This was then applied to the proposed set of alarms for the turbines and associated systems.  The result was a significant reduction, with approximately 70% being converted to journal notifications that would be recorded but not create an audible alarm in the control room.  This approach allowed fundamental changes in the way the turbines were to be operated where the operators could concentrate on proactive monitoring of the plant whilst the maintenance department would be responsible for identifying and planning maintenance interventions.  As well as specifying improved alarms, Andy's report made recommendations for improved process graphics and performance reporting.

  • Critical task analysis

    2011 - Power/gas

    The client had identified that they needed to improve their management of process safety risks. A key element of this was human factors, with Critical Task Analysis being a defined as a deliverable for all facilities. Andy was tasked with assisting eight sites around the UK with identifying critical operations and maintenance tasks, carrying out task and human error analyses; and recommending improvements to the way human factors risks were being managed.  All personnel involved were impressed with the practicality of the methods Andy used and Andy's ability to identify areas for improvement.

  • Human factors during Front End Engineering Design (FEED)

    2007 - Gas, power

    The client was carrying out Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for a decarbonised fuel power station. The plant would reform natural gas to create hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which would be reinjected into depleted gas wells to achieve sequestration. Being a radically new concept, the client wanted to ensure all good practices were followed throughout the design, including human factors.

    Andy was given the role of identifying key aspects of the plants future operation. He identified the critical tasks, analysed them and specified requirements for plant design, control systems, user interfaces, procedures and training. The project contributed to the client's development of an internal human engineering standard and was nominated for a corporate award for safety innovation.

  • Human factors risk assessment of live line, high voltage electrical work

    2008 - Electrical system at an oil company

    The client's operation involved a number of remote, onshore sites that were supplied by 33kV electrical supplies. In the past any work on the electrical supply lines required them to be isolated. In order to minimise production interruption the client was considering carrying out some activities with the electrical systems live. Andy was asked to evaluate the risks of human error of live line working and to advise whether it should be pursued by the client. He visited the preferred contractor for the work, observed them in practice and held lengthy discussions with their technical experts. He completed task analyses of the tasks for both live and dead line working, and used these to identify the potential human errors. His conclusion was that live line working has been accepted in many countries as a safe way of working and with good management and control there was no reason why the client should not adopt it. In fact it could be safer than dead working implemented correctly. Andy provided the client with the information they needed to inform their decisions and a list of recommendations that they would need to implement to carry out live line working safely.

  • Safety management system review

    2004 - Gas power station

    The client was in the process of commissioning a 750 MW combined heat and power (CHP) power station that was to supply electricity to the national grid and steam to nearby industrial facilities. Andy reviewed the newly developed safety management system to advise on whether it was fit for the needs of the operating plant and compliant with the Health and Safety Executive's guidance (HSG 65) and the Occupational Health and Safety Specification (OHSAS 18001). Andy's review confirmed the system was largely compliant, but that it was in danger of being unnecessarily bureaucratic. He made a number of recommendations to simplify the system by ensuring the true nature of hazards and risks were reflected by the system and its associated procedures.