Safe driving is ‘un-manly’

February 17, 2011

According to a study carried out by the UAE University, safe driving is considered to be ‘unmanly’, ‘cowardly’, and practices followed only by ‘unskilled drivers’. Non-safe behaviours, such as tailgating, cutting up other drivers, flashing lights to get others to move out the way, etc. are reportedly considered ‘respectable’ by young men surveyed in the United Arab Emirates. The study also found that a large percentage of drivers in the country partake in reckless and/or illegal driving practices, such as driving whilst using mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, and eating and drinking whilst driving.

“Driving-related accidents are the single largest cause of fatalities in E&P related operations” (OGP), with driving presenting a risk not just to freight and distribution, but also to employees driving on company business and to and from work on a daily basis  (in recognition of this risk, Shell produced the Hearts and Minds tool Driving For Excellence, available from the EI Hearts and Minds website).  Whilst the study focuses on the United Arab Emirates and is not necessarily representative of other countries or regions, it does show how cultural differences can affect safety behaviours, and considering the Middle East’s importance in the petroleum industry, this may be a study worth reading.

Human factors in process safety – Process Safety Management Framework published

February 10, 2011

The EI has published High level framework for process safety management, available here.

The publication provides a framework to which organisations can work to in order to effectively manage process safety. It essentially lists (at a high level) the things an organisation should be doing in order to maintain the integrity of their operations. This will allow organisations to monitor their process safety performance and give an indication of whether or not they are likely to suffer a process safety incident in the future.

The framework consists of 20 elements, within which are listed a number of expectations. Whilst many elements are more technical in nature (such as the management of safety critical devices) it is interesting to note that human factors issues appear throughout – e.g. ensuring ‘adequate numbers of competent personnel are available to fulfill defined emergency response plans’ and inclusion of human factors in risk assessments. Some elements have very well documented human factors issues associated with them – e.g. element 19 ‘incident reporting and investigation’ – and there are a number of elements that are specifically or in large part human factors issues, for example: element 1 ‘leadership, commitment and responsibility’; element 3 ‘Employee selection, placement and competency…’; and element 4 ‘Workforce involvement’.

It can sometimes be all too easy to associate human factors purely with behavioural safety (‘slips, trips and falls’) whilst overlooking its (arguably more pertinent) contributions to process safety. That human factors is intrinsic to good process safety performance, as recognised by High level framework for process safety management, is therefore very welcome.

Human factors performance indicators – Research report published

February 8, 2011

The EI has published a new research report – Human factors performance indicators for the energy and related process industries. The report is available here.

The report was jointly funded by HSE, Lloyds Register and the EI, and explores what performance indicators are and how they are used, and proposes a methodology for selecting human factors performance indicators for each of the HSE top 10 key human factors issues. The report also provides a list of example human factors performance indicators which are already being used by industry or which could potentially be used.

Performance indicators for human factors is a fairly new and contentious topic. It should be noted that the research report is an initial step in exploring this topic, and so should not be regarded as mature guidance. The EI would therefore greatly welcome any feedback that you may have on this publication, especially if you have used it or intend to make use of it in developing performance indicators.

Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 2/6: Rolling out Hearts and Minds – the importance of push vs. pull

February 7, 2011

Dr Robin Bryden is currently seconded by Shell to work as Head of Safety at Sakhalin Energy in Russia, but he is probably better known throughout the energy safety sector as being one of the original developers of the Hearts and Minds toolkit.

In the second part of this interview Dr Robin Bryden tells the EI’s Hearts and Minds Programme Officer, Stuart King, about his experience of rolling out Hearts and Minds in Shell:

“When we were first rolling out Hearts and Minds in Shell in 2001/2002, we had a choice: do we push this out or do we create pull? The option we chose was to create pull, which was initially very successful in that a lot of people were interested and wanted to take part, it created a lot of excitement, and it was something new. Previously Shell had focused on engineering solutions and process safety, but not on the behavioural and cultural side of safety, so this got people energised, and having a set of tools to help people do that was just what was needed.

This was before the time of high bandwidth internet, so we rolled it out almost like a road show really, myself and a couple of others travelled the world on request. We’d give people information, write magazine articles, etc. People heard about it and said “oh this is interesting can you tell us more”. Then they’d request us to physically come to them and explain it further, run some workshops, and see how we could apply Hearts and Minds locally.

But in hind sight, we relied too much on pull and didn’t put enough resources in place to enable people to use Hearts and Minds as much as they wanted to. The original philosophy for long term use was that you don’t need additional resources; you take it and embed it into existing things you’ve got – tool box talks, training, etc. But I now realise that you can’t just bring the tools in and change those things instantly – you have to put something in between to help you bridge that gap.

For example, people wanted to take Hearts and Minds and its concepts and go and use the tools, and whilst we gave them all the information to do it, we wanted them to rely on their own resources. I guess we thought the pull method would be resource neutral, and in some cases it was – where we had really passionate people, they were able to take it and get on. In some cases that worked very well, but it would have been even more successful if we’d have combined that with a change management plan and additional resources – so top-down support but relying on people to take what is in the toolkit and customise it and make it their own and deliver it themselves.

The lesson for others is to recognise that it does take effort separate from the day job to implement a change programme, and you do need to put additional resources in place for a short period to help you look at Hearts and Minds, customise it, and get it embedded into existing activities. The push is as important as the pull.”

Part 1 of this interview is available here.

ASM webinars – Feb 14 & 17 – Open to all ASM members

February 7, 2011

The Abnormal Situation Management Consortium (ASM) is a Research and Development Consortium founded by Honeywell, Inc., in partnership with BP, Amoco, Chevron, ExxonMobile, Shell and Texaco.  It aims to address its members’ concerns about the high cost of accidents and incidents:

“by conducting research, testing and evaluating solutions that develop and advance the collective knowledge of the members, and by directing development of tools, best practices, and services that facilitate the conversion of ASM® knowledge into practice.”  Source: ASM website (Mission statement)

ASM has announced an upcoming webinar open to all employees of ASM members. The webinar is titled Effective Procedure Practices: A Review of the ASM Consortium Guidelines and Related Studies. In 2010, the ASM Consortium published the guidelines document Effective Procedural Practices. This guideline document contains recommendations for the development and use of procedure practices based on several years of collaborative research. The webinar will focus on the related research about the content across the guideline categories – procedure development, content and format, deployment, maintenance and training and the recent finding on the nature of procedure execution failures during abnormal situations.

Please visit the ASM Consortium webpage for more information about this webinar.