Cogent launches guidelines for competency management systems

July 28, 2011

Cogent has launched Guidelines for competency management systems for downstream and petroleum sites.

The guidelines have been written with input from downstream industry specialists, and aim to support the industry’s health and safety policies and procedures.  They will be reviewed in the light of new technology, operational experience and the sharing of best practice, as well as legislation.

The new guidelines are designed to ensure that an organisation’s competency management system not only improves staff motivation and performance, but critically reduces risks and the potential for human error.

Cogent CEO, Joanna Woolf said:

the need for organisation-wide processes for both developing and monitoring the competence of staff is paramount within both the sector and its supply chain.

These guidelines have been designed to ensure such processes leave no stone unturned, and that competency management is enshrined across the entire workforce.”

Chris Hunt, Director General UKPIA added:

a sound competency management system aligns organisational needs with the development needs of individuals within the organisation.

It demonstrates that your employees and contractors are competent to carry out the tasks they are required to perform, and that they are continually developing, alongside the introduction of new technology and regulation.”

The benefits of an effective competency management system may include:

  • improved staff motivation and performance on the job;
  • an organisational framework for staff development;
  • reduction of incidents and accidents;
  • greater efficiency, and 
  • a common framework which reduces administration and duplication across the organisation.

The guidelines are applicable to all sizes of organisation, from non-COMAH smaller sites – through to large top-tier COMAH sites.

Guidelines for competency management systems for downstream and petroleum sites is available from the Cogent website:

EI publishes revised Human factors briefing notes

July 26, 2011

The EI has revised its Human factors briefing notes resource pack and this is now available from the EI website (both for purchase as a hardcopy pack, or freely downloadable as PDFs).

To improve industry’s understanding of key human factors issues, as identified by HSE, the EI’s Human and Organisational Factors Committee (HOFCOM) commissioned the first edition of the Human factors briefing notes resource pack in 2003.  This pack of 16 briefing notes provided succinct guidance on specific human factors issues or topics (from fatigue to task analysis), supporting the HSE human factors key topics.

The 2011 edition briefing notes have been revised, updated, and redesigned, making them easier to read, but also more practical to use.

They have also been expanded to cover 20 topics:

  1. Introduction – introduction to human factors
  2. Alarm handling
  3. Organisational change
  4. Maintenance
  5. Fatigue
  6. Safety critical procedures
  7. Training and competence
  8. Ergonomics
  9. Safety culture
  10. Communications
  11. Task analysis
  12. Human error and non-compliance
  13. Human reliability analysis
  14. Behavioural safety
  15. Incident and accident analysis
  16. Human factors integration
  17. Performance indicatorsnew for 2011
  18. Leadershipnew for 2011
  19. Pressure and stressnew for 2011
  20. Occupational safety vs. process safetynew for 2011

Each briefing note includes:

  • An introduction to a human factors issue.
  • Guidance on what the company or management can do to address that human factors issue.
  • ‘Negative’ and ‘positive’ case studies (illustrating both the consequences of an issue and potential solutions).
  • Suggested performance indicators (PIs) for the HSE ‘key topics’.
  • Further reading lists.

Notably, 15 of the briefing notes include a simple checklist of ‘yes/no’ questions to help you quickly gauge whether your company has a problem with that particular human factors issue.

The briefing notes will be of interest to anyone wanting to gain an overview of human factors or of particular human factors issues they are facing, and to managers who are looking to apply practical solutions to solve these issues.

Buy or download your copies of the briefing notes from, and let us know what you think (either by leaving comments below, or by emailing