Call for abstracts: ‘Human factors application in major hazard industries’ conference, Aberdeen, 5-6 October 2015

January 28, 2015

Call for abstracts deadline: 30 March 2015 

This biennial 2-day conference returns for the 3rd time in 2015, exploring the practical application of human factors in the management of major accident hazards (MAH) in the energy and allied process industries. The event will focus on two key themes:

  • Assuring human factors performance: How can we ensure high performance through human and organisational factors?
  • Preventing incidents before they happen: How can we effectively investigate and analyse incidents and embed learning and how can we prevent incidents before they even happen?

This conference, organised by the Energy Institute (EI)’s Human and Organisational Factors committee and the Stichting Tripod Foundation, will enable the learning and sharing of good practice between companies and industries, and offers excellent networking opportunities with delegates from around the world representing operating companies, suppliers, consultancies, and academia.

Call for abstracts

The organising committee is inviting submissions for oral and poster presentations on the following key topics:

Assuring human factors performance:

  • Competence assurance
  • Non-technical skills and crew resource management (CRM)
  • Alarm handling
  • Risk analysis
  • Fatigue management
  • Other topics will be considered.

Preventing incidents before they happen:

  • Safety culture
  • Human and organisational factors in Bow Tie diagrams
  • Embedding learning from incidents
  • Quality incident analysis
  • Other topics will be considered.

To submit your contribution you will need to:

  • prepare an abstract of up to 500 words on the topic you intend to present, supplied in Microsoft Word format
  • indicate the presenter and co-authors with their affiliation, and include contact details
  • submit the abstract to Stuart King at e:; t:+44 (0)20 7467 7163.

Submissions will be evaluated by the organising committee and successful entrants will be notified shortly after the submission deadline. Deadline for abstract submission is Monday 30 March 2015.

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Seminar: Policy and Practice Of Learning from Incidents (London, 11 February 2015)

January 14, 2015

‘Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning from Incidents’ ESRC Seminar Series

11 February 2015, 9:30 am-5pm

Energy Institute London, UK (Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1G 7AR)

You are invited to join an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from across Europe to explore how organisations can learn effectively from incidents across different sectors: energy, health, finance, construction and further afield.

The fourth in a series of six events, this seminar will focus on policy and practice of learning from incidents (LFI).

Speakers will present and discuss approaches to and examples of learning from incidents from law, construction, aviation, and energy sectors.

  • Kizzy Augustin (Pinsent Masons): “Key risks in health and safety and how to learn lessons from the incident investigation and protocols
  • Jurry Swart (Equitans, the Netherlands): The behavioural aspects of learning from incidents”
  • Grant Findlay (Sir Robert McAlpine): Construction industry perspective on Learning from incidents (title TBC)
  • Alexander Eriksson (University of Southampton): “When communication breaks down: The case of flight AF 447”

You will have an opportunity to bring your expertise together with the diverse knowledge of the group to advance organisational practice and policy of learning from incidents.

Participation is free, thanks to funding by ESRC. Buffet lunch will be provided.

To register for the seminar go to

To join the LFI seminars community and to be kept up to date about the forthcoming events sign up at

New EI Guidance on ensuring control room operator (CRO) competence

January 13, 2015

Control room operators (CROs) perform a critical role in running normal operations, infrequent activities such as process shut downs, and handling abnormal events and emergencies. Ensuring a sufficient number of competent CROs are available on site is a key element of safety, and can contribute positively to productivity.

This new publication from the EI provides specific guidance on how to assure competence of CROs, particularly how to define competence standards, select training and development methods, assess CROs and maintain their competence once in post.


The first challenge to training new CROs is in achieving an adequate pool of candidates from which to select CROs.  As CROs are often selected from field operators, this has a major implication; the recruitment of field operators should foresee the subsequent requirement for CROs.  This guide therefore advises that at least some field operators are recruited based on their potential to be CROs. Methods of assessing underpinning skills are cited in the guide to help identify potential CROs amongst current or candidate field operators.

The second challenge is that training someone to become a CRO is a long process involving the identification of the tasks a CRO needs to undertake, the competencies required, and how to best train and assess those competencies (e.g. using classroom or on-the-job training).  Given that people do not become established CROs overnight, an incremental approach to competence development is needed, progressing from beginners to established and then to advanced CROs. Guidance is provided on the formulation of an incremental approach to development, combining taught and structured on the job learning.

As the training of CROs is an expensive undertaking, the third challenge is retaining CROs once they are in post.  There are many aspects of retaining people. This guide firstly focuses on providing CROs with a structured route for advancement, providing people with the scope for further development once they are in post. Learning and further qualification opportunities may be provided and CROs encouraged and enabled to make use of these opportunities. In addition, creating a positive working environment through practical procedures, ergonomic equipment, supportive supervision and change management all contribute to staff retention as well as help reduce operator error.

The guidance is consistent with common models of competence management, but offers guidance that is specific to CROs.  This guide presents a full lifecycle view of CROs, from the creation of a pool of candidates to advancement of their competence when in post.  Extensive annexes provide practical tools, such as checklists for assessing the organisation’s arrangements for managing CRO competence, job aids for identifying CRO competencies, as well as example CRO competencies (and methods for training and assessment of those competencies) for routine, infrequent, abnormal and emergency operations.

This publication will be of interest for those who have a responsibility for ensuring the competence of CROs, including managers and supervisors of CROs and relevant members of human resources, talent management and learning and development teams.

How to access this publication

Guidance on ensuring control room operator (CRO) competence (1st edition, December 2014), available as a free download, or priced hard-copy publication.  After following the link, sign in to the website to download.