Human Factors; How to be Proactive in a Reactive world

You are here: Home » Human Factors; How to be Proactive in a Reactive world

Emily Taylor, Step Change in Safety

We are all human. Human Factors affects us all, from forgetting whether the iron has been turned off or pressing the wrong button whilst booking a holiday; people make mistakes. Human Factors in the oil and gas industry is all about recognising that this can happen in a major accident hazard environment and ensuring our ‘humans’ are set up for success in their working environment. Whilst Human Factors is a widely recognised and researched area, there is a distinct gap between those who know about it – such as safety professionals, academics, subject matter experts etc – and those who need to know about it – such as the offshore workforce. Step Change in Safety is driven fundamentally by the workforce (as well as the regulators and the employing companies) and therefore when we are talking about Human Factors, these are the humans we are referring to.

Step Change launched an online self-assessment tool on Human Factors (which is completely free for members) which offers clarity on an area full of shades of grey to Joe Blogs and Jane Doe. The tool is aimed at everyone onshore and offshore to answer some simple yes/no questions on areas we have identified as particularly relevant for the working environment. These questions are themed under People, Process and Plant and include Fatigue, Risk Assessment, Safety Critical Communication, Training & Competence, Behavioural Safety, Supervision and Incident Investigation amongst others. The tool is a proactive way to get an insight into an organisations performance with Human Factors. Covering everything from shift patterns to safety critical conversations, the tool subliminally educates those completing it as it introduces topics into the forefront which perhaps had not been considered a safety issue previously. The tool has already seen huge successes when applied within organisations and had already identified focus areas for some companies which have now been written into 2016/2017 plans. This proactive tool is an extremely effective way to assess and educate on human factors.

In an industry which is obsessed with benchmarking and comparing numbers from yesteryear, it can be extremely challenging to talk about being proactive and collecting information before an incident, accident or – let’s face it – disaster. Dr. Kletz’ coined a famous phrase ‘if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident’ which speaks to being proactive but maintains the ominous dark cloud we all have to face; safety costs, but the price depends on ‘you’.

This paper will briefly cover this online self-assessment tool as described above but will focus on the benefits already realised by industry. Step Change in Safety will share current findings across industry as a whole and offer insight into trends, patterns and lessons emerging from the data collected. Further, this presentation aims to show how Step Change are trying to make human factors accessible to all, and the challenges encountered along the way. Essentially, this presentation will put the ‘human’ into human factors in the oil and gas environment and discuss proactivity in a climate where cost efficiency often means that reaction is the first line of defence.

Date & time

7-8 June 2016

NCTL Learning and Conference Centre, Nottingham

What is a Complex System?

Organised by

Follow me on Twitter