• Assessing the design of equipment layout and controls

    2009 - Gas onshore processing

    Andy was required to visit newly constructed buildings housing electrical and control equipment.  His brief was to ensure the arrangements were appropriate to minimise risk of human error.  Andy identified that a number of cabinets were not positioned in a logical order, and that some labelling was confusing and ambiguous.  He was able to make practical and cost effective recommendations that were accepted by the engineering team as worthwhile and achievable.

  • Assessment of the human errors in accidents

    2004 - Chemical manufacture

    The client was concerned that they were experiencing frequent incidents where human error was a cause. However, they did not understand why those errors were occurring and so did not know what to do to prevent them. Andy led a small team in assisting the client in analysing past incidents and suggesting preventative strategies. This required him to train his colleagues in the techniques to be used. The project started by assessing a selection of past incidents in order to identify if there were any recurrent themes. As well as his in depth knowledge of human factors, Andy able to provide a systematic approach to this assessment. From this, a number of error prone tasks were selected for further analysis. The error prone tasks were assessed using the 'Human Factors Assessment of safety critical tasks' methodology described in HSE report OTO 99:092. During workshops attended by site personnel, error prone tasks were assessed using Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) and Predictive Human Error Analysis (PHEA). From this, error reduction strategies were proposed.

  • 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.

  • Critical task identification

    2008 - Gas Terminal

    During a previous piece of work Andy commented that the client lacked a robust system for procedures, training and competence. As a result he was invited to return to site to develop a detailed plan of how to proceed.

    Andy proposed that a full list of operational tasks ranked according to criticality would be the best way to start and proceeded to develop this with site personnel. Using a modest number of assessment criteria, Andy was able to create a spreadsheet that automated the criticality ranking and also suggested the optimum solution for managing risks through use of detailed procedures, job aids, on the job training, more formal method of training and competency assessment.

    As a result the client had a very good idea of exactly what they needed to do to develop an effective system, and was able to demonstrate an approach based on process risk and human factors principles.

  • Critical task identification and analysis

    2010 - Gas storage

    The client operated two similar facilities, although one was several decades old and the other brand new. Given the high hazard of the operation it had been recognised that a task and human error analysis needed to be carried.  A two stage approach was used. The first activity was to identify the task performed on each facility and to use a simple scoring system to assign criticality.  This showed that a similar number of tasks were performed on each, but a higher proportion were considered to be critical on the older facility because of the higher degree of manual operation involved.  The second stage involved carrying out a task and criticality analysis for the most critical tasks.  This showed that on the older facility risks were higher than they should be because items put in place to assist some manual monitoring and operation were not as reliable as they needed to be.  For the new facility the analysis showed that the design process had failed to address human factors and that were a number of features of the plant that did not achieve current good practice.  For both facilities it was found that there was no standard set for procedures and other written instructions.

  • Initiating a human factors program at COMAH site

    2008 - Waste incinerator

    The client had been asked by their inspector about their plans to address human factors within their COMAH report. Andy was asked to present two one day courses to staff from a number of sites as a general introduction. Also, he facilitated a number of workshops where critical tasks were subject to task analysis and human HAZOP. The result was some much improved procedures and a much better understanding of the human factors risks. The client adopted the techniques as a key part of developing procedures and managing change. They found that the training Andy had provided had quickly allowed them to address human factors with minimal support.

  • Operator training in start-up and shutdown of a new unit

    2004 - Chemical manufacture

    This project took place at an established manufacturing site that was adding an additional process unit to improve quantities of high value products being produced. A workshop was organised for operating staff to learn about the new unit. This included a day to learn start-up and shutdown procedures. Andy suggested that, rather than a class- room lecture, a more interactive approach was possible. Using a graphical task analysis technique (hierarchical task analysis), Andy facilitated the group in developing their own start-up and shutdown procedures. The participants found that, although they knew very little about how to operate the new unit they were able, using their operating experience, process descriptions and drawings, to work out how tasks would be performed. This meant they achieved a much higher level of understanding of the new plant and how it was to be operated.

  • Task analysis of a maintenance task performed on a low pressure gas system where it is not practicable to prove isolation integrity

    2010 - Steel

    The plant studied in this project uses low pressure gas.  The high proportion of impurities in the gas meant that pipework required regular dismantling and cleaning.  However, because the gas was of such low pressure it was difficult to prove isolation and as a result the plant had experienced a number of gas releases and fires over the years.  Andy was asked to carry out a task and error analysis of the task in order to identify if there were any further actions that could be carried in preparing the plant for maintenance that would reduce the risk.  Working with the contractors who performed the task, along with the client's maintenance team Andy was able to identify three potential options that would reduce the risk of gas release.  All were considered practical and plans were immediately put in place to run trials of the new methods.  This was a particularly project because the client's technical experts had reviewed the situation a number of times in the past and had been unable to come up with any suggestions for improvement.

  • Task analysis of well operations

    2010 - Gas storage

    As part of a critical task analysis exercise, two operations were subject to task and error analysis.  They were the replacement of Sub-Surface Safety Valves (SSSV) and changing a wing valve.  Both are quite different from the normal operating and maintenance tasks performed on process plants.  The analyses highlighted the importance of good planning, engaging competent contractors and ensuring appropriate procedures are in place.  Equally the analyses demonstrating that tasks that on the face of it are particularly hazardous can be performed in a safe and effective manner.