Defining Human Factors

29 July 2014

A recent ERM webinar raised questions about how to quantify and integrate Human Factors, reports Charles Schalkwyk.

New process safety regulations are encouraging oil and gas operators to adopt a more systematic approach to Human Factors (HF). This was one of the discussion points to emerge in a recent ERM Risk Dialogues webinar on Human Factors and Safety Cases which attracted participants from Asia Pacific and Europe. 

Listen to a recording of the webinar

The session provoked discussion around several key areas – notably how you quantify HF in order to make the discipline more manageable as part of the Safety Case process; how to integrate HF as part of a more systematic approach and how to define better HF areas such as Safety Critical Task Analysis to ensure workable boundaries.

Hosted from ERM’s Risk Management hub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the session focussed on such developments as the new COMAH regulations in Brunei where ERM has been developing the Safety Case for a methanol plant. The regulations require formal descriptions of safety critical people, equipment and procedures as part of a Safety Case as well as evidence of how these elements are operated and reviewed in practice.

Following a formal presentation (see link below), the Q&A session included some discussion on Safety Critical Tasks (SCTs) – how to define them and how to set manageable boundaries. For example, should SCTs extend to procurement or should they be restricted to core activities at the asset itself?

As part of their work with clients in this area ERM’s HF team has developed a Safety Case Gap Analysis tool which benchmarks existing activities and apparent omissions against regulatory requirements. For further details on the tool and other aspects included above, please contact Charles Schalkwyk, an ERM Risk Management Partner based in Kuala Lumpur.

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