Human Factors should be a key element of every risk assessment, but identifying and controlling human failure is particularly important in those processing activities where hazardous substances are utilised.
The majority of companies view human factors from a purely regulatory perspective, but Process Safety Management specialists, HFL Risk Services, believe that taking a different approach can reap greater rewards. The company is advocating a Lean approach to human factors and has developed a benchmarking programme using their proprietary auditing and assessment tool, INSIGHT Lifecycle.
More commonly associated with general manufacturing, Lean principles seek to streamline a company’s operations by eliminating waste wherever possible. Error management plays a major role in the effectiveness of this type of activity and is an area where HFL Risk maintains that the process industries can minimise risk, comply with legislation and at the same time improve efficiency and productivity.
Sarah Grindrod, Development Director at HFL Risk Services said: “Competition from the USA and Far East is squeezing profit margins for UK chemical and processing companies. If manufacturers are to enjoy a long-term future in an uncertain climate, then they are going to have to increase productivity and efficiency without increasing capital expenditure. Our human factors offering is unique in that experts in both human factors and business improvement work together to provide the best possible outcome in terms of safety and efficiency.”
The company uses a combination of data results obtained through INSIGHT Lifecycle, and cross-functional team workshops to get to the root causes of why a process or action is not functioning as it should. Based on this gap analysis solutions are developed and implemented to ensure that human behaviour patterns are understood and their impact controlled, helping to improve current process safety management programmes and lower overall risk potential.
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