Step change towards zero incidents in the chemical industry : managing the human factor
Clearly, it is the short and long-term aspiration of workers within any safety-critical or high-hazard industry such as the chemical, oil and gas, rail or nuclear, to develop measures to prevent, avoid or reduce incidents. Human factors are often cited as the initiator of error-events which leads to incidents in these high hazard industries, yet, either little or nothing is mentioned of them, or is being seen in a very narrow perspective. There are several case studies which illustrate how the failure of people or human errors at many levels within an organization, not just the operator on the front-line, but management, designers, and high level decision makers all led to the final outcome e.g. Chernobyl, Piper Alpha, etc. The Human factors subject is a subject that most people are familiar with, but it seems to be poorly understood by many people. This subject actually provides powerful and practical principles for improving human performance, reducing hazards, improving safety and proactively preventing future incidents in all businesses where people are involved in planning, design and development, and operation. This research was aimed at identifying the human factors elements which contribute primarily to incidents at Sasol Wax and finding best principles and practice in the industry for the integration and management of human factors. The research was accomplished by the following steps: 1. Developing an understanding of human factors. 2. Categorization of human factors. 3. Developing understanding of hazards and its identification methods. 4. Utilization of J. Reason's "Swiss cheese" accident model. 5. Quantification and weighting of human factors elements with the use of Questionnaires and the Health, Safety and Executive, UK, value system. 6. Evaluating and benchmarking the critical human factors elements at Sasol Wax against Sasol Technology, Sasol Solvent and Sasol Infrachem business units. With Sasol Wax as case study for this research, human factors concerns evolved, and also performance gaps were identified during the benchmarking process. Recommendations, outlined in section 6.3 of this research, were made based on the conclusions drawn from the evaluations and benchmarking process.
- ETD@PUK