Conlin RPS - Optimising Staffing Arrangements - 2006

Session 8: Optimising staffing
Helen Conlin
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +44 (0) 1925 847907
EPSC Human Factors in Process Safety Conference, Schipol, The
Netherlands, 5th & 6th October 2006
What is meant by staffing arrangements?
How do staffing arrangements contribute to process safety?
How can I optimise staffing arrangements?
Group exercise
Group discussion
Accessing tools & techniques
Definition of staffing
• Focus today on operational staffing arrangements
Arrangements designed for safe process operation
People (incl. support functions)
Line management
Control systems
Administrative controls (procedures, support systems,
management systems)
• Wider organisation design also important for process safety
Contribution to process safety
Texaco Milford Haven Refinery (1994)
Alarm overload
Lack of overview
Poor design of process status monitoring tools
Lack of MAH preparedness
• Esso Longford Gas Plant (1998)
Deficient competence assurance process
Alarm overload
Lack of structure for shift changeover
Poorly designed plant status monitoring tools
Lack of MAH preparedness within operations
How to optimise
• What influences safe performance of staffing arrangements?
• Feasibility of staffing arrangements reliably performing timely
detection, diagnosis & recovery is a fundamental requirement for
safe operation
• To assess the feasibility & reliability:
– Need to test arrangements against potential MAH scenarios
– Need to benchmark performance influencing factors
Method for assessing staffing
• In 2000, UK HSE funded research to develop a method,
output is reported within the Contract Research Report
• There was high industry involvement throughout the
• The method has been applied by many dutyholders within
the UK & internationally
• The method has been applied with & without consultant
• In 2004, the Energy Institute published a User Guide to the
Method overview
To test arrangements against potential MAH scenarios
• Physical assessment
– Principles of safe operation
– Decision trees (yes/no)
To benchmark performance influencing factors
• Ladder assessment
– Anchored rating scales (related to Capability Maturity Models)
– Preparatory questions and ladder position
Output from a study
• Physical assessment is a pass or fail of the principles
• Ladder assessment benchmarks the arrangements against
best practice
• Identification of areas to strengthen (prioritised)
– Note: Rarely is this as simple as increasing numbers
• KPIs
• Increased ownership & understanding
• When applied within MOC it defines the potential
implications of the proposed change
Example application overview
• Assessing the implications of a proposed combined
organisational & technological change at a large refinery
• Baseline assessment of existing arrangements
• Assessment of future arrangements
• Findings, identification of areas requiring strengthening:
– In existing arrangements
– For specific scenarios
– In proposed future arrangements
• Definition of KPIs to monitor, before, during & after change
• Stakeholder collaborative involvement in change process
• Improved MAH organisational performance
What was assessed?
Refinery, changes involved:
• CR move (from local to remote)
• Roles & responsibilities change
– Process units & Utilities
– CR & Field
• Changes to delivery of Supervision
• Technology changes
Control system incl. alarms
CR layout
Control system back-up arrangements
How was it assessed?
• Multi-functional assessment team (composition changed
during the study)
– Operations (CR & Field technicians, Supervisors,
– Future arrangements project team members
– Technical specialists (incl. C&I, HR, Occ. Health, HSE)
• Representative set of MAH scenarios for affected plant
• Application of physical & ladder assessment
• Additional workload assessment of ESD field tasks (walkthrough)
What were the findings?
One change was assessed as being unacceptable
Remainder were assessed as acceptable given implementation of
Recommended order and transition stages for change implementation
KPIs to monitor factors assessed as likely to be affected by the change
– e.g. number of 12 hr shifts worked (normal was 8hrs) as a KPI for Alertness &
Weaknesses in existing arrangements identified
– e.g. competence assurance
Weaknesses in preparedness for particular MAH scenarios
– e.g. cooling water failure
• Provided a framework for change implementation
• Greatly increased & improved ownership & support for
changes from operational staff
– Particularly as the most unpopular change was dropped
based on the assessment findings
• Five years after the assessment most of the assessed
changes have been implemented successfully
• & so have the majority of recommendations
Industry perspective
Don Harrison, Responsible Care, Quality & Training Manager,
BASF Plc., Seal Sands
Group exercise (1) 20mins
• Form smaller groups of 2 or 3
• Within your small group of 2 or 3, agree to use one set of process
operations staffing arrangements from an area that one of you
knows well
• Apply the PA to one scenario (power loss at 4am on a Sunday)
• Define the arrangements
• Define detection, diagnosis & recovery activities
• Use the guidance provided & work through the 8 decision trees
• Summarise the physical assessment output
Group exercise (2) 10 mins
Still in your small groups
• For the same staffing arrangements assess them against the
situational awareness ladder using the guidance provided (not
scenario specific)
Group discussion (10 mins)
Within your large table based groups
• Discuss:
The topic of staffing arrangements
The method presented
Experience in assessing/optimising staffing arrangements
Experience in managing changes in staffing arrangements
• On the workshop content
• Group exercise
• Coming out of your group discussion
Accessing tools & techniques
• Conference CD has all workshop materials on plus
remaining ladders and all preparatory questions
• HSE website for CRR:
• Energy Institute website for EI User Guide: