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Energy Institute Launches Guidance on Safety Critical Task Analysis

05 September 2011

The Energy Institute (EI), in collaboration with DNV (Det Norske Veritas), has published new guidance to help non-specialists manage human factors analysis of safety critical tasks. Managing human factors in safety critical task planning can help reduce the chance of human failure, which otherwise could lead to a major accident.

Although the importance of human failures in accident causation is well known, historically analysis of technical failures in major accident hazard safety reports has dominated over human failures. There are some signs that this is beginning to change with a higher volume of human factors analyses being conducted. Regulators are also responding to public expectations concerning proactive risk management, with requirements that safety critical human tasks are comprehensively analysed and their risk appropriately assessed.

While there are benefits in encouraging deeper analysis of safety critical tasks, there has been a lack of available information to help those without a human factors background effectively identify and manage safety risks in the workplace. Guidance on human factors safety critical task analysis aims to help fill this gap.

Dr Edward Smith, Principal Consultant at DNV, says, ĎPreparing this guidance with the EI has been a great opportunity to present human factors safety critical task analysis to a wider audience and to show its value. The document describes how this type of analysis can help us better manage risks related to human factors in a cost-effective manner.í

Published under the auspices of the EIís Human and Organisational Factors Committee (HOFCOM), Guidance on human factors safety critical task analysis provides a 7-step methodology for conducting safety critical task analysis with case study material, supporting practical tools, and examples of good and bad practice.

This publication builds on the EIís portfolio of work in human factors and the intention is that this guidance will become part of the wider safety assessment toolbox, leading to better integration of human failure assessment into safety studies.