2016-17 Award for the Best Application of Human Factors Knowledge

Congratulations to Tim Sweet of Jacobs and Ross Swainson of Caltex Australia who both won an award from The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) for best application of human factors knowledge.

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IChemE and The Keil Centre run a 1-year professional development course on human factors in health and safety, and submissions were invited from course delegates for "best application of the knowledge they had acquired on the course". There were several strong entries for this award, which was independently judged by a panel of IChemE safety experts, and Tim and Ross were declared joint winners.

Tim used the knowledge and resources he gained on the course to publish an internal guideline on Human Factors in Process Design, to be used as a reference for both experienced and junior process engineers in Jacobs. The aim of the guideline is to elevate awareness of human factors in process design and the judging panel were impressed with the quality of Tim’s work and the potential for lasting impact within his organization.

As Tim states, “Process engineers, through the consideration of Human Factors, can strongly influence plant designs that have long term consequences for the humans interacting with a facility. As designers we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of all humans who operate and maintain our plants, as well as the wellbeing of the external public and environment, over its entire life cycle.”

Ross applied multiple elements of the course across a number of Caltex projects involved with personal safety, process safety and continuous improvement. In particular, he has used the human factors tools and techniques taught on the course to improve his organisation’s incident investigation capability and quality, and to create a safer, more sustainable shift roster for maintenance shutdowns. The judging panel noted evidence of the immediate impact of Ross’s efforts and commended his practical application of the theory.

According to Ross, “The Human Factors programme has helped develop higher levels of engagement between the Leadership Team and Investigation Facilitators, through the enhanced process we’ve created. This is embedded as part of the safety culture of the organisation for both personal and process safety incidents. The wider elements of Human Factor thinking and design are being considered and where appropriate will be implemented as part of a structured move making HSE a line leadership accountability.”

If you are interested in participating in the 2018 Human Factors course, which will be held in Perth WA, please contact austcourses@icheme.org. For more information on the programme, which runs in both the UK and Australia, visit www.icheme.org/humanfactors

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