Chemicals manufacturer Hickson & Welch operated in a high-risk environment where employees regularly handled dangerous substances and managed hazardous chemical reactions. If manufacturing processes were not managed safely and competently, however, there was a risk of a major accident.
To reduce the risk of such a scenario and to satisfy the regulatory expectations of the Health & Safety Executive, Hickson & Welch employed Greenstreet Berman to assess its process safety management programme and to help improve its knowledge of human factors.
During the assessment of Hickson & Welch’s process safety management programme, the assessment:
- Raised awareness of human factors and improved buy-in from employees by training them to carry out safety analyses
- Applied methods such as task analysis, error identification and consequence assessment to Hickson & Welch’s operations
- Conducted a detailed analysis of a single process to help employees learn skills and techniques, while simplifying the process so it could be integrated into Hickson & Welch’s overall process safety management programme
Following the assessment, Greenstreet Berman helped Hickson & Welch identify a number of areas where the business could improve and, ultimately, reduce the risks of major accidents at its manufacturing sites.
Specifically with regard to human factors, the review recommended that human error analysis be integrated into process safety management in addition to the regular hazard and operability analysis. They also suggested that human factors guidance be included in engineering standards and that human factors principles be integrated with the general safety management systems.
Looking at the long-term benefits
Not only did the work carried out address Health & Safety Executive concerns and meet their demands; Hickson & Welch also enjoyed long-term benefits following the assessment of its process safety management programme.
In response to the recommendations made by Greenstreet Berman, Hickson & Welch developed a number of further improvements, such as checking maintenance work and validating operating instructions, which will help to prevent accidents at its manufacturing sites.
In addition, Hickson & Welch chose two employees to be trained as in-house human factors advisors, which meant human factors principles and good practices continued to be used as the company developed its approach to safety in the future.