You've got to learn

1. September 2016 14:16

Mind the gap

Apologies for being off-line for a while, we’ve been trying to get to grips with a new platform (watch this space).

This is just a quick update to alert you to the publication of two significant documents from the Energy Institute.

The first is an update to their much quoted and widely used ‘Learning from incidents accidents and events’ publication. I can’t recommend this enough for anyone involved in working to learn from incidents or manage a learning culture. It very much focusses on the positive side of learning, as well as practical advice for anyone involved in investigations. It deserves a place in the bookshelf alongside the Dekker and Strauch classics.

The second is ‘Guidance for optimising operator plant situational awareness by rationalising control room alarms’

This brings a much needed human factors perspective to the alarm management picture and sits nicely alongside the latest standard, IEC 62682, and the various guidance documents such as EEMUA 191.

And, best of all, both are freely available to anyone registered with the Energy Institute.


Back to School

26. May 2016 13:59

Another recommended short course

I’m a fan of the Coursera series of short (10-30 hours of study) MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). I recently dipped into the world of organisational and work psychology via this course.

Psychology at Work

It’s a nice introduction to the topic of the individual, team and leader within the workplace. A lot of the material will be familiar to many of you, as it was to me. However, you do find some interesting gems in the videos and the supporting material. I particularly enjoyed the series of videos on the theme of ‘meet the researcher’ which went along with each module. In particular this one struck me as it included some comments regarding the link between motivation (specifically the ‘competence’ dimension to motivation) and fatigue, something that is an interest to all the high hazard industries.

Meet the Researcher

Overall, if you want an introduction or a quick refresher to the psychology of the workplace then this is recommended. It even uses Texas City as case study.


Watch me

17. May 2016 09:32

A nice introduction to decisions, heuristics and bias, in less than 5 minutes

It’s even animated. What’s not to like? OK I know that for most of us, this is simple stuff, but how often do we struggle to get some of these concepts over to colleagues, friends or family?

TED-ED The psychology behind irrational decisions - Sara Garofalo

I’m a fan of TED and TED-ED generally and use a lot of the material at work. Most of my lectures and courses have a ‘further reading’ section and TED features often. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you check out both the TED and TED-ED sites.

Of the recent TED lectures here’s one that’s well worth a watch.

Uri Hasson: This is your brain on communication

If you’re interested in (mis-)communication, language and the successful transmission of mental models (think shift handover or permit to work for example), this is a fascinating and accessible view into how neurobiology is generating new insights. There’s a lot to think about after watching a lecture like that!


Upcoming training events

4. May 2016 13:00

As part of our Operational Human Factors programme we offer a number of lunchtime forums and training courses. Each course will give delegates a greater understanding of the issues relating to Human Factors through presentations, real life case studies and group exercises.

Our upcoming events are as follows:

Human Factors in the Workplace 28th - 30th June - Marriott Hotel, York

Human Factors in the Workplace 1st - 3rd November - ABB Consulting, Teesside


Hot off the Press - 58

4. May 2016 11:06

Last night the UK Radio 4 network aired a very interesting programme entitled The Blame Game.

It’s presented by Eliza Manningham-Buller - Director General of MI5 from 2002 to 2007, who was in that post during the terrorist attacks on London. She examines the process of ascribing blame following a major incident in the public domain, such as a terrorist attack or failure of social or health care systems. The role of the press and of politicians in the process of blaming individuals comes under some scrutiny.

I found it fascinating to listen to the perspective of a non-safety professional in coming to the conclusion that many aspects of blame and blame-culture are harmful to learning and improvement, something that we have learnt a long time ago in many industries.

I’m not sure how long it will be available on-line or whether you can listen if the BBC thinks you’re located outside the UK, but if you can I think it’s worth 40 minutes of your time.

 blame culture 
1 comment
      • Twitter
      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Weibo
      • Print
      • Email
    •   Cancel
    Human Factors in the Process Industries Blog

    Tony Atkinson leads the ABB Consulting Operational Human Factors team. He has spent over 30 years in the process industries, working in control rooms around the world, in the fields of ergonomics, control and alarm systems, control room design and operational and cultural issues such as communications, competency and fatigue.

    He has been blogging on diverse topics that interest him in the widest sense of 'human factors', all of which share the same common element, the 'Mk.1 Human Being' and their unique limitations, abilities and behaviours. In his blog he discusses everyday as well as technical and organisational issues that affect safety and performance of these process operators and technicians and how this impacts control rooms and the wider plant. However learning comes from many places and you can expect entries from aviation, automotive, marine, healthcare, military and many other fields.

    Outside of work, Tony indulges in travel, food, wine and flying kites to keep him moderately sane.

    Please feel free to post your comments on each blog, or alternatively if you would like to contact Tony privately to discuss any Human Factors issues or to suggest a blog topic, please click the button below and fill in the form.

    Blog entries are posted with no set frequency.To ensure you don't miss out on the latest blog post, click the button below to subscribe to email alerts when a new blog has been posted.


    Contact us