The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Personnel Resources for Safety

Graham Marshall - Sunday, May 05, 2013
Errors made by people have long been identified as a significant triggering factor leading to incidents. 

Many authors claim that human error is responsible for anywhere between 50-80 per cent of accidents.

But by laying the blame for incidents on individual people, organisations often miss-assess or even ignore the systemic conditions in their work systems that contribute to incidents. 

At the Risk Tool Box, we recognize that so called "human error" is often an outcome of systemic problems rather than the root cause of many incidents. 

One important area of organisational planning which significantly influences people's reliability, relates to system-wide personnel resourcing practices.

Ensuring that effective personnel resourcing systems are in place can contribute to the reduction of EHS risk to a level that is ALARP.

In ensuring that appropriate personnel resourcing processes are in place, EHS professionals should check and verify the following matters:

  An understanding of the impact of time pressure and fatigue on human reliability should be applied to resourcing activities.

   Emergency response positions should be well resourced at all times.

  Maintenance activities should be designed and scheduled to reduce the likelihood of error, particularly in relation to interruptions and time pressure.

  Maintenance activities should be subject to independent checks to mitigate any errors that may have occurred prior to task closeout.

  Supervisors should develop a working knowledge of human error and performance shaping factors, and should apply that knowledge in their daily activities.

  Organisational systems and structures should be in place to support supervisors in managing relevant performance shaping factors.

  Supervisors should not be overburdened with administrative tasks; rather their priority should be to spend sufficient time coaching their employees.

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