Cost-Effective Human Factors Tools to Reduce Plant Costs and the Risk of Injuries

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    March 27, 2017
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • PDHs:

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Human Factors is defined as the “systematic process of designing for human use”. This process systematically applies our knowledge of the capabilities, limitations, expectations and needs of people to the equipment they use, the environments they operate in, the tasks they perform and the management systems that guide the safe operation of their plants.

This paper describes several easy-to-use and cost-effective Human Factors tools for the solution of major issues in process plants. Considering the breadth of the field of human factors and the limited time available for presentation, the paper limits discussion to the following four applications:

  • Assessing the physical risk of operating manual valves to reduce maintenance costs. The tool ranks each valve in terms of musculoskeletal risk. Plant management can use this ranked list to save money by scheduling maintenance on the highest risk valves first.
  • Improving the design of operations procedures. Statistics indicate that the majority of safety-related incidents in process plants are the results of not following operating procedures. This set of tools assesses procedures for inherent risk and provides guidance on redesign
  • A method for applying Human Factors to Process Hazard Analyses. The paper reviews the development of the API Standard designed to include Human Factors in Process Hazard Analyses and provides an improved format for plant use
  • Critical task identification and analysis. Critical process tasks have the potential for personal injury, equipment or facility loss, environmental release, community exposure or business interruption. The tool provides a systematic method of identifying high-risk tasks, analyzing the tasks for inherent risks and identifying appropriate safeguards to mitigate risks

Each tool is thoroughly explained and its use is demonstrated with a practical example from the process industries. References for papers explaining each tool in more detail are provided.

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