Last Line of Defense - Improving Our Step Back 5x5

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    March 27, 2017
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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Last Line of Defense - Improving Our Step Back 5x5

 Step Back 5x5 is our last layer of defense and perhaps our most important. This paper shows how we improved our Step Back 5x5 risk analysis.

 Our safety communication has 4 layers:

  1. Procedure
  2. Permit to Work
  3. Job Hazard Analysis
  4. Step Back 5x5

 Step Back 5x5 is a risk assessment done just before the work begins. Step Back 5x5 is completed by the team leader and their technicians at the job site.

 The original intent of Step Back 5x5 was an “informal” risk assessment asking employees to:

  • take 5 steps back
  • take 5 minutes
  • and think about new hazards in the moments before you begin working

 Our Step Back 5x5 was taking significantly longer than the intended five minutes. It was dominated by risk questions already asked and answered in other places, such as on a permit or Job Hazard Analysis.

 In some cases, following an incident, we would add another question or check box to our Step Back 5x5. Consequently, over time, it grew to 102 questions, 680 words, filling both sides of an A4 page at 10-point type. It was becoming overly bureaucratic and this is not what we wanted.

 We formed a working group to make a better Step Back 5x5. Our new Step Back 5x5 has:

  • 48 questions (53% reduction)
  • 123 words (82% reduction)
  • completion time of 10 minutes (50% reduction)
  • a graphic orientation - using pictures and graphics instead of words

 Most important, we are not asking the same questions covered in the Procedures, Permit to Work, or JHA. We focused our new Step Back 5x5 on a unique task: looking for new hazards at the physical work site not covered in our other safety documents. We want them on their feet looking at the worksite−not huddled over a questionnaire ticking boxes.

 Our paper will show the original Step Back 5x5 and our new version. We are field testing our new Step Back 5x5 now, and we can include these results in our paper END

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