Worker Behavior Changing by Dynamic Culture

Global Congress on Process Safety
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 30, 2013 - 9:00am-9:30am

The chemical industries need appropriated project of process to control safety and production avoiding accidents and environmental impacts. The best project criteria include sufficient information about procedures or activities of operators. The execution is essential to successful operations. Improper practices or low quality practices in chemical industry can have a severe and negative impact on the economics. An important research is beginning, studying the change of operator behavior due to cultural changes anticipating the possibility of top events as accidents with fatalities.

Cultural aspects occur in different ways and depend of the resultant force that tends to the final and dominant aspect. The cultural aspects are: changes of society, the mass culture influence, the regional aspects, the organizational culture.

The Chemical industry has some characteristics that must be analyzed in a social group in the Job. They are: (a) automation level; (b) description of critical tasks; (c) type of supervisor and type of managers; (d) work division in the shift and in administrative staff; (e) relations with subcontractors; and (f) hazards and Risk when manipulating these Products.

An important concern to be discussed is about human factors (HF) that cause product losses & energy losses & time losses during operations at industry. These HF can perform tasks with noise in the mental map damaging the decision, and changing or skipping the steps of the procedures.

These cultural aspects in the human behavior affect the social relation inside the factories and outside, at the citizens life inside the cities. There are questions about the current events that must be answered and there are social hypothesis to be validated.


There are questions about the current events that must be answered and there are social hypothesis to be validated in this research. (1) What are main cultural changes that influence over human behaviors in Chemical industries and that increases the accidents and incidents? (2) How to detect these cultural changes and what kind of cognitive and organizational barriers can be implemented? (3) What are social emergent factors that cause exclusion or inclusion of workers at job environment? (4) There are kinds of people at work that can trigger people to be dispersed in an informal way? (5) There are aspects in the linguistic that is causing misunderstandings in the task perform?

The hypothesis discusses the civilizing process and how this process affects the industry performance, your image and your competitiveness. This civilizing process join with the era of consumerism join with internet communication tools producing selfish behavior, including in the work place. The governments are worried (ex: Brazil, Italy) in change the job laws becoming them more and more rigid. The high automation level and complexity of processes are concentrating risks on the workers that are not structured to treat unexpected events.


This social-technical research is non-deterministic and can direct corporative administration to build procedures and documents to change and adjust actual and future industrial sites. When constructing guidelines to CEO, Corporative managers (SHE), and Operational Managers become possible to treat human errors in the social aspects without beginning a conflict with the local society, inside and outside the factory limits. The possibility of happen new emergent facts in the communities must be considered in the Corporative Politics and in their procedures.

This Methodology is divided in three principal activities: the first activity analyzes the kind of cultures including regional, organizational, and the product consumption aspects (or mass, media), and the respective vectorial strengths in a magnetic field. The resultant vectors inside field of cultures will be named as the technical culture. The second activity is related to identification of human and social elements that are influenced by the culture in different ways. The study of dynamic culture can suggest approach to treat human errors that cause incidents and accidents. The movement of dynamic culture causes changes on behavior and must be understood. The cycles, speed, direction, trend (convergence, divergence, increase, and decrease), quality and other properties must be investigated to infer about human error and about social conflicts trends.


The archetypes caused by each culture in the human behavior and group behavior are discussed. These archetypes and others aspects are researched: guilty culture, the accidented  is responsible by the accident; consequence analysis does not work; no creativity in unexpected events; remembering only about the losses; and gap between practical aspects and policies.

The behavior of operator, the behavior of administrative staff and the management style at the work station is defined by the information and knowledge base supplied by manager decisions. The operators must perform tasks without noises and mistakes that can affect the process and machine causing process losses (ex: accident). The investigation about Technical culture is important to understand how cultures can affect the behavior.

The identification of human errors in the cognitive processing that can cause process losing is essential to understand how construct technical and social barriers, in the instructions, knowledge, task, process parameters, in the politics issues, social inclusion, organizational integration, in the human type, in the personal allocation, and other possibilities.


The consequences of cultural changes (after strength relations of their elements) affect human behavior with different ways. It depends on human types, how social emergent aspects drive the behavior, what are the consequences to cognitive machine with intuitive and affective aspects.

The human behavior type is defined by psychologist and sociologist and can cause human errors with consequent processes losses.

The social changes can be externalized when some words provoke discordances between people that divide the same environment, as colleagues at work, or students at school, or costumers at market. These emergent processes of an increasing conflict can be evident when the social systems show signals that do not functioning in a correct speed or with the correct signified (Lacan).

The classification of human error at work station depends of different factors in the events as environment, human behavior, project aspects, cognitive aspects, and task performance aspects. The discussion of human error with its complexity including multidisciplinary aspects can classify derivative human error.


The movement of culture causes changes on behavior that must be understood. The cycles, the speed, the direction, the trend (convergence, divergence, increase, and decrease), the quality, and other properties must be investigated to infer about human error and about social trends to occur conflicts.

The human errors are intermediary events before top event of process and task. The human errors are related with environments as policy, and social culture. Then, it is essential to investigate about the noises that affect the thinking and fail during decision in the execution of task. There are three cycles interconnected with each other that is focus of research: (a) thinking cycle that show how routine activities are performed and show how new concepts are created to help people when unexpected events are happening; (b) decision cycle that use the economic and environmental utility to choice alternatives and request several memory operations in the mental map; (c) the utility cycle where some analyses about desires and realizations are done: (i) the desires of organization, manager and supervisors are compared with the result of task performed; (ii) the desires of family, citizenship, and friendship are compared with the roles of worker in the society; and finally, (iii) the individual desires (internal values) are compared with the job realizations and others.

The application of operative groups (Pichon Riviere) in industry allows understand the emergent vectors (or feelings) that cause social conflict and giving sufficient information to treat these conflicts inside and outside of the Company.

The construction of risky scenario of great impact to the community caused by the chemical industry can show how the mental map is unstructured, and after analysis, allows the construction of a program of activities to avoid these future scenarios. In a progressive way, warnings, uncontrolled process, change of procedures or rules (changing the task, and damage equipment), danger events, and the sinister are presented looking for solutions. The specialist and the observer can take notes about behaviors and conclude what are the trends of the group.

Several events constructs the anatomies including typical decisions (rituals) of specific group to indicate vices and social conflicts in the task execution. These anatomies of social events are based on observation and investigation of speech (write, oral). Then, the specialist can identify the principal social diseases to be vaccine and finally is possible to define educational programs and training to change the social and individual behaviors.


The implementation of these analyzes in a sulfuric acid industry allow in a practical way understand the possibilities to avoid human error resultant from social movements into factory.

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