2008 Ergonomics Society - Staffing assessments and supervision
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Getting the numbers right
Staffing assessments and supervision
How do you know if you have the right
number of people?
Routines are getting done
Not had a major accident
Everyone is coping
Comparable with others
But could you get by with less?
Can’t look at staffing in absolute
Batch vs continuous
Simple vs complex
Manual vs automatic
Specialist vs commodity
Single site vs global business
Changes across the industry
Less layers of supervision
Jobs have changed
Two methods developed as HSE
CRR 272/2001 - Assessing the safety of staffing
arrangements for process operations in the
chemical and allied industries
Energy Institute User Guide 2004
RR 292/2004 - Different types of supervision and
its impact on safety in the chemical and allied
Supervision Assessment – RR292
Supervision is a management function.
It may be delivered by one or more individuals,
Who may be within or external to the team
There is no right or wrong organisation
Each has inherent strengths and weaknesses.
Self-managed, multi-skilled teams
Less ‘layers’ improves communication within teams
Increased workforce involvement
Team members have more variation
Lack of leadership
Poor communication external to the team
Responsibilities less well defined & understood
Higher training burden to maintain competence.
If you take the supervisor away,
supervision still needs to happen
Defining overall team workload
Allocating day-to-day work
Allocating manpower for daily
requirements for tasks
requirements for team
Measuring team performance
Carrying out appraisals
Providing leadership in
About the method
Acknowledges different methods of delivering
Assists in developing safer forms of supervision
Useful when changes are being made
Assists HSE inspectors in carrying out
Brings issues out into the open
Helps verbalise how supervision is delivered in
Identifies 5 Safety Assessment Principles (SAP).
SAP1 - Supervision is a critical
This must be reflected in an organisation’s
safety management system
Level of rigor commensurate with risk
Same as other elements of equal risk
Policy, organisation and planning
Measurement, audit and review.
likely to deal with
than refer up
likely to deal with
than refer up
SMS to define
command & tiers
SAP2 - Supervision has a key influence
on the way teams perform
Method of delivery must be suitable for the team
Arrangements must ensure all elements of
supervision are performed
In traditional teams they may all be performed by one
In modern teams this is distributed
Everyone must understand how the team
functions, including delivery of supervision
Includes team members, management etc.
Its importance/priority must be clear.
SAP3 - Individuals with supervisory role
must have resources & opportunity
Time to carry out their role
Interaction with the people they are supervising
Experience in supervising
How does someone learn?
SAP4 - Supervision of contractors must
be properly managed
Can have a significant impact on health and safety
Need to understand why contractors are being
Arrangements to address all circumstances
Short vs long-term contractors
Different activities (e.g. major shutdown)
Both sides need to understand and participate
Contracting and operating companies.
SAP5 - Organisation must ensure good
leadership in emergencies
Leadership not supervision
Setting direction and providing support
Less direct control - groups work autonomously
Critical for effective and efficient response
Roles clearly defined and understood
Also for deputies
Reliance on training, refresher training and
Staffing assessment – CRR272
Challenges whether you are likely to have
With the rights skills
Who are able to work together
To successfully deal with high demand situations
The ‘physical’ ability to detect, diagnose and
recover from scenario’s in time to prevent
Management and organisation in place to make
sure arrangements are sustainable.
Consider high demand
How high can you climb?
Top rung considered to be
industry best practice
Assessment of physical arrangements
Are people where they need to be?
To hear alarms, to read displays
Are there enough people around?
Will stand-by operators be able to leave their own units
Will off-site staff travel in in enough time
Can people do their tasks in the time available?
Can field operators get from place to place in time
Will the communications be reliable?
Will the batteries last
Eight decision trees provided to assess the adequacy of
Is Control Room (CR)
Does the CR operator go into the field?
What is the maximum time
the CRO is away from CR?
Where does the CRO go?
Is it more than the minimum
time it takes to develop an
What happens if the CRO gets retained e.g.
treating a process problem, or he falls over?
What is the primary way that a process alarm or
trip is detected when he is away?
None Pager? External Alarm? 3rd Party?
Physical assessment topics
1. Control room continuously
Cover for meal and toilet
2. Operator always at
Issuing permits, secondary
3. Operators distracted Phone calls, visitors, alarms
4. Obtaining information Process data, drawings,
5. Calling for assistance Help with diagnosis
6. Number of people
Where are they, what will
they be doing
7. Communications during
Radios, phones, backup
8. Additional activities Raising alarm, roll call
Assessment of individual and organisation
Set of questions encourage assessment team to
consider the key issues
‘Ladders’ provided to assess adequacy
Each rung is a description of system attributes
Start at the bottom, how high do you get?
Minimum, acceptable levels are defined for each
Always start at bottom
Alertness and fatigue
Alertness and fatigue
Roles and responsibilities
Willingness to initiate
Management of operating
Management of change
Management of safety
Scenario Tree 1 Tree 2
Oil leak Pass Pass
Fire Fail Fail
Etc. Pass Fail
%Failed 33% 66%
Ladder 1 Ladder 2 Ladder 3
B A B
C B C
X Y Y
Y Z Z
More critical for plant with reliable trip systems that
are easy to start and stop
List tasks and approximate duration
Should be significantly less than 100% loaded
Number of people involved and duration
How do they impact on the routines?
Two methods to assist assessments of staffing
Give some objectivity
Proven to provide a useful framework for
Particularly useful when considering changes
Rarely a pure numbers game
Alternatives to employing more people.
Over reliance on informal training
Inadequate refresher training
Too many distractions in control rooms
Visitors, contractors, day staff
No control on shift swaps, overtime, breaks etc.
Very passive approach to stress and fatigue
Poor management of the safety implications of
organisational change (including staffing levels)
Failure to consider human factors when
Problems with change
Full impacts of change not understood
No monitoring of the impacts of change
Lack of objectivity in planning
Inadequate staff to deal with foreseeable events
Loss of practical and technical competence
Assumption that change will be successful
Lack of buy-in.