Risk Management for Engineering… Q&A with Dominic Furniss, Human Reliability Associates

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ALARP Seminar, October 26, 2022, Manchester, UK

The ALARP principle is at the heart of UK health and safety legislation. Given the continuous innovation in technology and processes, it is essential that the standards and methods used to demonstrate ALARP are constantly challenged. Otherwise, companies risk major financial and public reactions.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers holds an annual seminar for engineers to discuss technical, legal, and regulatory challenges and share strategies for overcoming them.

Ahead of this year’s seminar, we caught up with Dominic Furniss, Senior Human Factors Consultant at Human Reliability Associates, to get a preview of what attendees can expect to hear during his presentation and what he thinks are the main challenges facing ALARP practitioners from a regulatory perspective. perspective.

Q: Please briefly explain your role, involvement and experience in security and risk management

Dominic Furniss (DF): I am a trainer and consultant in Human Factors at Human Reliability. I’ve been working here for about 4 years, developing the Human Reliability Academy. We primarily work with oil, gas and chemical companies that must comply with COMAH, but we also work with other safety-critical industries internationally. After my PhD, I did research on human factors in health care for a while.

Q: What is the main challenge faced by engineers and risk managers when applying and demonstrating ALARP?

FD: The people who follow our training are well versed in the technical elements of their security work but are less familiar with the human element. I hear people who say human factors could include anything under the sun, I hear people who are tired of developing more procedures and suggesting training to improve performance, and people who are overwhelmed by the potential of the subject. It’s great to then give people a structured and practical approach to identifying and reducing human factors risks.

Q: How has your approach to risk management changed in recent years?

FD: We help organizations in their Human Factors risk management. Since Covid, we have moved many of our Human Factors workshops online, but have always conducted physical walkthroughs of tasks where possible. We have also developed online courses that allow others to make more use of our tools and methods.

Q: What are the current developments in your industry that will change your approach in the future?

FD: We are seeing many developments in online course delivery which will affect how we support sites with human factors risk management. This could include online coaching and community, hybrid courses that have new interactive elements, and membership models so that support can be provided over longer periods.

Q: What will you be presenting at the ALARP 2022 Seminar and how will it benefit attendees?

FD: I will present a methodology called Human Factors Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA). It is a practical approach to analyzing and reducing the risks associated with critical tasks from a human factors perspective. We’ll get an overview of how to analyze tasks and bridge the gap between work as imagined and work as done, how to identify different failures, and the factors that make these failures more or less likely.

Q: What other speakers and presentations are you looking forward to at the next seminar?

FD: I look forward to hearing what Ron McLeod and Steve Corner have to say about Human Factors and ALARP. I have done work on automated systems as a researcher, and welcome more discussion of how human factors assessments and results are received by people who need to demonstrate ALARP. I also have one of Ron’s books on my shelf, so it will be great to see it in person.

Q: Why is it important for engineers and security professionals to come together and share best practices?

FD: For me, it’s about breaking down those silos, hearing different perspectives, different thoughts, and different ways to present things — being constructive, building on what we already know, and having a growth mindset.

The 2022 ALARP Seminar will take place on October 26 in Manchester, UK.

Join this in-person seminar to:

  • Gain in-depth insight into ALARP methodologies used across a range of safety-critical sectors – enabling the transfer of best practices
  • Understand developments around the interpretation and application of ALARP
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully apply the ALARP principle to 21st century engineering challenges
  • Effectively mitigate and manage risk to eliminate safety-critical events
  • Reduce your exposure to regulatory and legal penalties by understanding and fully meeting expectations

To reserve your spot, go to event website.

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