HOW PERSONAL IS YOUR PROCESS SAFETY?
Another challenge that faces the growing Queensland CSG industry is the availability of an experienced, local workforce. Since it is not possible to exclusively use experienced workers from other states or overseas, Queensland’s young CSG industry has had to retrain local workers from diverse backgrounds such as mining, light industries and agriculture.
Like the rest of the CSG players, Arrow’s first challenge was to improve its personal safety performance among its peers within CSG and the industry. Over the years, significant focus and effort were put in this area and this has helped improve and sustain personal safety performance within a relatively short period of time. However, when it came to process safety, it was observed that staff awareness around the key process safety concepts were limited due to the forementioned reasons.
Personal safety and process safety are quite different when it comes to risk appreciation by staff. If we consider a person from early child hood to adulthood, we can imagine the number of falls and slips he goes through, sports injuries, sometimes broken bones he had to suffer, a few driving infringements or near misses with the L-plated car etc. Most of these personal experiences equip us with a basic level of appreciation of personal safety issues and we can associate these with workplace personal safety hazards. On the other hand, our appreciation of process safety is limited by our cognitive ability (how well we learn things) and heuristics (experience-derived from past). This reality makes teaching and training the workforce extremely challenging when trying to establish a process safety culture and awareness in the work place.
Main difficulties around educating and upskilling workforce on process safety are:
- Topics can be complex (process relief cases, quantitate risk assessments, advanced maintenance performance indicators etc.); and,
- The rarity of real process safety incidents, which prevents most people witnessing or going through a real process safety incident during their career (consequently they do not develop a feeling for it).
Because of these reasons, relying just on dry classroom trainings of key concepts or rolling out hearts and minds type intense communication campaigns do not necessarily deliver success when trying to establish a process safety culture.
Arrow’s experience showed that there are three key ingredients for success:
- Top down visible leadership;
- Procedural control; and,
- Measured compliance.