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Human Performance in the Energy Sector

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This is a fully-supported learning pathway to increase competence and capability. This is a unique professional development learning pathway, the first of its kind, developed specifically to address a business need for human factors skills.

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What is human performance?

Human performance is about what people do as part of a system to help manage risk and keep us safe, it’s about understanding the human factors involved with how people interact with plant, equipment, processes and each other. All major hazard industries rely on high levels of human performance to improve safety and reliability.

What is human factors?

Human factors is a scientific discipline that puts people at the centre of everything to ensure their capabilities and limitations are taken into account when designing tasks, equipment, environments and the systems that support it all.

How does human factors improve human performance?

We use human factors to improve human performance by ensuring that people are given jobs and tasks that are satisfying, challenging but achievable. Applying human factors improves safety by ensuring that, as far as reasonably practicable, the potential for error is designed out and that any residual risks are minimised. We apply knowledge and principles of human factors so we can set people up for success so they can work together effectively.

Eight reasons why you should take this Pathway

  1. Human factors is a vital component of any business but people knowledgeable and skilled in the discipline are in short supply. This Pathway offers a route to attaining those competencies.
  2. The Pathway allows you to gradually build up a pragmatic, flexible and transferable skill set in human factors so you’ll become a confident and sought-after asset for your organisation.
  3. The Pathway signposts a comprehensive set of resources for self-study in a variety of formats that includes written guides, textbooks, standards and briefing notes, together with podcasts, videos and webinars. The majority of these resources are freely available.
  4. Alongside these resources, the Pathway provides you with sets of activities to carry out so you’ll be able to apply the methods, tools and techniques you’re learning, building up your skills and confidence as you go, so you should never feel out of your depth.
  5. Built into the Pathway are a number of support tools that allow you to assess your knowledge and understanding at the start and throughout the course of your study.
  6. A mentor, fully-qualified in human factors, will be on hand to offer practical support and guidance so you’ve always got someone to talk to if you’re unsure how to proceed or you want reassurance about your progress. They will also help you to put together your application for Technical Membership along the way, so you’ll be ready to submit it as soon as you’ve completed the Pathway.
  7. A handbook is provided that will take you through the Pathway step-by-step but you set the pace so you learn at a speed that works for you and fits comfortably with your current commitments, ensuring you have time to benefit fully from the knowledge you’re gaining.
  8. The Pathway leads to eligibility to apply for recognition as a Technical Specialist of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors.

What does the Pathway involve?

You'll start with a basic introduction to the concepts and principles of human factors as they relate to human performance. Then you’ll move on to more detailed learning on a number of key topics relevant to the high-hazard industries:

  • Task Analysis
  • Designing for people
  • Incident investigation
  • Procedures
  • Safety critical communication
  • Workload, stress and fatigue
  • Human factors in projects
  • Control room design and alarm management
  • Leadership, supervision and safety culture

The Pathway unfolds over 3 levels, each one delving deeper into the topics and giving you a more thorough understanding. After you’ve completed each level, a set of multiple-choice questions will allow you to consolidate your knowledge, so you’ll be confident that you understand the information at each level before moving on to the next.

  • Level 1 introduces the individual topics giving you a high-level overview of each. For example, in the task analysis topic, you’ll learn what a critical task is and how to identify where mistakes could be made. Activities include walk-throughs, observations and discussions.
  • Level 2 is where you start to specialise in five selected topics relevant to the needs of the business and your role within it. For example, in the Workload, Stress and Fatigue topic, you’ll learn about approaches to managing stress and performance under pressure. You’ll carry out reviews, participate in studies and apply methods and tools.
  • Level 3 advances your understanding in your choice of two of your five selected topics. For example, in the Procedures topic, you’ll learn about a range of human factors tools and methods that enable you to develop procedures. Activities at this level include writing reports, carrying out investigations and coaching colleagues.

How long does the Pathway take to complete?

Whilst the Pathway is self-paced, it’s designed to be completed in around two years but you should see three years as a maximum in order to ensure learning is effectively embedded and skills don’t fade before they’re put into practice.

Who is this Pathway aimed at?

Anyone who needs to apply human factors in their organisation. You could be a Safety Engineer, a Process Safety Engineer, an engineer working in project or you could be an operations specialist. Whatever your job, you’re unlikely to have a role centred only on human factors so the Pathway has been designed to be flexible enough to accommodate your normal working duties and the time you have available.

The Pathway could be included in your plan of work with the understanding that the practical activities set out in the Pathway are likely to take place as part of your on-the-job professional development.

How will it benefit me?

On completion of the Pathway, you’ll be eligible to apply for membership of the CIEHF as a Technical Specialist, ensuring that your hard work and accomplishments are formally acknowledged. This means that you’ll be recognised as having the competence and capability to coach colleagues, to inform senior level discussions, and to apply, integrate and deliver programmes of work in human factors using the tools and techniques you’ll learn about on this Pathway.

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