Four Thousand Weeks is the next audio book on my playlist. Apparently if you live to 80 this is roughly the length of time you have on planet Earth. What?! Surely not enough.
But before panic sets in… the book promises to tackle the feeling of not having enough time, to argue against being more and more productive, with longer and longer to-do lists. Something that can only end in dissatisfaction. Oliver Burkeman tackles something deeper to liberate us from the pressure of productivity and time.
I`ll let you know how I get on with the book.
For now it is inevitable that we think of new plans and goals at the start of the year.
Picking a goal for the New Year
Before we get too drawn into the melee of work, the first part of January can be a good time to reflect on what we want to achieve in the coming weeks and months ahead.
From a personal point of view, we might want to…
- …lose weight
- …start that hobby we’ve been meaning to try
- …develop a new habit
- …do more exercise
But what does this look like when thinking about Human Factors or supporting Human Performance at work. It could mean…
- …finding out more about different approaches to incident investigation
- …find new easier and better ways of developing human-centred procedures
- …exploring practical ways of identifying and managing Human Factors risks proactively for critical tasks
- …figuring out how to influence and get more support for a Human Factors initiative at work
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it could be important. Some of these things could potentially have a huge impact, e.g. leading to less errors, more saves, better support and treatment of workers and colleagues caught up in unwanted events. Pick one or two topics to learn more about and try to push through more in your organisation.
A problem with focus
One recent Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA) course participant commented recently commented BEFORE the course that he hoped to learn some practical approaches to Human Factors, as he thought that it could contain anything under the sun.
Fortunately, the structured ‘topics’ approach that is preferred in the Process Industries provides some nice scope and focus for Human Factors work. These six topics are taken from the Human Factors Delivery Guide for COMAH sites:
1. Managing Human Performance
2. Human Factors in Process Design
3. Critical Communications
4. Design and Management of Procedures
5. Competence Management Systems
6. Managing Organisational Factors
This makes it easier for an organisation and individuals (and third parties) to determine and assess what organisations are doing and where. Where are strengths and weakness?
These topic areas also make it easier to set objectives. Find out more about the topics here.
Going deeper into Topic 1: Managing Human Performance
Our SCTA course is sometimes a breath of fresh air for course participants. Where they have become frustrated with people telling them to do something else or something differently to manage their human factors risks. For example, not to suggest yet more training for operators, or an additional check, or a change to the procedures.
The approach to SCTA that we teach provides a pathway and direction that people are happy with, that is practical, that complies with regulations (where that is important, e.g. UK, Singapore, etc.), and provides value in ensuring that an organisation’s most critical tasks have properly considered and managed their Human Factors risks.
The SCTA course provides a good baseline for Human Factors work for Process Safety.
Urgency and Motivation
How urgent and motivated are you to get on with and make progress with these goals? Is this something that can wait until the end of the year, or do you want to get on with it, start making progress and getting benefit from the investment.
Sometimes there are hidden costs of inaction, like missed opportunities and delayed benefit for others. For example, operators may not have the improved procedures and reduced risks that could follow from Human Factors interventions.
Getting help to reach your goals
Even with personal goals and resolutions there are different approaches. Take for example losing weight and exercising more. Some people try to do this alone, some people join a group or a gym, buy resources for advice, or take on personal coaching.
These approaches represent different levels of investment.
Some may be cheaper but take longer, others may be faster with less risk.
The same is true for training and professional goals. There are plenty of resources and forms of guidance for Human Factors that can be found online. However, this is not the same as joining a a class, group coaching or one to one mentorship.
Further information for SCTA and Human Factors more broadly
If you are new to the area ‘in any sector’ have a look at our FREE 30min mini-course if you haven’t done it already, this could start you thinking more about Human Factors and how it fits with your work: https://the.humanreliabilityacademy.com/courses/mini-course-on-hfctr
If you’re in the ‘Process Safety sector’ that you might want to skip forward and consider our CIEHF accredited course on Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA), we’ve taught people in many different continents and always had good feedback: https://the.humanreliabilityacademy.com/courses/human-factors-SCTA