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Designing for Human Reliability


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Increase operational performance, productivity, and return on investment through human factors engineering during the design, construction, and operation of your oil and gas facilities

Table of Contents

1: Introduction Part 1: Local Rationality at the Formosa Plastics Corporation 2: The Incident 3: Making Sense of Formosa Part 2: The Scope and Value of Human Factors Engineering 4: An Introduction to HFE 5: Costs and Benefits 6: Hard Truths and Principles of Human Factors Engineering 7: Critical Tasks 8: HFE and Weak Signals 9: Automation and Supervisory Control Part 3: Irrational People in a Rational Industry 10: The Problem with People 11: Kahneman 12: Some System 1 Biases 13: Expert Intuition and Experience 14: Summary of Part 3 Part 4: Human Factors in Barrier Thinking Chapter 15: What did you expect? Chapter 16: Human Factors in Barrier Thinking Chapter 17: Intentions, Expectations, and Reality Chapter 18: Pro-active Operator Monitoring Chapter 19: Assuring Human Barriers 20: Reflections on Buncefield Part 5: Improving HFE 21: HFE Implementation 22: Human Factors and Learning from Incidents 23: In Conclusion - Reflections on Local Rationality

About the Author

Ronald W. McLeod, Ph.D., is a human factor specialist who combines strong academic credentials with more than 30 years industrial experience in Human Factors and Applied Psychology. He founded Nickleby HFE Ltd, in 1990 and was both Managing Director and Technical Director until 2007. His team provided services in applied research and system design across industries including defence, oil and gas, nuclear power, aerospace, and financial services. In 2007, he joined Shell as Global Discipline Lead for Human Factors and continued to work there until February 2014. At Shell, Ron led a global team of Human Factors specialists and was responsible for Shell's Design Engineering Practices on Human Factors Engineering, as well as assurance of technical competence of both Shell and contractors staff. He was also one of Shell's lead Subject Matter Experts on Fatigue Risk Management. He left Shell in February 2014 to pursue interests in writing and now works part-time as an independent consultant. Ron earned a B.Sc degree with Honors in Psychology from the University of Stirling, an M.Sc in Ergonomics from Loughborough University of Technology, and Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the University of Southampton. He is Honorary Professor of Engineering Psychology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ron is a registered member of the Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics, and is a member of the Human Factors Society and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He has contributed to numerous industry best practices and guides produced by organizations including IOGP/IPIECA, SPE and the Energy Institute. Ron was an invited member of the Psychology User Panel for the UK's 2003 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2003) and was a member of UK National Advisory Committee on Human Factors from 2001-2006. He was Shell's representative on Human Factors sub-committee of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers from 2008-2013, a member of Buncefield Industry Working Group #7 (Human Factors) and a member of Working Group 1 of the UK Process Safety Leadership Group.


"My gut feel is that this book could make a big difference in industry. Ron's hands-on experience, passion and his desire to communicate shine through the book. Read it." - 5 Stars --The Chemical Engineer, Designing for Human Reliability "Often when people from industry ask me what they should read on Human Factors, I pause, because there are actually few books on the subject that aren't written by academics for academics. Now, thankfully, there is such a book. It has a solid industry feel to it, and the questions it poses and answers remind me of many discussions I've had over the years in numerous industries, but particularly Oil and Gas where the dollar is what really counts.......If you are a manager, engineer, or designer facing human performance issues and wondering what to do about them, read this book." --Barry Kirwan, EUROCONTROL "Designing for Reliability shows very effectively how human performance can be influenced by workplace design. This is a timely addition to the human factors literature, given the relative lack of attention traditionally paid to the design stage of worksite construction. What is novel about this book is that it is not only about equipment but it also explains clearly how the working environment (e.g. arrangements of pipework, access ladders, gauges and valves) needs to be carefully planned with respect to the cognitive and physical capabilities of the human operators. Ron Mcleod skilfully illustrates just how difficult and expensive it can be to fix dangerous and unworkable layouts after building and manufacturing are completed. Moreover, he reveals how major industrial accidents have occurred with causal deficiencies in the work systems and equipment interfaces.......I would recommend this book for students on engineering, ergonomics and human factors courses. Ron Mcleod's wide experience in industry, especially in the oil and gas sector, shines through the material. He clearly knows how to discuss human factors with practitioners." --Rhona Flin, Emeritus Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Aberdeen "Ron McLeod's book Designing for Human Reliability, in my opinion, fills a gap in the literature on HFE. As inspector for a major hazard company, I can confirm his statement ' ... there has been a lack of appreciation of the extent to which the behavior of people at the operational sharp-end (the operators on the workfloor) is shaped or facilitated by the design of the physical and the organizational world they work in'. I also believe that if more decision makers or the people who can influence these decisions read and use the content of this book, this lack of appreciation can be reduced. For this, the book is convincing by delivering the necessary theories and techniques accompanied with an abundance of compelling examples and stories which are spot on in supporting the theories handed over in the book......There is no doubt I loved reading the book. As a final credit: many "softer" topics in Safety I and Safety II were (up to now) too fuzzy for me, although I had read a lot about them. The fuzziness is gone after reading this book!" --Frank Verschueren, Labor and Process Safety Inspector "McLeod's book is an in-depth, structured, and careful exploration of human factors engineering-an HFE bible for the layman that also yields insights for those in the HFE field. The examples he provides demonstrate the complexity and multifaceted layers of human factors engineering, showing how organizational drivers can either hinder or support safety and return-on-investment. His concise yet in-depth exploration of a wide array of HFE concepts, with choice examples, had me rethinking incidents I thought I already knew thoroughly, such as the Formosa Plastics Vinyl Chloride multi-fatality incident and the Buncefield tank farm explosion. He shared new thinking on these events and others, expanding beyond a basic HFE approach into the emotional influences of design. I found myself noting many of his ideas for future reference....This book is a compendium of scientific and technical HFE knowledge, all wrapped up in one well-organized resource." -- Cheryl Mackenzie

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