Unit 1 Assessment


There are seven factors that often contribute to human error as listed on page 35 of your textbook. List them in the order in which you think they should be addressed. Explain your choices for the first and last items on your list.

Your response must be a minimum of 75 words in length.

I have inadequate procedures listed first because if the procedure, policy, or process is not correct, then the human error risk factor increases. Procedures can be, for the most part, easily corrected and/or amended. Therefore, procedures should be constantly reviewed and revised to reflect current best safety practices.

  • Inadequate procedures
  • Skill level
  • Lack of clear communication protocols
  • Poorly designed equipment
  • Improper understanding of ergonomics issues by management
  • Technician fatigue
  • Failure to follow procedures

I placed failure to follow procedures in the seventh spot. It is not that I think this deserves less attention than the rest; it is that I believe human factor can complicate any process or procedure due to the numerous variables involved with humans.


Your textbook lists eight skills important to process employees on pages 10 and 11. Which of these skills do you think contributes most to risk reduction efforts? Explain your choice.

Your response must be a minimum of 75 words in length.

Technical expertise. For all employees, having technical expertise in their craft is vital to safety. Of course, employees will not immediately have expertise early in their careers. In my opinion, teaching the younger employees the correct and safe ways of the craft falls on mentors, elder technicians, safety personnel, supervision and management. 

Individuals that achieve technical expertise have the skills and knowledge to effectively, and safely, complete their jobs. I work with several individuals that I consider experts in their craft. They can explain how they will complete their tasks in a way that all parties understand their roles as well as how their methods offers the most risk/hazard reduction.


Workplace errors can be divided into errors of omission and errors of commission. Provide examples that illustrate the difference. Which type of error do you feel is easier to control? Explain your choice.

Your essay response must be a minimum of 75 words in length.

My example illustrating the difference between the two types of errors is an inadequate procedure that is missing vital steps. This is an error of omission and may or may not involve human factors. If the procedure writer is unfamiliar with the process, then the procedure will include their inexperience and potential have missing or incomplete steps. However, if the procedure is complete and accurate, then an error of commission is committed when an employee performs a step not required in the procedure, or a step is duplicated which serves no purpose.

I feel the error of omission is easier to control as it may involve less human factors – hence less human interaction. Error of commission appears will have more behavioral based consequences as choices are made to contribute to the error.


From Figure 2.1 on page 21 in the course textbook, select three accident prevention programs or techniques that would be beneficial to process safety. Briefly explain the reasons for your selections.

Your essay response must be a minimum of 75 words in length.

All listed programs and/or techniques can be beneficial to process safety. However, the three I chose are as follows:


  • Engineering controls – this is a priority to reduce risk without involving human factors. Of course removing the hazard is first and foremost, however, engineering controls can be an effective tool in reducing and/or mitigating risk and hazards.
  • Training – this is vital to all industry, as employees must have necessary information and training to safely complete their assigned tasks.
  • Permit systems – this is another vital system which must be in place to identify, communicate and mitigate hazards for specific tasks and jobs.

Discuss how employees working in the process industries can contribute to the overall reduction of workplace risk. Why is a risk-free workplace not possible? Support your discussion with examples.

Your essay response must be a minimum of 200 words in length.

Process industry employees have a vital part in the reduction of workplace risk. The fact is that the health and safety (H&S) reps alone cannot identify and mitigate all risks without assistance from other employees. Ex: in my current H&S role, I cover 2 states and approximately 20 facilities (large and small). I cannot physically be present for all work at all locations so the technicians, supervisors and contractors have to assist me – and hence themselves – in identifying hazards and reducing risks on the jobsites. Employees use equipment and tools on a daily basis so they are better equipped to understand if any safety issues arise with this equipment and tools. They can then bring it to the supervisors or the H&S tech’s attention for resolution. Alternatively, they can resolve themselves if company policy allows. Another example from my situation is several safety committees in which employees are on. These committees perform walk-throughs of facilities to identify hazards as well as increase employee participation. Employee participation can increase safety awareness with proper safety training and communication.

All companies should strive a risk-free workplace; however, risk/hazard-free workplaces are not possible due to human interaction. Whether a procedure writer makes a mistake or the technician uses the wrong tool for the job, human factors can cause errors anywhere in a process facility.


Describe a serious hazard that exists where you work, or used to work, and discuss how you would apply the Three E’s of safety to eliminate the hazard or reduce the risks it presents.

Your essay response must be a minimum of 200 words in length.

At several facilities in NY State, pumps have exposed shafts that presents a hazard when technicians are around the equipment when the pumps are running. OSHA research was completed to determine the allowable space for finger access and our welder engineered guards to be permanently mounted on the shafts to protect employees. The pumps could now be running while employees were in close proximity. Training was required due to the facility being a PSM facility, but also the technicians needed to be aware of how to remove prior to working on the pump. Therefore, the employees received documented education (training) on the new guards and it was incorporated into existing maintenance procedures.

Prior to installing the guards, a corporate audit was conducted and several facilities were written up due to the exposure hazard. The onus was then relayed to me for enforcing the placement of the guards in a timely manner. Therefore, I created action tasks and assigned to facility supervisors with reasonable timeframes for completion. If the supervisors did not complete, then the Area Manager would step in and pursue the issue. If still no resolution, then the Regional Manager gets involved and so on and so forth until it gets to the Operations VP. Each way up there are various disciplines in which the lacking individual would receive since it is a safety hazard and has the potential for employee injury.

That said, all guards were in place by the prescribed timeframe and no one was hurt.