Vetergy was proud to be an exhibitor, presenter, and sponsor at the recent 2022 Texas/ Louisiana EHS Seminar & Industry Trade Show. Over 500 attendees had access to four days of education sessions, exhibition booths, and keynote speakers.
Attendees gained knowledge from an impressive array of speakers distributed across the seminar’s schedule; a few of the many themes highlighted were:
- Low frequency, high consequence/significant safety events and certain near misses in HROs (like aviation) as well as in high hazard industries like chemical manufacturing and refining have been shown to often be due to human factors such as stress, fatigue, poor communication, a workplace attitude of blame or low trust, inferior operational discipline, a ‘pathological’ or reactive safety culture
- Human error is inevitable…even though people set out to do a good job at work (and get things right most of the time)
- Why does someone do something that they KNOW is not the right thing to do (e.g., violate a procedure) – but still do it? Many times, the answer is they thought they wouldn't get hurt or they’ve seen others do the same thing (and been rewarded). An often-incomplete investigation will stop at the human action that caused the incident but doesn't look for latent or deep-rooted factors (organizational, cultural, leadership) that have broad impacts on systems; in such instances, the real contributing causes are not identified, and any corrective actions put in place will not address the true root cause(s)
- Big differences exist between management and leadership. Managers achieve results by producing order and consistency; leaders get results by producing change & movement
- Incidents always have certain specific facts and circumstances and yet, in many cases, similar contributing factors such as poor communication, an organization’s failure to learn from previous incidents, poor hazard awareness/recognition, normalization of deviation; or false sense of confidence are determined to be common issues.
This year’s program featured Vetergy Group’s own Lance Muniz and David Wilbur speaking in different sessions to leaders about human error in the workplace and operational resilience, respectively. Both retired U.S. Marines who served in aviation have decades of relevant experience for high-reliability organizations (HROs) in process industries like chemical manufacturing and oil and gas refining. Both presentations illustrated Vetergy’s expertise and distinctive method for human factors analysis.
Vetergy’s rigorously tested classification system for investigating incidents/near misses includes a taxonomy (vocabulary) that enables clients to identify specific human factor root causes of an incident(s) that other root cause analysis tools (like Apollo, Five-Whys, Fishbone, FMEA, Pareto Chart) often fail to reveal to leaders where they can be appropriately addressed/managed.
At Vetergy, we know that humans are error-prone, and that error can never be fully eliminated; however, we also know that humans are the adaptable interface between complex engineered systems in high hazard industries and the inevitably challenging and dynamic operating conditions employees face at work. Since error cannot be eliminated, we believe that it is the adaptive nature (capacity) of human beings that makes it possible for an employee to “be right” as it is to “be wrong”. Vetergy helps employees get it right.
In our view, error itself is an essential resource for reducing errors (that are frequently system produced). Vetergy has helped organizations achieve success by helping leaders (at all levels) understand that human performance is a critical resource for businesses to cultivate, and not a liability to manage. Vetergy aids clients by helping organizations set their people up for success and shift away from who failed to what failed and why.
This year’s EHS seminar was an outstanding event for Vetergy because it enabled our team to meet with many Texas and Louisiana-based chemical company representatives answering their questions about human factors and offering them ideas and solutions to help them in their pursuit of achieving world-class performance.