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Shift Handover / Turnover is Still a Major Issue in our Industry…

Achieving operational excellence is the ultimate objective, this is a moving target, but we can get close if we can change the culture! To do that you have to focus on the workers. Many organizations have forgotten about the human factor. Human performance has taken a back seat, in the past organizations spent millions of dollars on technology and very little on human factors.

We have to bring the focus back to the workers, the ones running the processes and working in the field. Operator performance is impacted by the standards, management systems, tools, environment, and the behavior that has manifested over time, all of which now make up the culture.

By implementing best practices with a focus on improving operator performance you can change the culture and be prepared for the less experienced workers that move into key positions. 

Conduct of Operations (COO) is having the right standards and management systems that operators follow in order to perform at a level that meets safety standards and reduces operational risks. Implementing documented standards, like shift handover, procedure management, and alarm management for example, will improve conduct of operations and operator discipline.

You can’t just put documents in place, you have to involve the workers in the development of these standards and focus on best practices and leverage your operators experience.

Many companies are developing a new position called OE manager or COO/OD (Conduct of Operations & Operational Discipline) manager. This person works closely with industry experts (like us) to improve task performance – identifying gaps, filling those gaps, and involving the operators in the development of effective site standards.

We have been performing control room and field assessments for the past 25 years and it’s proven to be one of the most valuable exercises to align leadership teams, a key factor when changing the culture. Our workshops bring real issues to the surface and provide united solutions that are documented and easily implemented across departments.

Most if not all existing practices can be adjusted fairly easily, then documented as a standard. Once the operators are trained these standards can be easily managed by someone with authority to enforce the guidelines and ensure proper conduct and discipline are used during all operational tasks.

One example of a documented best practice that all businesses should be developing (yesterday) is a (shift turnover / handover) standard. It is still a leading contributor to major accidents that have been made public. The break down in shift to shift communication has broken situation awareness and aloud preventable injuries and death to occur in our industry.

An operational standards gap assessment should be performed by an outside company to identify holes in your defenses and identify which standards should be developed. This outside company must be able to show experience with the development of best practices in control room and field operations. I know a great company to work with 🙂

Stay safe and always look out for each other. I Am My Brothers Keeper.