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Why do we need to do Management of Organizational Change (MOOC)?

One of the biggest questions we get asked by our clients is ‘Why do we need to do Management of Organizational Change (MOOC)?’ This still seems a strange question to us. Companies rarely question the need for normal Management of Change and the link between equipment changes and potential safety and operational compromises is well understood. Why should it not be so obvious for changes in management systems or personnel? Changing an operator’s span of control surely impacts their decision processes, especially when confronted with abnormal situations. Changing an operator’s physical location, for example when moving to a remote centralized control room, can have a significant impact on communications (or even the ability to help out when something in the field goes awry.) How about a change in management? Does the direction of senior management have an impact? It certainly does if there is, for example, a change of emphasis from safety to production goals – should we keep the column running at all costs or just shutdown to be safe. Looking at the recommendations for MOOC in the literature and standards each of these scenarios would trigger a study. We know from past incidents that changes such as those above have been contributing factors, just take a look at the recommendations from the Baker Report on the Texas City incident.

MOOC is a requirement in certain locations, in the UK for hydrocarbon facilities, in Contra Costa County in the US for all chemical facilities and the requirement if even in the PSM regulations. However, in most cases we are content to use outdated facilities siting checklists to satisfy this. If you agree with the above shouldn’t the question we hear be ‘How do we do MOOC?’