Whilst step improvements can be achieved through capital projects gradual performance improvement can be achieved through improving operational control.
This involves reviewing operating procedures so that they specifically address the risks identified from the risk assessment process, ensuring that the work-force is trained and understands how to mitigate their impacts and finally ensuring that people are held accountable for following set procedures.
Procedures and training and integrally linked. In the first instance it is necessary to determine the optimal way to undertake a task without compromising safety, the environment or the community. This is best done with a group of participants including those who will be undertaking the task. For each step in the process it is necessary to:
- Spot the hazard
- Assess the risk
- Determine a solution
Once the optimum way of managing a task is determined it is written up as a set procedure.
This procedure will generally reside in a training manual with operators required to demonstrate competence before being licensed or ticketed to undertake the activity. If it is a task that does not require ticketing it will be included in an approved Standard Operating Procedure that will be periodically reviewed. Very high standards of document control are needed to ensure that only the current approved version is available in the work-place.
Failure to follow a set procedure is a serious breach of site requirements and will result in disciplinary action being taken against the operator. A critical aspect of this is the inclusion of key performance indicators in the job descriptions of employees and specific clauses in contract documents. The performance of both contract and directly employed staff should be formally assessed at least annually but preferably every 6 months. There should be both reward for good performance and consequences for breaches of set procedures and Standards.