Development of an Effective Procedure Writer’s Guide using a Human Factors and Regulatory Compliance Approach
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Well-written procedures are an integral part of any industrial organization for safe operation, managing risks, and continuous improvement. Regulatory bodies around the world require industries to have current, accurate, and appropriate procedures for most processes. Although the importance of procedures is recognized by all industries in general, significant incidents have occurred in the past due to procedural breakdowns. Some of the procedural breakdowns come from obvious problems such as the procedure not being available or the procedure being wrong. However, some incidents have occurred when correct procedures were available and the operator used those procedures. In these instances, the reason why operators do not follow procedures correctly may be attributable to many factors, one of them being that the procedure is presented or designed in a manner that does not sufficiently communicate to the operators the information that is needed in a manner that is easily and quickly understood. The work presented here is focused on the latter circumstance and is part of a program of research that will ultimately lead to the development of a writer’s guide for procedures that supports operators’ comprehension and compliance with all types of industrial procedures. The writer’s guide is based on empirical findings from human factors and human performance studies and provides writers with information on how to present procedures in a manner that is clear, thorough, and (if necessary) implementable with short notice. For the first phase of the project, a sample of the regulations and standards from several industries were used to identify procedure writing practices necessary for ensure regulatory compliance. Regulations and industrial standards from around the world were organized to reflect common ideas and the implications in terms of human factors needs were identified with regard to procedure design. Any human factors (HF) that had implications for the writer’s guide that had empirical support, were included in the writer’s guide (with the reference) with an explanation of the HF implication and empirical support. The writer’s guide developed is structured to allow procedure writers access to guidance on various types of procedures they are writing, the type of information they are trying to communicate, and methods for maintaining accurate and current procedures. As mentioned, the current project is the beginning of a program of research and then next phase will include feedback from operators regarding the challenges they face when using procedures.
Peres, S. Camille; Quddus, Noor; Rahmani, Sahmani; Kannan, Pranav; Ahmed, Lubna; Ritchey, Paul; Johnson, William; Mannan, M. Sam (2015). Development of an Effective Procedure Writer’s Guide using a Human Factors and Regulatory Compliance Approach. Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center; Texas &M University. Libraries. Available electronically from