Categories
Behind the Scenes

Why Call it The Safety ‘Artisan’?

Why did I call my business The Safety ‘Artisan‘?

artisan/ˈɑːtɪzan,ɑːtɪˈzan/Learn to pronounce noun

A worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. “street markets where local artisans display handwoven textiles, painted ceramics, and leather goods”

Why Call it The Safety ‘Artisan’?

Why The Safety ‘Artisan’?

Hi, everyone. When I was choosing a name for my business, I thought of quite a lot of alternatives, but I settled on The Safety Artisan for three reasons. First, I liked the meaning of the word, the idea of an individual person pursuing their craft and trying to do it to the very best of their abilities.

Second, I liked the application because I’ve worked on a lot of very large, even multi-billion-dollar projects; but we’re still knowledge workers. We’re still individuals who have to be competent at what we do in order to deliver a safe result for people.

And third, I liked the idea, the image of the cottage industry, the artisan working at home as I am now, and delivering goods and services that other people can use wherever they are. And indeed, you might be home or you might be on your mobile phone listening to this.

So I liked all three of those things. I thought, yes, that’s what I’m about. That’s what I believe in and want to do. And if that sounds good to you, too, then please check out The Safety Artisan, where I provide #safety #engineering #training.

Learn more about me here.

Categories
Behind the Scenes

Welcome to the New Website!

Welcome to the New Website! It has been professionally redesigned to provide a much better user experience by the awesome Sam Jusaitis. My thanks to him for doing such a great job.

The Main Pages

You can now browse through the main pages, which give you all the content that you might need, in the order that you choose it:

  • Topics. This page showcases the main safety topics that I cover, so far they are:
    • Start Here. Mostly free introductory videos for those new to safety;
    • Safety Analysis. A complete and in-depth suite of lessons on this subject; and
    • Work Health & Safety. All you need to know about Australian WHS legislation and practice.
  • About. Some information about The Safety Artisan – why you would choose safety tuition from me.
  • Connect. Here, you can sign up for free email newsletters, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on social media.
  • Frequently Asked Questions. The most commonly Googled questions are here, with links to posts and videos that answer them.
  • Checkout. You’ll get there if you purchase any of the downloadable videos and content – but there’s plenty of free stuff too!

Welcome to the New Website Logo

Sam also designed the new logo, which reminds some people of the human eye. It was actually derived from the shapes of various warning signs, as shown below. Clever, eh?

Categories
Mil-Std-882E Safety Analysis

System of Systems Hazard Analysis

In this full-length (38-minute) session, The Safety Artisan looks at System of Systems Hazard Analysis, or SoSHA, which is Task 209 in Mil-Std-882E. SoSHA analyses collections of systems, which are often put together to create a new capability, which is enabled by human brokering between the different systems. We explore the aim, description, and contracting requirements of this Task, and an extended example to illustrate SoSHA. (We refer to other lessons for special techniques for Human Factors analysis.)

This is the seven-minute demo version of the full 38-minute video.

System of Systems Hazard Analysis: Topics

  • System of Systems (SoS) HA Purpose;
  • Task Description (2 slides);
  • Documentation (2 slides);
  • Contracting (2 slides);
  • Example (7 slides); and
  • Summary.

Transcript: System of Systems Hazard Analysis

Click here for the Transcript

Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to the Safety Artisan. I’m Simon and today we’re going to be talking about System of Systems Hazard Analysis – a bit of a mouthful that. What does it actually mean? Well, we shall see.

System of Systems Hazard Analysis

So, for Systems of Systems Hazard Analysis, we’re using task 209 as the description of what to do taken from a military standard, 882E. But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing a military system or a civil system, whatever it might be – if you’ve got a system of systems, then this will help you to do it.

Topics for this Session

Looking at what we’ve got coming up.

So, we look at the purpose of system of systems – and by the way, if you’re wondering what that is what I’m talking about is when we take different things that we’ve developed elsewhere, e.g. platforms, electronic systems, whatever it might be, and we put them together. Usually, with humans gluing the system together somewhere, it must be said, to make it all tick and fit together. Then we want this collection of systems to do something new, to give us some new capability, that we didn’t have before. So, that’s what I’m talking about when I say a system of systems. I’ll show you an example – it’s the best way. So, we’ve got a couple of slides on task description, a couple of slides or documentation, and a couple of slides on contracting. Tasks 209 is a very short task, and therefore I’ve decided to go through an example.

So, we’ve got seven slides of an example of a system of systems, safety case, and safety case report that I wrote. And hopefully, that will illustrate far better than just reading out the description. And that will also give us some issues that can emerge with systems of systems and I’ll summarize those at the end.

SOSHA Purpose

So, let’s get on. I’m going to call it the SOSHA for short; Systems of Systems Hazard Analysis. The purpose of the SOSHA, task 209, is to document or perform and document the analysis of the system of systems and identify unique system of systems hazards. So, things we don’t get from each system in isolation. This task is going to produce special requirements to deal with these hazards, which otherwise would not exist. Because until we put the things together and start using them for something new – We’ve not done this before.

Task Description (T209) #1

Task description: As in all of these tasks, the contractor shall perform and document an analysis of the system of systems to identify hazards and mitigation requirements. A big part of this, as I said earlier, we tend to use people to glue these collections, these portfolios, of systems together and humans are fantastic at doing that. Not always the ideal way of doing it, but sometimes it’s the only way of doing it within the constraints that we’ve got. The human is very important. The human will receive inputs from one or more systems and initiate outputs within the analysis and in fact within the real world, to be honest, which is what we’re trying to analyse. That’s probably a better way of looking at it.

And we’ve got to provide traceability of all those hazards to – it says – architecture locations, interfaces, data and stakeholders associated with the hazard. This is particularly important because with a system of systems each system tends to come with its own set of stakeholders, its own physical location, its own interfaces, etc, etc. The issue of managing all of those extraneous things and getting the traceability, it goes up. It is multiplied with every system you’ve got. In fact, I would say it was the square of. The example we’ll see: we’ve got three systems being put together in a system of systems and, in effect, we had nine times the amount of work in that area, I would say. I think that’s a reasonable approximation.

Task Description (T209) #2

Part two of the task description: The contractor will assess the risk of each hazard and recommend mitigation measures to eliminate the hazards. Or, very often, we can’t eliminate the hazards to reduce the associated risks. Then, as always with this standard, it says we’re going to use tables one, two and three, which are the severity, probability and the risk matrix that comes with the standard. Unless, of course, we have created or tailored our own matrix. Which we very often should do but it isn’t often done – I’ll have to do a session on how to do tailoring a matrix.

Then the contractor has got to verify and validate the effectiveness of those recommended mitigation measures. Now, that’s a really good point and I often see that missed. People come up with control measures or mitigation measures but don’t always assess how effective they’re going to be. Sometimes you can’t so we just have to be conservative but it’s not always done as well as it could be.

Documentation (T209) #1

So, let’s move on. Documentation: So, whoever does the analysis- the standard assumes it’s a contractor – shall document the results to include: you’ve got to describe the system of systems, the physical and functional characteristics of the system of systems, which is very important. Capturing these things is not a given. It’s not easy when you’ve got one system, but when you’ve got multiple systems, some of which are being misused to do something they’ve never done before, perhaps, then you’ve got to take extra care.

Then basically it says when you get more detail of the individual systems you need to supply that when it becomes available. Again, that’s important. And not only if the contractor supplies it, who’s going to check it? Who’s going to verify it? Etc., etc.

Documentation (T209) #2

Slide two on documentation: We’ve got to describe the hazard analysis methods and techniques used, providing a description of each method and technique used, and the assumptions and the data used in support. This is important because I’ve seen lots of times where you get a hazard analysis’ results and you only get the results. It’s impossible to verify those results or validate them to say whether they’ve been done in the correct context. And it’s impossible to say whether the results are complete or whether they’re up to date or even whether they were analysing the correct system because often systems come in different versions. So, how do you know that the version being analysed was the version you’re actually going to use? Without that description, you don’t know. So, it’s important to contract for these things.

And then hazard analysis results. What contents and formats do you want? It’s important to say. Also, we’re going to be looking to put the key items, the leading particular’s, from the results. The top-level results are going to go into the hazard tracking system which is more commonly known as a hazard log or a risk register, whatever it might be. Might be an Excel spreadsheet, might be a very fancy database, but whatever it’s going to be you’re going to have to standardize your fields of what things mean. Otherwise, you’re going to have – the data is going to be a mess and a poor quality and not very usable. So, again, you’ve got a contract for these things upfront and make sure you make clear definitions and say what you want.

Contracting #1

Contracting; implicitly, we’ve been talking about contracting already, but this is what a standard says. So, the request for proposal or statement of work has got to include the following. Typically we have an RFP before we’ve got a contract, so we need to have worked out what we need really early in the program or project, which isn’t always done very well. To work out what you need the customer, the purchaser, has probably got to do some analysis of their own in order to work all this stuff out. And I know I say this every time with these tasks, but it is so important. You can’t just dump everything on the contractor and expect them to produce good results because often the contractor is hamstrung. If you haven’t done your homework to help them do their work, then you’re going to get poor results and it’s not their fault.

So, we’ve got to impose the requirement for the task if we want it or need it. We’ve got to identify the functional disciplines. So, which specialists are going to do this work? Because very often the safety team are generalists. They do not have specialist technical knowledge in some of these areas. Or maybe they are not human factor specialists. We need somebody in, some human factor specialists, some user representatives, people who understand how the system will be used in real life and what the real-world constraints are. We need those stakeholders involved – That’s very important. We’ve got to identify those architectures and systems which make up the SOS -very important. The concept of operations. SOS is very much about giving capability. So, it’s all about what are you going to do with the whole thing when you put it together? How’s all that going to work?

Contracting #2

Interesting one, E, which is unique, I think, to task 209, what are the locations of the different systems and how far apart are they? We might be dealing with systems where the distance between them is so great that transmission time becomes an issue for energy or communications. Let’s say you’re bouncing a signal from an aircraft or a drone around the world via a couple of satellites back to home base. There could be a significant lag in communications. So, we need to understand all of these things because they might give rise to hazards or reduce the effectiveness of controls.

Part F; what analysis, methods, techniques do you want to use? And any special data to be used? Again, with these collections of systems that becomes more difficult to specify and more important. And then do we have any specific hazard management requirements? For example, are we using standard definitions and risk matrix from a standard or have we got our own? That all needs to be communicated.

Example #1

So, that is the totality of the task. As you can see, there’s not much to Task 209, so I thought it would be much more helpful to use an example, an illustration, and as they used to say in children’s TV, “Here’s one I made earlier” because a few years ago I had to produce a safety case report. I was the safety case report writer, and there was a small team of us generating the evidence, doing the analysis for the safety case itself.

What we were asked to do is to assure the safety of a system and – in fact, it was two systems but I just treat it as one – of a system for guiding aircraft onto ships in bad weather. So, all of these things existed beforehand. The aircraft were already in service. The ships were already in service. Some of the systems were already in service, but we were putting them together in a new combination. So, we had to take into account human factors. That was very important. We’ll see why in just a moment.

The operating environment, which was quite demanding. So, the whole point is to get the aircraft safely back to the ships in bad weather. They could do it in good weather you could do it visually, but in bad weather, visual wasn’t going to cut it. So, the operating environment- we were being asked to operate in a much more difficult environment. So, that changed everything and drove everything.

We’ve got to consider operating procedures because, as we’re about to see, people are gluing the systems together. So, how do they make it work? And also got to think about maintenance and management. Although in actual fact, we didn’t really consider maintenance and management that much. As an ex-maintainer, this annoys me, but the truth is people are much more focused on getting their capability and service. Often, they think about support as an afterthought. We’ll talk about that one day.

Example #2

Here’s a little demonstration of our system of systems. Bottom right-hand corner, we’ve got the ship with lots of people on the ship. So, if the aircraft crashes into it that could be bad news, not just for the people in the aircraft, but for the people on the ship – big risks there!

We’ve got our radar mounted on the ship so the ship is supplying the radar with power and control and data, telling it where to point for example. Also, the ship might be inadvertently interfering with the radar. There are lots of other electronic systems on the ship. There are bits of the ship getting in the way of the radar, depending on where you’ve put it, and so on and so forth. So, the ship interacts with the radar, the radar interacts with the ship, radars producing radiation. Could that be doing anything to the ship systems?

And then the radar is being operated. Now, I think that symbol is meant to indicate a DJ, but we’ve got the DJ wearing headphones and we got a disk there but it looks like a radar scope to me. So, I’ve just hijacked that. That’s the radar operator who is going to talk to the pilot and give the pilot verbal commands to guide them safely back to the ship. So, that’s how the system works.

In an ideal world, the ship would use the radar and then talk electronically direct to the aircraft and guide it – maybe automatically? That would be a much more sensible setup. In fact, that’s often the way it’s done. But in this particular case, we had to produce a bit of a – I hesitate to call it a lash-up because it was a multi-million-dollar project, but it was a bit of a lash-up.

So, there is the human factors. We’ve got a radar operator doing quite a difficult job and a pilot doing a very difficult job trying to guide their aircraft back onto the ship in bad weather. How are they going to interact and perform? And then lastly, as I alluded to earlier, the aircraft and the ship do actually interact in a limited way. But of course, it’s a physical interaction, so you can actually hurt people and of course, if we get it wrong, the aircraft interacts with the surface of the ocean, which is very bad indeed for the aircraft. So, we’ve got to be careful there. So, there’s a little illustration of our system of systems.

Example #3

And – this is the top-level argument that we came up with – it’s in goal structuring notation. But don’t worry too much about that – We’ll have a session on how to do GSN another time.

So, our top goal, or claim if you like, is that our system of systems is adequately safe for the aircraft to locate and approach the ship. So, that’s a very basic, very simple statement, but of course, the devil is in the detail and all of that detail we call the context. So, surrounding that top goal or claim, we’ve got descriptions of the system, of the aircraft and the ship. We got a definition of what we mean by adequately safe and we’ve got safety targets and reporting requirements.

So, what supports the top goal? We’ve got a strategy and after a lot of consultation and designing the safety argument, we came up with a strategy where we said, “We are going to show that all elements of the system of systems are safe and all the interactions are safe”. To do that, we had to come up with a scope and some assumptions to underpin that as well to simplify things. Again, they sit in the context, we just keep the essence of the argument down the middle.

And then underneath, we’ve got four subgoals. We aim to show that each system equipment is safe to operate, so it’s ready to be operated safely. Then each one is safe in operation so it can be operated safely with real people, etc. And then we’ve got all system safety requirements are satisfied for the whole collection of stuff and then finally that all interactions are safe. So, if we can argue all four of those, we should have covered everything. Now, I suspect if I did this again today, I might do it slightly differently. Maybe a little bit more elegantly, but that’s not the point. The point is, we came up with this and it worked.

Example #4

So, I’m going to unpack each one very briefly, just to illustrate some points. First of all, each component system is safe to operate. Each of these systems, bar one, had all been purchased already, sometimes a long time ago. They all came with their own safety targets, their own risk matrices, etc, etc. So, we had to make sure that when an individual system said, “This is what we’ve got to achieve” that that was good enough for the overall system of systems. So, we had to make sure that each system met its own safety requirements and targets and that they were valid in context.

Now, you would think that double-checking existing systems would be a foregone conclusion. In reality, we discovered that the ship’s communication system and its combat data system were not as robust as assumed. We discovered some practical issues were reported by stakeholders and we also discovered some flaws in previous analysis that had been accepted a long time ago. Now, in the end, those problems didn’t change the price of fish, as we say. It didn’t make a difference to the overall system of systems.

The frailty of the ship’s comms got sorted out and we discovered it didn’t actually matter about the combat system. So, we just assumed that the data coming out of the combat system was garbage and it didn’t make any difference. However, we did upset a few stakeholders along the way. So beware, people don’t like discovering that a system that they thought was “tickety-boo” was not as good as they thought.

Example #5

The second goal was to show that the system of systems is safe in operation. So, we looked at the actual performance. We looked at test results of the radar and then also we were very fortunate that trials of the radar on the ship with aircraft were carried out and we were able to look at those trials reports. And once again, it emerged that the system in the real world wasn’t operating quite as intended, or quite as people had assumed that it would. It wasn’t performing as well. So, that was an issue. I can’t say any more about that but these things happen.

Also, a big part of the project was we included the human element. So, as I’ve said before, we had pilots and we had radar air traffic talk-down operators. So, we brought in some human factors specialists. They captured the procedures and tasks that the pilots and the radar operators had to perform. They captured them with what’s called a Hierarchical Task Analysis, they did some analysis of the tasks and what could go wrong. Then they created a model of what the humans were doing and ran it through a simulation several thousand times. So in that way, they did some performance modelling.

Now, they couldn’t give us an absolute figure on workload or anything like that but what they could do – fortunately, our new system was replacing an older system which was even more informally cobbled together than the one that we were we were bringing in. And so, the Human Factor specialists were able to compare human performance in the old system vs. human performance with the new system. Very fortunately, we were pleased to find out that the predicted performance was far better with the new system. The new system was much easier to operate for both the pilots and the talk-down radar operators. So, that was terrific.

Example #6

So, the third one; All system of systems safety requirements are satisfied. Now, this is a bit more nebulous, this goal, but what it really came down to was when you put things together, very often you get what’s called emergent behaviour. As in things start to happen that you didn’t expect or you didn’t predict based on the individual pieces. It’s the saying, two plus two equals five. You get more out of a system – you get synergy for good or ill out when you start putting different things together.

So, does the whole thing actually work? And broadly speaking, the answer was yes, it works very well. There were some issues, a good example the old radar that they used to use to talk the planes down was a search radar so the operator could see other traffic apart from the plane they were they were guiding in. Now, the operator being able to see other things is both good and bad because on the one hand gives them improved situational awareness so they can warn off traffic if it’s a collision situation develops. But also, it’s bad because it’s a distraction for the operator. So, it could have gone either way.

So, the new radar was specialized. It focused only on the aircraft being talked down. So, the operator was blind to other traffic. So that was great in terms of decreasing operator workload and ultimately pilot workload as well. But would this increase the collision risk with other traffic? And I’ll talk about that in the summary briefly.

Example #7

And then our final goal is to show that all interactions are safe between the guidance system, the aircraft and the ship. This was a non-trivial exercise because ships have large numbers of electronic systems and there’s a very involved process to go through to check that a new piece of kit doesn’t interfere with anything else or vice versa.

And also, of course, does the new electronic system/the new radar does the radiation effect ship? Because you’ve got weapons on the ship and some of those explosive devices that the weapons uses are electrically initiated. So, could the radiation set off an explosion? So, all of those things had to be checked. And that’s a very specialized area.

And then we’ve got, does the system interfere with the aircraft and the aircraft with the system? What about the integration of the ship and the aircraft and the aircraft to the ship? Yet another specialized area where there’s a particular way of doing things. And of course, the aircraft people want to protect the aircraft and the ship people want to protect the ship. So, getting those two to marry up is also another one of those non-trivial exercises I keep referring to but it all worked out in the end.

Summary

Points to note: When we’re doing system of systems – I’ve got five points here, you can probably work some more points out from what I’ve said for yourself – but we’re putting together disparate systems. They’re different systems. They’ve been procured by different organizations, possibly, to do different things. The stakeholders who bought them and care about them have got different aims and objectives. They’ve got different agendas to each other. So, getting everyone to play nicely in the zoo can be challenging. And even with somebody pulling it all together at the top to say “This has got to work. Get with the program, folks!” there’s still some friction.

Particularly, you end up with large numbers of stakeholders. For example, we would have regular safety meetings, but I don’t think we ever had two meetings in a row with exactly the same attendees because with a large group of people, people are always changing over and things move up. And that can be a challenge in itself. We need to include the human in the loop in systems of systems because typically that’s how we get them all to play together. We rely on human beings to do a lot of translation work and in effect. So, how do the systems cope?

A classic mistake really with systems design is to design a difficult-to-operate system and then just expect the operator to cope. That can be from things as seemingly trivial as amusement park rides – I did a lesson on learning lessons from an amusement park ride accident only a month or two ago and even there it was a very complex system for two operators, neither of whom had total authority over the system or to be honest, really had the full picture of what was going on. As a result, there were several dead bodies. So, how did the operators cope, and have we done enough to support them? That’s a big issue with a system of systems.

Thirdly, this is always true with safety analysis, but especially so with system of systems. The real-world performance is important. You can do all the analysis in the world making certain assumptions and the analysis can look fine, but in the real world, it’s not so simple. We have to do analysis that assumes the kit works as advertised because you’ve got nothing else to go on until you get the test results and you don’t get them until towards the end of the program. So, you’re going down a path, assuming that things work, that they do what they say on the tin, and perhaps you then discover they don’t do what they say on the tin. Or they don’t do everything they say on a tin. Or they do what they say and they do some other things that you weren’t expecting as well and then you’ve got to deal with those issues.

And then fourthly, somewhat related to what I’ve just talked about, but you put systems together in an informal way, perhaps, and then you discover how they actually get on – what really happens. In reality, once you get above a certain level of complexity, you’re not really going to discover all the emergent behaviours and consequences until you get things into service and it’s clocked up a bit of time in service under different conditions in the real world. In fact, that was the case with this and I think with a system of systems, you’ve just got to assume that it’s sufficiently complex that that is the case.

Now, that’s not an unsolvable problem but, of course, how do you contract for that? Where you’ve got your contractors wanting you to accept their kit and pay them at a certain date or a certain point in the program, but you’re not going to find out whether it all truly works until it’s got into service and been in service for a while. So, how do you incentivize the contractor to do a good job or indeed to correct defects in a timely manner? That’s quite a challenge for system systems and it’s something that needs thinking about upfront.

And then finally, I’ve said, remember the bigger picture. It’s very easy when you’re doing analysis and you’ve made certain assumptions and you set the scope, it’s very easy to get fixated on that scope and on those assumptions and forget the real world is out there and is unpredictable. We had lots of examples of that on this program. We had the ship’s comms that didn’t always work properly, we couldn’t rely on the combat system, the radar in the real world didn’t operate as well as it said in the spec, etc, etc. There were lots of these things.

And, one example I mentioned was that with the new radar, the radar operator does not see any traffic other than the aircraft that is being guided in. So, there’s a loss of situational awareness there and there’s a risk, maybe an increased risk, of collision with other traffic. And that actually led to a disagreement in our team because some people who had got quite fixated on the analysis and didn’t like the suggestion that maybe they’d missed something. Although it was never put in those terms, that’s the way they took it. So, we need to be careful of egos. We might think we’ve done a fantastic analysis and we’ve produced hundreds of pages of data and fault trees or whatever it might be but that doesn’t mean that our analysis has captured everything or that it’s completely captured what goes on in the real world because that’s very difficult to do with such a complex system of systems.

So, we need to be aware of the bigger picture, even if it’s only just qualitatively. Somebody, a little voice, piping up somewhere saying, “What about this? And we thought about that? I know we’re ignoring this because we’ve been told to but is that the right thing to do?” And sometimes it’s good to be reminded of those things and we need to remember the big picture.

Copyright Statement

Anyway, I’ve talked for long enough. It just remains for me to point out that all the text in quotations, in italics, is from the military standard, which is copyright free but this presentation is copyright of the Safety Artisan. As I’m recording this, it’s the 5th of September 2020.

For More …

And so if you want more, please do subscribe to the Safety Artisan channel on YouTube and you can see the link there, but just search for Safety Artisan in YouTube and you’ll find us. So, subscribe there to get free video lessons and also free previews of paid content. And then for all lessons, both paid and free, and other resources on safety topics please visit the Safety Artisan at www.safetyartisan.com/  where I hope you’ll find much more good stuff that you find helpful and enjoyable.

End: System of Systems Hazard Analysis

So, that is the end of the presentation and it just remains for me to say thanks very much for watching and listening. It’s been good to spend some time with you and I look forward to talking to you next time about environmental analysis, which is Task 210 in the military standard. That’ll be next month, but until then, goodbye.

Categories
Start Here Work Health and Safety

Introduction to WHS Codes of Practice

In the 30-minute session, we introduce Australian WHS Codes of Practice (CoP). We cover: What they are and how to use them; their Limitations; we List (Federal) codes; provide Further commentary; and Where to get more information. This session is a useful prerequisite to all the other sessions on CoP.

Codes of Practice: Topics

  • What they are and how to use them;
  • Limitations;
  • List of CoP (Federal);
  • Further commentary; and
  • Where to get more information.

Codes of Practice: Transcript

Click Here for the Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Safety Artisan, where you will find professional, pragmatic, and impartial teaching and resources on all thing’s safety. I’m Simon and today is the 16th of August 2020. Welcome to the show.

Introduction

So, today we’re going to be talking about Codes of Practice. In fact, we’re going to be introducing Codes of Practice and the whole concept of what they are and what they do.

Topics for this Session

What we’re going to cover is what Codes of Practice are and how to use them – several slides on that; a brief word on their limitations; a list of federal codes of practice – and I’ll explain why I’m emphasizing it’s the list of federal ones; some further commentary and where to get more information. So, all useful stuff I hope.

CoP are Guidance

So, Codes of Practice come in the work, health and safety hierarchy below the act and regulations. So, at the top you’ve got the WHS Act, then you’ve got the WTS regulations, which the act calls up. And then you’ve got the Codes of Practice, which also the act calls up. We’ll see that in a moment. And what Codes of Practice do are they provide practical guidance on how to achieve the standards of work, health and safety required under the WHS act and regulations, and some effective ways to identify and manage risks. So, they’re guidance but as we’ll see in a moment, they’re much more than guidance. So, as I said, the Codes of Practice are called up by the act and they’re approved and signed off by the relevant minister. So, they are a legislative instrument.

Now, a quick footnote. These words, by the way, are in the introduction to every Code of Practice. There’s a little note here that says we’re required to consider all risks associated with work, not just for those risks that have associated codes of practice. So, we can’t hide behind that. We’ve got to think about everything. There are codes of practice for several things, but not everything. Not by a long way.

…Guidance We Should Follow

Now, there are three reasons why Codes of Practice are a bit more than just guidance. So, first of all, they are admissible in court proceedings. Secondly, they are evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk, risk assessment, risk control. And thirdly, courts may rely, or regulators may rely, on Codes of Practice to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code applies. So, what’s the significance of that?

So first of all, the issue about being admissible. If you’re unfortunate enough to go to court and be accused of failing under WHS law, then you will be able to appeal to a Code of Practice in your defence and say, “I complied with the Code of Practice”. They are admissible in court proceedings. However, beyond that, all bets are off. It’s the court that decides what is anadmissible defence, and that means lawyers decide, not engineers. Now, given that you’re in court and the incident has already happened a lot of the engineering stuff that we do about predicting the probability of things is no longer relevant. The accident has happened. Somebody has got hurt. All these probability arguments are dust in your in the wake of the accident. So, Codes of Practice are a reliable defence.

Secondly, the bit about evidence of what is known is significant, because when we’re talking about what is reasonably practicable, the definition of reasonably practicable in Section 18 of the WHS act talks about what it is reasonable or what should have been known when people were anticipating the risk and managing it. Now, given that Codes of Practice were published back in 2012, there’s no excuse for not having read them. So, they’re pre –existing, they’re clearly relevant, the law has said that they’re admissible in court. We should have read them, and we should have acted upon them. And there’ll be no wriggling out of that. So, if we haven’t done something that CoP guided us to do, we’re going to look very vulnerable in court.  Or in the whatever court of judgment we’re up against, whether it be public opinion or trial by media or whatever it is.

And thirdly, some CoP can be used to help determine what is SOFARP. So in some circumstances, if you’re dealing with a risk that’s described a CoP, CoP is applicable. Then if you followed everything in CoP, then you might be able to claim that just doing that means that you’ve managed the risk SFARP. Why is that important? Because the only way we are legally allowed to expose people to risk is if we have eliminated or minimized that risk so far as is reasonably practicable, SFARP. That is the key test, the acid test, of “Have we met our risk management obligations? “And CoP are useful, maybe crucial, in two different ways for determining what is SFARP. So yes, they’re guidance but it’s guidance that we ignore at our peril.

Standards & Good Practice

So, moving on. Codes of Practice recognize, and I reemphasize this is in the introduction to every code of practice, they’re not the only way of doing things. There isn’t a CoP for everything under the sun. So, codes recognize that you can achieve compliance with WHS obligations by using another method as long as it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work, health and safety than the code. It’s important to recognize that Codes of Practice are basic. They apply to every business and undertaking in Australia potentially. So, if you’re doing something more sophisticated, then probably CoP on their own are not enough. They’re not good enough.

And in my day job as a consultant, that’s the kind of stuff we do. We do planes, trains and automobiles. We do ships and submarines. We do nuclear. We do infrastructure. We do all kinds of complex stuff for which there are standards and recognized good practice which go way beyond the requirements of basic Codes of Practice. And many I would say, probably most, technical and industry safety standards and practices are more demanding than Codes of Practice. So, if you’re following an industry or technical standard that says “Here’s a risk management process”, then it’s likely that that will be far more detailed than the requirements that are in Codes of Practice.

And just a little note to say that for those of us who love numbers and quantitative safety analysis, what this statement about equivalent or higher standards of health and safety is talking about  –We want requirements that are more demanding and more rigorous or more detailed than CoP. Not that the end –result in the predicted probability of something happening is better than what you would get with CoP because nobody knows what you would get with CoP. That calculation hasn’t been done. So, don’t go down the rabbit hole of thinking “I’ve got a quantitatively demonstrate that what we’re doing is better than CoP.” You haven’t. It’s all about demonstrating the input requirements are more demanding rather than the output because that’s never been done for CoP. So, you’ve got no benchmark to measure against in output terms.

The primacy of WHS & Regulations

A quick point to note that Codes of Practice, they are only guidance. They do refer to relevant WHS act and regulations, the hard obligations, and we should not be relying solely on codes in place of what it says in the WHS Act or the regulations. So, we need to remember that codes are not a substitute for the act or the regs. Rather they are a useful introduction. WHS ACT and regulations are actually surprisingly clear and easy to read. But even so, there are 600 regulations. There are hundreds of sections of the WHS act. It’s a big read and not all of it is going to be relevant to every business, by a long way. So, if you see a CoP that clearly applies to something that you’re doing, start with the cop. It will lead you into the relevant parts of WHS act and regulations. If you don’t know them, have a read around in there around the stuff that – you’ve been given the pointer in the CoP, follow it up.

But also, CoP do represent a minimum level of knowledge that you should have. Again, start with CoP, don’t stop with them. So, go on a bit. Look at the authoritative information in the act and the regs and then see if there’s anything else that you need to do or need to consider. The CoP will get you started.

And then finally, it’s a reference for determining SOFARP. You won’t see anything other than the definition of reasonably practicable in the Act. You won’t see any practical guidance in the Act or the regulations on how to achieve SOFARP. Whereas CoP does give you a narrative that you can follow and understand and maybe even paraphrase if you need to in some safety documentation. So, they are useful for that. There’s also guidance on reasonably practicable, but we’ll come to that at the end.

Detailed Requirements

It’s worth mentioning that there are some detailed requirements in codes. Now, when I did this, I think I was looking at the risk management Code of Practice, which will go through later in another session. But in this example, there are this many requirements. So, every CoP has the statement “The words ‘must’, ‘requires’, or ‘mandatory’ indicate a legal requirement exists that must be complied with.” So, if you see ‘must’, ‘requires’, or ‘mandatory’, you’ve got to do it. And in this example CoP that I was looking at, there are 35 ‘must’s, 39 ‘required’ or ‘requirement’ – that kind of wording – and three instances of ‘mandatory’. Now, bearing in mind the sentence that introduces those things contains two instances of ‘must’ and one of ‘requires’ and one of ‘mandatory’. So, straight away you can ignore those four instances. But clearly, there are lots of instances here of ‘must’ and ‘require’ and a couple of ‘mandatory’.

Then we’ve got the word ‘should’ is used in this code to indicate a recommended course of action, while ‘may’ is used to indicate an optional course of action. So, the way I would suggest interpreting that and this is just my personal opinion – I have never seen any good guidance on this. If it says ‘recommended’, then personally I would do it unless I can justify there’s a good reason for not doing it. And if it said ‘optional’, then I would consider it. But I might discard it if I felt it wasn’t helpful or I felt there was a better way to do it. So, that would be my personal interpretation of how to approach those words. So, ‘recommended’ – do it unless you can justify not doing it. ‘Optional’ – Consider it, but you don’t have to do it.

And in this particular one, we’ve got 43 instances of ‘should’ and 82 of ‘may’. So, there’s a lot of detailed information in each CoP in order to consider. So, read them carefully and comply with them where you have to work and that will repay you. So, a positive way to look at it, CoP are there to help you. They’re there to make life easy for you. Read them, follow them. The negative way to look at them is, ”I don’t need to do all this says in CoP because it’s only guidance”. You can have that attitude if you want. If you’re in the dock or in the witness box in court, that’s not going to be a good look. Let’s move on.

Limitations of CoP

So, I’ve talked CoP up quite a lot; as you can tell, I’m a fan because I like anything that helps us do the job, but they do have limitations. I’ve said before that there’s a limited number of them and they’re pretty basic. First of all, it’s worth noting that there are two really generic Codes of Practice. First of all, there’s the one on risk management. And then secondly, there’s the one on communication, consultation and cooperation. And I’ll be doing sessions on both of those. Now, those apply to pretty much everything we do in the safety world. So, it’s essential that you read them no matter what you’re doing and comply with them where you have to.

Then there are other codes of practice that apply to specific activities or hazards, and some of them are very, very specific, like getting rid of asbestos, or welding, or spray painting – or whatever it might be – shock blasting. Those have clearly got a very narrow focus. So, you will know if you’re doing that stuff. So, if you are doing welding and clearly you need to read the welding CoP. If welding isn’t part of your business or undertaking, you can forget it.

However, overall, there are less than 25 Codes of Practice. I can’t be more precise for reasons that we will come to in a moment. So, there’s a relatively small number of CoP and they don’t cover complex things. They’re not going to help you design a super –duper widget or some software or anything like that. It’s not going to help you do anything complicated. Also, Codes of Practice tend to focus on the workplace, which is understandable. They’re not much help when it comes to design trade –offs. They’re great for the sort of foundational stuff. Yes, we have to do all of this stuff regardless. When you get to questions of, “How much is enough?” Sometimes in safety, we say, “How much margin do I need?” “How many layers of protection do I need?” “Have I done enough?” CoP aren’t going to be a lot of use helping you with that kind of determination but you do need to have made sure you’ve done everything CoP first and then start thinking about those trade –offs, would be my advice. You’re less likely to go wrong that way. So, start with your firm basis of what you have to do to comply and then think “What else could I do?”

List of CoP (Federal) #1

Now for information, you’ve got three slides here where we’ve got a list of the Codes of Practice that apply at the federal or Commonwealth level of government in Australia. So, at the top highlighted I’ve already mentioned the ‘how’ to manage WHS risks and the consultation, cooperation, and coordination codes. Then we get into stuff like abrasive, blasting, confined spaces, construction and demolition and excavation, first aid. So, quite a range of stuff, covered.

List of CoP (Federal) #2

Hazardous manual tasks – so basically human beings carrying and moving stuff. Managing and controlling asbestos, and removing it. Then we’ve got a couple on hazardous chemicals on this page, electrical risks, managing noise, preventing hearing loss, and stevedoring. There you go. So, if you’re into stevedoring, then this CoP is for you. The highlighted ones we’re going to cover in later sessions.

List of CoP (Federal) #3

Then we’ve got managing risk of Plant in the workplace. There was going to be a Code of Practice for the design of Plant, but that never saw the light of day so we’ve only got guidance on that. We’ve got falls, environment, work environment, and facilities. We’ve got another one on safety data sheets for another one on hazardous chemicals, preventing falls in housing – I guess because that’s very common accident – safe design of structures, spray painting and powder coating, and welding processes. So, those are the list of – I think it’s 24 – Codes of Practice are applied by Comcare, the federal regulator.

Commentary #1

Now, I’m being explicit about which regulator and which set of CoP, because they vary around Australia. Basically, the background was the model Codes of Practice were developed by Safe Work Australia, which is a national body. But those model Codes of Practice do not apply. Safe Work Australia is not a regulator. Codes of Practice are implemented or enforced by the federal government and by most states and territories. And it says with variations for a reason. Not all states and territories impose all codes of practice. For example, I live in South Australia and if you go and look at the WorkSafe South Australia website or Safe Work – whatever it’s called – you will see that there’s a couple of CoP that for some reason we don’t enforce in South Australia. Why? I do not know. But you do need to think about these things depending on where you’re operating.

It’s also worth saying that WHS is not implemented in every state in Australia. Western Australia currently have plans to implement WHS, but as of 2020 but I don’t believe they’ve done so yet. Hopefully, it’s coming soon. And Victoria, for some unknown reason, have decided they’re just not going to play ball with everybody else. They’ve got no plans to implement WHS that I can find online. They’re still using their old OHS legislation. It’s not a universal picture in Australia, thanks to our rather silly version of government that we have here in Australia – forget I said that. So, if it’s a Commonwealth workplace and we apply the federal version of WHS and Codes of Practice. Otherwise, we use state or territory versions and you need to see the local regulator’s Web page to find out what is applied where. And the definition of a Commonwealth workplace is in the WHS Act, but also go and have a look at the Comcare website to see who Comcare police. Because there are some nationalised industries that count as a Commonwealth workplace and it can get a bit messy.

So, sometimes you may have to ask for advice from the regulator but go and see what they say. Don’t rely on what consultants say or what you’ve heard on the grapevine. Go and see what the regulator actually says and make sure it’s the right regulator for where you’re operating.

Commentary #2

What’s to come? I’m going to do a session on the Risk Management Code of Practice, and I’m also, associated with that, going to do a session on the guidance on what is reasonably practicable. Now that’s guidance, it’s not a Code of Practice. But again, it’s been published so we need to be aware of it and it’s also very simple and very helpful. I would strongly recommend looking at that guidance if you’re struggling with SFARP for what it means, it’s very good. I’ll be talking about that soon. Also, I’m going to do a session on tolerability of risk, because you remember when I said “CoP aren’t much good for helping you do trade–offs in design” and that kind of thing. They’re really only good for simple stuff and compliance. Well, what you need to understand to deal with the more sophisticated problems is the concept of tolerability of risk. That’ll help us do those things. So, I’m going to do a session on that.

I’m also going to do a session on consultation, cooperation, and coordination, because, as I said before, that’s universally applicable. If we’re doing anything at a workplace, or with stuff that’s going to a workplace, that we need to be aware of what’s in that code. And then I’m also going to do sessions on plant, structures and substances (or hazardous chemicals) because those are the absolute bread and butter of the WHS Act. If you look at the duties of designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, and installers, et cetera, you will find requirements on plant, substances and structures all the way through those clauses in the WHS Act. Those three things are key so we’re going to be talking about that.

Now, I mentioned before that there was going to be a Code of Practice on plant design, but it never made it. It’s just guidance. So, we’ll have a look at that if we can as well – Copyright permitting. And then I want to look at electrical risks because I think the electrical risks code is very useful. Both for electrical risks, but it’s also a useful teaching vehicle for designers and manufacturers to understand their obligations, especially if you operate abroad and you want to know, or if you’re importing stuff “Well, how do I know that my kit can be safely used in Australia?” So, if you can’t do the things that the electrical risk CoP requires in the workplace if your piece of kit won’t support that, then it’s going to be difficult for your customers to comply. So, probably there’s a hint there that if you want to sell your stuff successfully, here’s what you need to be aware of. And then that applies not just to electrical, I think it’s a good vehicle for understanding how CoP can help us with our upstream obligations, even though CoP applies to a workplace. That session will really be about the imaginative use of Code of Practice in order to help designers and manufacturers, etc.

And then I want to also talk about noise Code of Practice, because noise brings in the concept of exposure standards. Now, generally, Codes of Practice don’t quote many standards. They’re certainly not mandatory, but noise is one of those areas where you have to have standards to say, “this is how we’re going to measure the noise”. This is the exposure standard. So, you’re not allowed to expose people to more than this. That brings in some very important concepts about health monitoring and exposure to certain things. Again, it’ll be useful if you’re managing noise but I think that session will be useful to anybody who wants to understand how exposure standards work and the requirements for monitoring exposure of workers to certain things. Not just noise, but chemicals as well. We will be covering a lot of that in the session(s) on HAZCHEM.

Copyright & Attribution

I just want to mention that everything in quotes/in italics is downloaded from the Federal Register of Legislation, and I’ve gone to the federal legislation because I’m allowed to reproduce it under the license, under which it’s published. So, the middle paragraph there – I’m required to point that out that I sourced it from the Federal Register of legislation, the website on that date. And for the latest information, you should always go to the website to double–check that the version that you’re looking at is still in force and is still relevant. And then for more information on the terms of the license, you can go and see my page at the www.SafetyArtisan.com because I go through everything that’s required and you can check for yourself in detail.

For More…

Also, on the website, there’s a lot more lessons and resources, some of them free, some of them you have to pay to access, but they’re all there at www.safetyartisan.com. Also, there’s the Safety Artisan page at www.patreon.com/SafetyArtisan where you will see the paid videos. And also, I’ve got a channel on YouTube where the free videos are all there. So, please go to the Safety Artisan channel on YouTube and subscribe and you will automatically get a notification when a new free video pops up.

End

And that brings me to the end of the presentation, so thanks very much for listening. I’m just going to stop sharing that now. It just remains for me to say thank you very much for tuning in and I look forward to sharing some more useful information on Codes of Practice with you in the next session in about a month’s time. Cheers now, everybody. Goodbye.

There’s more!

You can find the Model WHS Codes of Practice here. Back to the Topics Page.

Categories
Human Factors System Safety

Introduction to Human Factors

In this 40-minute video, ‘Introduction to Human Factors’, I am very pleased to welcome Peter Benda to The Safety Artisan.

Peter is a colleague and Human Factors specialist, who has 23 years’ experience in applying Human Factors to large projects in all kinds of domains. In this session we look at some fundamentals: what does Human Factors engineering aim to achieve? Why do it? And what sort of tools and techniques are useful? As this is The Safety Artisan, we also discuss some real-world examples of how erroneous human actions can contribute to accidents, and how Human Factors discipline can help to prevent them.

Topics: Introduction to Human Factors

  • Introducing Peter;
  • The Joint Optimization Of Human-Machine Systems;
  • So why do it (HF)?
  • Introduction to Human Factors;
  • Definitions of Human Factors;
  • The Long Arm of Human Factors;
  • What is Human Factors Integration? and
  • More HF sessions to come…

Transcript: Introduction to Human Factors

Click Here for the Transcript

Transcript: Intro to Human Factors

Introduction

Simon:  Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Safety Artisan: Home of Safety Engineering Training. I’m Simon and I’m your host, as always. But today we are going to be joined by a guest, a Human Factors specialist, a colleague, and a friend of mine called Peter Benda. Now, Peter started as one of us, an ordinary engineer, but unusually, perhaps for an engineer, he decided he didn’t like engineering without people in it. He liked the social aspects and the human aspects and so he began to specialize in that area. And today, after twenty-three years in the business, and first degree and a master’s degree in engineering with a Human Factors speciality. He’s going to join us and share his expertise with us.

So that’s how you got into it then, Peter. For those of us who aren’t really familiar with Human Factors, how would you describe it to a beginner?

Peter:   Well, I would say it’s The Joint Optimization Of Human-Machine Systems. So it’s really focusing on designing systems, perhaps help holistically would be a term that could be used, where we’re looking at optimizing the human element as well as the machine element. And the interaction between the two. So that’s really the key to Human Factors. And, of course, there are many dimensions from there; environmental, organizational, job factors, human and individual characteristics. All of these influence behaviour at work and health and safety. Another way to think about it is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of systems. Systems are for human use, which I think most systems are.

Simon:  Indeed. Otherwise, why would humans build them?

Peter:   That’s right. Generally speaking, sure.

Simon:  So, given that this is a thing that people do then. Perhaps we’re not so good at including the human unless we think about it specifically?

Peter:   I think that’s fairly accurate. I would say that if you look across industries, and industries are perhaps better at integrating Human Factors, considerations or Human Factors into the design lifecycle, that they have had to do so because of the accidents that have occurred in the past. You could probably say this about safety engineering as well, right?

Simon:  And this is true, yes.

Peter:   In a sense, you do it because you have to because the implications of not doing it are quite significant. However, I would say the upshot, if you look at some of the evidence –and you see this also across software design and non-safety critical industries or systems –that taking into account human considerations early in the design process typically ends up in better system performance. You might have more usable systems, for example. Apple would be an example of a company that puts a lot of focus into human-computer interaction and optimizing the interface between humans and their technologies and ensuring that you can walk up and use it fairly easily. Now as time goes on, one can argue how out how well Apple is doing something like that, but they were certainly very well known for taking that approach.

Simon:  And reaped the benefits accordingly and became, I think, they were the world’s number one company for a while.

Peter:   That’s right. That’s right.

Simon:  So, thinking about the, “So why do it?” What is one of the benefits of doing Human Factors well?

Peter:   Multiple benefits, I would say. Clearly, safety and safety-critical systems, like health and safety; Performance, so system performance; Efficiency and so forth. Job satisfaction and that has repercussions that go back into, broadly speaking, that society. If you have meaningful work that has other repercussions and that’s sort of the angle I originally came into all of this from. But, you know, you could be looking at just the safety and efficiency aspects.

Simon:  You mentioned meaningful work: is that what attracted you to it?

Peter:   Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. Yes, like I said I had a keen interest in the sociology of work and looking at work organization. Then, for my master’s degree, I looked at lean production, which is the Toyota approach to producing vehicles. I looked at multiskilled teams and multiskilling and job satisfaction. Then looking at stress indicators and so forth versus mass production systems. So that’s really the angle I came into this. If you look at it, mass production lines where a person is doing the same job over and over, it’s quite repetitive and very narrow, versus the more Japanese style lean production. There are certainly repercussions, both socially and individually, from a psychological health perspective.

Simon:  So, you get happy workers and more contented workers-

Peter:   –And better quality, yeah.

Simon:  And again, you mentioned Toyota. Another giant company that’s presumably grown partly through applying these principles.

Peter:   Well, they’re famous for quality, aren’t they? Famous for reliable, high-quality cars that go on forever. I mean, when I moved from Canada to Australia, Toyota has a very, very strong history here with the Land Cruiser, and the high locks, and so forth.

Simon:  All very well-known brands here. Household names.

Peter:   Are known to be bombproof and can outlast any other vehicle. And the lean production system certainly has, I would say, quite a bit of responsibility for the production of these high-quality cars.

Simon:  So, we’ve spoken about how you got into it and “What is it?” and “Why do it?” I suppose, as we’ve said, what it is in very general terms but I suspect a lot of people listening will want to know to define what it is, what Human Factors is, based on doing it. On how you do it. It’s a long, long time since I did my Human Factors training. Just one module in my masters, so could you take me through what Human Factors involves these days in broad terms.

Peter:   Sure, I actually have a few slides that might be useful –  

Simon:  – Oh terrific! –

Peter:   –maybe I should present that. So, let me see how well I can share this. And of course, sometimes the problem is I’ll make sure that – maybe screen two is the best way to share it. Can you see that OK?

Simon:  Yeah, that’s great.

Introduction to Human Factors

Peter:   Intro to Human Factor. So, as Stewart Dickinson, who I work with at human risk solutions and I have prepared some material for some courses we taught to industry. I’ve some other material and I’ll just flip to some of the key slides going through “What is Human Factors”. So, let me try to get this working and I’ll just flip through quickly.

Definitions of Human Factors

Peter:   So, as I’ve mentioned already, broadly speaking, environmental, organizational, and job factors, and human individual characteristics which influence behaviour at work in a way that can which can affect health and safety. That’s a focus of Human Factors. Or the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environments for human use. You see a pattern here, fitting work to the worker. The term ergonomics is used interchangeably with Human Factors. It also depends on the country you learn this in or applied in.

Simon:  Yes. In the U.K., I would be used to using the term ergonomics to describe something much narrower than Human Factors but in Australia, we seem to use the two terms as though they are the same.

Peter:   It does vary. You can say physical ergonomics and I think that would typically represent when people think of ergonomics, they think of the workstation design. So, sitting at their desk, heights of tables or desks, and reach, and so on. And particularly given the COVID situation, there are so many people sitting at their desks are probably getting some repetitive strain –

Simon:  –As we are now in our COVID 19 [wo]man caves.

Peter:   That’s right! So that’s certainly an aspect of Human Factors work because that’s looking at the interaction between the human and the desk/workstation system, so to speak, on a very physical level.        

            But of course, you have cognitive ergonomics as well, which looks of perceptual and cognitive aspects of that work. So Human Factors or ergonomics, broadly speaking, would be looking at these multi-dimensional facets of human interaction with systems.

Definitions of Human Factors (2)

Peter:   Some other examples might be the application of knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to design, operation and maintenance of technological systems, and I’ve got a little distilled –or summarized- bit on the right here. The Human Factors apply scientific knowledge to the development and management of the interfaces between humans and rail systems. So, this is obviously in the rail context so you’re, broadly speaking, talking in terms of technological systems. That covers all of the people issues. We need to consider to assure safe and effective systems or organizations.

Again, this is very broad. Engineers often don’t like these broad topics or broad approaches. I’m an engineer, I learned this through engineering which is a bit different than how some people get into Human Factors.

Simon:  Yeah, I’ve met a lot of human factor specialists who come in from a first degree in psychology.

Peter:   That’s right. I’d say that’s fairly common, particularly in Australia and the UK. Although, I know that you could take it here in Australia in some of the engineering schools, but it’s fairly rare. There’s an aviation Human Factors program, I think, at Swinburne University. They used to teach it through mechanical engineering there as well. I did a bit of teaching into that and I’m not across all of the universities in Australia, but there are a few. I think the University of the Sunshine Coast has quite a significant group at the moment that’s come from, or, had some connection to Monash before that. Well, I think about, when I’m doing this work, of “What existing evidence do we have?” Or existing knowledge base with respect to the human interactions with the system. For example, working with a rail transport operator, they will already have a history of incidents or history of issues and we’d be looking to improve perhaps performance or reduce the risk associated with the use of certain systems. Really focusing on some of the evidence that exists either already in the organization or that’s out there in the public domain, through research papers and studies and accident analyses and so forth. I think much like safety engineering, there would be some or quite a few similarities in terms of the evidence base –

Simon:  – Indeed.

Peter:   – Or creating that evidence through analysis. So, using some analytical techniques, various Human Factors methods and that’s where Human Factors sort of comes into its own. It’s a suite of methods that are very different from what you would find in other disciplines.

Simon:  Sure, sure. So, can you give us an overview of these methods, Peter?

Peter:   There are trying to think of a slide for this. Hopefully, I do.

Simon:  Oh, sorry. Have I taken you out of sequence?

Peter:   No, no. Not out of sequence. Let me just flip through, and take a look at –

The Long Arm of Human Factors

Peter:   This is probably a good sort of overview of the span of Human Factors, and then we can talk about the sorts of methods that are used for each of these – let’s call them –dimensions. So, we have what’s called the long arm of Human Factors. It’s a large range of activities from the very sort of, as we’re talking about, physical ergonomics, e.g. sitting at a desk and so on, manual handling, workplace design, and moving to interface design with respect to human-machine interfaces- HMIs, as they’re called, or user interfaces. There are techniques, manual handling techniques and analysis techniques – You might be using something like a task analysis combined with a NIOSH lifting equation and so on. Workplace design, you’d be looking at anthropocentric data. So, you would have a dataset that’s hopefully representative of the population you’re designing for, and you may have quite specific populations. So Human Factors, engineering is fairly extensively used, I would say, in military projects –in the military context-

Simon:  – Yes.

Peter:   – And there’s this set of standards, the Mil standard, 1472G, for example, from the United States. It’s a great example that gives not only manual handling standards or guidelines, workplace design guidelines in the workplace, in a military sense, can be a vehicle or on a ship and so on. Or on a base and so forth.

Interface design- So, if you’re looking at from a methods perspective, you might have usability evaluations, for example. You might do workload’s studies and so forth, looking at how well the interface supports particular tasks or achieving certain goals.

            Human error –There are human error methods that typically leverage off of task models. So, you’d have a task model and you would look at for that particular task, what sorts of errors could occur and the structured methods for that?

Simon:  Yes, I remember human task analysis –seeing colleagues use that on a project I was working on. It seemed quite powerful for capturing these things.

Peter:   It is and you have to pragmatically choose the level of analysis because you could go down to a very granular level of detail. But that may not be useful, depending on the sort of system design you’re doing, the amount of money you have, and how critical the task is. So, you might have a significantly safety-critical task, and that might need quite a detailed analysis. An example there would be – there was a … I think it’s the … You can look up the accident analysis online, I believe it’s the Virgin Galactic test flight. So this is one of these test flights in the U.S. – I have somewhere in my archive of accident analyses – where the FAA had approved the test flights to go ahead and there was a task where – I hope I don’t get this completely wrong – where one of the pilots (there are two pilots, a pilot and a co-pilot) and this test aeroplane where they had to go into high-altitude in this near-space vehicle. They were moving at quite a high speed and there was a particular task where they had to do something with – I think they had to slow down and then you could … slow down their aeroplane, I guess, by reducing the throttle and then at a certain point/a certain speed, you could deploy, or control, the ailerons or some such, wing-based device, and the task order was very important. And what had happened was a pilot or the co-pilot had performed the task slightly out of order. As a matter of doing one thing first before they did another thing that led to the plane breaking up. And fortunately, one of the pilots survived, unfortunately, one didn’t.

Simon:  So, very severe results from making a relatively small mistake.

Peter:   So that’s a task order error, which is very easy to do. And if the system had been designed in a way to prevent that sort of capability to execute that action at that point. That would have been a safer design. At that level, you might be going down to that level of analysis and kind of you get called keystroke level analysis and so on

Simon:  – Where it’s justified, yes.

Peter:   Task analysis is, I think, probably one of the most common tools used. You also have workload analysis, so looking at, for example, interface design. I know some of the projects we were working on together, Simon, workload was a consideration. There are different ways to measure workload. There’s a NASA TLX, which is a subjective workload. Questionnaire essentially, that’s done post-task but it’s been shown to be quite reliable and valid as well. So, that instrument is used and there are a few others that are used. It depends on the sort of study you’re doing, the amount of time you have and so forth. Let me think, that’s workload analysis.

Safety culture- I wouldn’t say that’s my forte. I’ve done a bit of work on safety culture, but that’s more organizational and the methods there tend to be more around culpability models and implementing those into the organizational culture.

Simon:  So, more governance type issues? That type of thing?

Peter:   Yes. Governance and – whoops! Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. I’m just looking at the systems and procedure design. The ‘e’ is white so it looks like it’s a misspelling there. So it’s annoying me …

Simon:  – No problem!

Peter:   Yes. So, there are models I’ve worked with at organization such as some rail organizations where they look at governance, but also in terms of appropriate interventions. So, if there’s an incident, what sort of intervention is appropriate? So, essentially use sort of a model of culpability and human error and then overlay that or use that as a lens upon which to analyse the incident. Then appropriately either train employees or management and so on. Or perhaps it was a form of violation, a willful violation, as it may be –

Simon:  – Of procedure?

Peter:   Yeah, of procedure and so on versus a human error that was encouraged by the system’s design. So, you shouldn’t be punishing, let’s say, a train driver for a SPAD if the –

Simon:  – Sorry, that’s a Signal Passed At Danger, isn’t it?

Peter:   That’s right. Signal Passed At Danger. So, it’s certainly possible that the way the signalling is set up leads to a higher chance of human error. You might have multiple signals at a location and it’s confusing to figure out which one to attend to and you may misread and then you end up SPADing and so on. So, there are, for example, clusters of SPADs that will be analysed and then the appropriate analysis will be done. And you wouldn’t want to be punishing drivers if it seemed to be a systems design issue.

Simon:  Yes. I saw a vivid illustration of that on the news, I think, last night. There was a news article where there was an air crash that tragically killed three people a few months ago here in South Australia. And the newsies report today is saying it was human error but when they actually got in to reporting what had happened, it was pointed out that the pilot being tested was doing – It was a twin-engine aeroplane and they were doing an engine failure after take-off drill. And the accident report said that the procedure that they were using allowed them to do that engine failure drill at too low an altitude. So, if the pilot failed to take the correct action very quickly – bearing in mind this is a pilot being tested because they are undergoing training – there was no time to recover. So, therefore, the aircraft crashed. So, I thought, ”Well, it’s a little bit unfair just to say it’s a human error when they were doing something that was in intrinsically inappropriate for a person of that skill level.”

Peter:   That’s an excellent example and you hear this in the news a lot. Human error, human error and human error. The cause of this, I think, with the recent Boeing problems with the flight control system for the new 737s. And of course, there will be reports. Some of the interim reports already talk about some of these Human Factors, issues inherent in that, and I would encourage people to look up the publicly available documentation on that-

Simon:  – This is the Boeing 737 Max accidents in Indonesia and in Ethiopia, I think.

Peter:   That’s correct. That’s correct. Yes, absolutely. And pilot error was used as the general explanation but under further analysis, you started looking at that error. That so to speak error perhaps has other causes which are systems design causes, perhaps. So these things are being investigated but have been written about quite extensively. And you can look at, of course, any number of aeroplane accidents and so on. There’s a famous Air France one flying from Brazil to Paris, from what I recall. It might have been Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Where the pitot –

Simon:  – Yeah, pitot probes got iced up.

Peter:    Probes, they iced up and it was dark. So, the pilots didn’t have any ability to gauge by looking outside. I believe it was dark or it might have been a storm. There’s some difficulty in engaging what was going on outside of the aeroplane and there again misreads. So, stall alarms going off and so off, I believe. There were some mis-readings on the airspeed coming from the sensors, essentially. And then the pilots acted according to that information, but that information was incorrect. So, you could say there were probably a cascade of issues that occurred there and there’s a fairly good analysis one can look up that looks at the design. I believe it was an Airbus. It was the design of the Airbus. So, we had one pilot providing an input in one direction to the control yoke and the other pilot in the other direction. There are a number of things that broke down. And typically, you’ll see this in accidents. You’ll have a cascade as they’re trying to troubleshoot and can’t figure out what’s going on they’ll start applying various approaches to try and remedy the situation and people begin to panic and so on.

            And you have training techniques, a crew resource management, which certainly has a strong Human Factors element or comes out of the Human Factors world, which looks at how to have teams and cockpits. And in other situations working effectively in emergency situations And that’s sort of after analysing, of course, failures.

Simon:  Yes, and I think CRM, crew resource management, has been adopted not just in the airline industry, but in many other places as well, hasn’t it?

Peter:   Operating theatres, for example. There’s quite a bit of work in the 90s that started with I think it was David Gaba who I think was at Stanford – this is all from memory. That then look at operating theatres. In fact, the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton had a simulation centre for operating theatres where they were applying these techniques to training operating theatre personnel. So, surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and so forth.

Simon:  Well, thanks, Peter. I think and I’m sorry, I think I hijacked you’ll the presentation, but –

Peter:   It’s not really a presentation anyway. It was more a sort of better guidance there. We’re talking about methods, weren’t we? And it’s easy to go then from methods to talking about accidents. Because then we talk about the application of some of these methods or if these methods are applied to prevent accidents from occurring.

Simon:  Cool. Well, thanks very much, Peter. I think maybe I’ll let the next time we have a chat I’ll let you talk through your slides and we’ll have a more in-depth look across the whole breadth of Human Factors.

Peter:   So that’s probably a good little intro at the moment anyway. Perhaps I might pull up one slide on Human Factors integration before we end.

Simon:  Of course.

Peter:   I’ll go back a few slides here.

What is Human Factors Integration?

Peter:   And so what is Human Factors integration? I was thinking about this quite a bit recently because I’m working on some complex projects that are very, well, not only complex but quite large engineering projects with lots of people, lots of different groups involved, different contracts and so forth. And the integration issues that occur. They’re not only Human Factors integration issues there are larger-scale integration issues, engineering integration issues. Generally speaking, this is something I think that projects often struggle with. And I was really thinking about the Human Factors angle and Human Factors integration. That’s about ensuring that all of the HF issues, so HF in Human Factors, in a project are considered in control throughout the project and deliver the desired performance and safety improvements. So, three functions of Human Factors integration

  • confirm the intendant system performance objectives and criteria
  • guide and manage the Human Factors, aspects and design cycles so that negative aspects don’t arise and prevent the system reaching its optimum performance level
  • and identify and evaluate any additional Human Factors safety aspect now or we found in the safety case.

You’ll find, particularly in these complex projects, that the interfaces between the –  you might have quite a large project and have some projects working on particular components. Let’s say one is working on more of a civil/structural elements and maybe space provisioning and so on versus another one is working more on control systems. And the integration between those becomes quite difficult because you don’t really have that Human Factors integration function working to integrate those two large components. Typically, it’s within those focused project groupings –that’s the way to call them. Does that make sense?

Simon:  Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Peter:   I think that’s one of the big challenges that I’m seeing at the moment, is where you have a certain amount of time and money and resource. This would be common for other engineering disciplines and the integration work often falls by the wayside, I think. And that’s where I think a number of the ongoing Human Factors issues are going to be cropping up some of these large-scale projects for the next 10 to 20 years. Both operationally and perhaps safety as well. Of course, we want to avoid –

Simon:  –Yes. I mean, what you’re describing sounds very familiar to me as a safety engineer and I suspect to a lot of engineers of all disciplines who work on large projects. They’re going to recognize that as it is a familiar problem.

Peter:   Sure. You can think about if you’ve got the civil and space provisioning sort of aspect of a project and another group is doing what goes into, let’s say, a room into a control room or into a maintenance room and so on. It may be that things are constrained in such a way that the design of the racks in the room has to be done in a way that makes the work more difficult for maintainers. And it’s hard to optimize these things because these are complex projects and complex considerations. And a lot of people are involved in them. The nature of engineering work is typically to break things down into little elements, optimize those elements and bring them all together.

Simon:  –Yes.

Peter:   Human Factors tends to –Well, you can do them Human Factors as well but I would argue that certainly what attracted me to it, is that you tend to have to take a more holistic approach to human behaviour and performance in a system.

Simon:  Absolutely.

Peter:   Which is hard.

Simon:   Yes, but rewarding. And on that note, thanks very much, Peter. That’s been terrific. Very helpful. And I look forward to our next chat.

Peter:   For sure. Me too. Okay, thanks!

Simon:  Cheers!

Outro

Simon:  Well, that was our first chat with Peter on the Safety Artisan and I’m looking forward to many more. So, it just remains for me to say thanks very much for watching and supporting the work of what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve. I look forward to seeing you all next time. Okay, goodbye.

End: Introduction to Human Factors

Categories
Work Health and Safety

Guide to the WHS Act

This Guide to the WHS Act covers many topics of interest to system safety and design safety specialists. The full-length video explains the Federal Australian Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act (latest version, as of 14 Nov 2020). Brought to you by The Safety Artisan: professional, pragmatic, and impartial.

This is the four-minute demo of the full, 44-minute-long video.

Recap: In the Short Video…

which is here, we looked at:

  • The Primary Duty of Care; and
  • Duties of Designers.

Topics: Guide to the WHS Act

In this full-length video, we will look at much more…

  • § 3, Object [of the Act];
  • § 4-8, Definitions;
  • § 12A, Exclusions;
  • § 18, Reasonably Practicable;
  • § 19, Primary Duty of Care;
  • § 22-26, Duties of Designers, Manufacturers, Importers, Suppliers & those who Install/Construct/Commission;
  • § 27, Officers & Due Diligence;
  • § 46-49, Consult, Cooperate & Coordinate;
  • § 152, Function of the Regulator; and
  • § 274-276, WHS Regulations and CoP.

Transcript: Guide to the WHS Act

Click here for the Transcript

Hi everyone and welcome to the Safety Artisan where you will find instructional videos like this one with professional, pragmatic and impartial advice which we hope you enjoy. I’m Simon and I’m recording this on the 13th of October 2019. So today we’re going to be talking about the Australian Federal Work Health and Safety Act and call it an unofficial guide or system or design safety practitioners whatever you want to call yourselves because I’m looking at the WHS Act from the point of view of system safety and design safety.

 As opposed to managing the workplace although it does that as well. Few days ago, I recorded a short video version of this and in the short video we looked at the primary duty of care and the duty particularly we look at the duty of designs. And so, we spent some time looking at that and that video is available on the freight on petrol on the safety artisan page at Patreon.com. It’s available at safetyartisan.com and you can watch it on YouTube. So just search for safety artisan on YouTube.

Topics

So, in this video, we’re going to look at much more than that. I say selected topics we’re not going to look at everything in the WHS Act as you can see there are several hundred sections of it. We’ll be here all day. So, what we’re going to look at are things that are relevant to systems safety to design safety. So, we look very briefly at the object of the act, at what it’s trying to achieve. Just one slight of definitions because there’s a lot of exclusions because the Act doesn’t apply to everything in Australia.

 We’re going to look at the Big Three involved. So really the three principles that will help us understand what the act is trying to achieve is:

  • what is reasonably practicable. That phrase that I’ve used several times before.
  • What is the primary duty of care so that sections 18 and 19. And if we jump to
  • Section 27 What are or who are officers and what does due diligence mean in a WHS setting?

So, if I step back one section 22 to 26 you know the duties of various people in the supply chain.  We cover that in the short session. So, go ahead and look at that and then moving on. There are requirements for duty holders to consult cooperate and coordinate and then a brief mention of the function of the regulator. And finally, the WHS Act enables WHS regulations and codes of practice. So we’re just mentioned that so those are the topics we’re going to cover quite a lot to get through. So that’s critical.

Disclaimer

So, first this is a disclaimer from the website from the federal legislation site and it does remind people looking at the site that the information put up there is for the benefit of the public and it’s free of charge.

 So, when you’re looking at this stuff you need to look at the relevance of the material for your purposes. OK, I’m looking at the Web site it is not a substitute for getting legal or appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances. So quick disclaimer there. This is just a way a website with general advice I think we’ll get we’ll get them and hence this video is only as good as the content that’s being present okay.

The Object of the Act

So, the object of the act then as you can say I’m quoting from it because I’m using quotation marks, so the main object of the act is to provide a balanced and nationally consistent framework for the health and safety of workers and workplaces.

 And that’s important in Australia because Australia is a federated state. So, we’ve got states and territories and we’ve got the federal government or the Commonwealth as it’s usually known and the laws all those different bodies do not always line up. In fact, sometimes it seems like the state and territories delight in doing things that are different from each other and different from the Commonwealth. And that’s not particularly helpful if you’re trying to you know operate in Australia as a corporation or you know you’re trying to do something big and trying to invest in the country.

 So, the WHS act of a model WHS Act was introduced to try and harmonize all this stuff. And you’ll see some more about that on the website. By the way and I’ve missed out on some objectives. As you can see, I’m not doing one subset B to H go to have a look at it online. But then in Section 2 The reminder is the principle of giving the highest level of protection against harm to workers and other persons as is reasonably practicable. Wonderful phrase again which will come back to okay.

Definitions

 Now there are lots of definitions in the act. And it’s worth having a look at them particularly if you look at the session that I did on system safety concepts, I was using definitions from the UK standard. Now I did that for a reason because that set of definitions was very well put together. So it was ideal for explaining those fundamental concepts where the concepts in Australia WHS are very different so if you are operating in Australian jurisdiction or you want to sell into an Australian jurisdiction do look at those definitions and actually being aware of what the definitions are will actually save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

 Now because we’re interested systems safety practitioners of introducing complex systems into service. I’ve got the definitions here of plant structure and substance. So basically, plant is any machinery equipment appliance container implement or to any component of those things and anything fitted or connected to any of those things. So, they go going for pretty a pretty broad definition. But bearing in mind we’re talking about plants we’re not talking about consumer goods. We’re not talking about selling toasters or electric toothbrushes to people. OK. There’s other legislation that covers consumer goods.

 Then when it comes to structure again, we’ve got anything that is constructed be fixed or movable temporary or permanent. And it might include things on the ground towers and masks underground pipelines infrastructure tunnels and mining any components or parts thereof. Again, a very broad definition and similarly substance any natural or artificial substance in whatever form it might be. So again, very broad and as you might recall from the previous session a lot of the rules for designers’ manufacturers, importers and suppliers cover plant structure and substances. So hence that’s why I picked just those three definitions out of the dozens there.

Exclusions

 It’s worth mentioning briefly exclusions: what the Act does not apply to. So, first, the Act does not apply to commercial ships basically. So, in Australia, the Federal legislation covering the safety of people in the commercial maritime industry is the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Maritime Industry) 1993, which is usually known as “OSHMI” applies to commercial vessels, so WHS does not. And the second exclusion is if you are operating an offshore petroleum or greenhouse gas storage platform and I think it’s more than three nautical miles offshore.

 But don’t take my word for that if you’re in that business go and check with the regulator NOPSEMA then this act the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 applies or OPGGS for short. So, if you’re in the offshore oil industry then you’ve got a separate Commonwealth act plot but those are the only two exceptions. So, where Commonwealth law applies the only things that WHS. does not apply to is commercial ships and offshore platforms I mentioned state and territory vs. Commonwealth. All the states and territories have adopted the model WHS system except Victoria which so far seems to be showing no interest in adopting WHS.

 Thanks, Victoria, for that. That’s very helpful! Western Australia is currently in process of consultation to adopt WHS, but they’ve still got their current OH&S legislation. So just note that there are some exclusions there. OK so if you’re in those jurisdictions then WHS does not apply. And of course, there are many other pieces of legislation and regulation that cover particular kinds of risk in Australia. For example, there’s a separate act called ARPANS that covers ionizing a non-ionizing radiation.

There are many other acts that cover safety and environmental things. Let’s go back one when I’m talking about those specific acts. They only apply to specific things whereas WHS act is a general Act applies to everything except those things that it doesn’t like to write move on.

So Far As is Reasonably Practicable

Okay now here we come to one of these three big ticket items and I’ve got two slides here. So, in this definition of reasonably practicable when it comes to ensuring health and safety reasonably practicable means doing what you are reasonably able to do to achieve the high standards of health safety in place.

 Considering and weighing up all the relevant matters; including, say, the first two we need to think about the likelihood of a hazard or risk. How likely is this thing to occur this potential threat to human health? And what’s the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk. So, we’ve got a likelihood and degree of harm or severity. So, if we recall the fundamental definition of risk is that it’s though it’s the factor of those two things taken together. So, this first part we’re thinking about what is the risk?

 And it’s worth mentioning that hazard is not defined in the Act and risk is very loosely defined. So, the act is being deliberately very broad here. We’re not taking a position on or style of approach to describing risks, so to the second part.

Having thought about the risk now we should consider what the person PCBU or officer, whoever it might be, ought reasonably to know about the hazard or risk and the ways of eliminating or minimizing the risks. So, what we should know about the risk and the ways of dealing with it of mitigating it of controlling and then we’ve got some more detail on these ways of controlling the risk.

 We need to think about the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimize the risk. Now I’m probably going to do a separate session on reasonably practicable because there is a whole guidebook on how to do it. So, we’ll go through that and at some stage in the future and go through that step by step about how you determine availability and suitability et cetera. And so, once you get into it it’s not too difficult. You just need to follow the guidelines which are very clear and very well laid out.

 So having done all of those things, after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of controlling it the we can then think about the cost associated with those risk controls and whether the cost of those controls is grossly disproportionate to the risk. As we will see later, in the special session, if the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk reduction then it’s probably not reasonable to do it. So, you don’t necessarily have to do it but we will step back and just look at the whole thing.

So, in a and b we’re looking at the likelihood and severity of the risk so and we’re (quantifying or qualitatively) assessing the risk. We’re thinking about what we could do about it, how available and suitable are those risk controls, and then putting it all together. How much will it cost to implement those risk controls and how reasonably practicable to do so. So what we have here is basically a risk assessment process that leads us to a decision about which controls we need to implement in order to achieve that ‘reasonably practicable’ statement that you see in so many parts of the act and indeed it’s also in the definition itself.

 So, this is how we determine what is reasonably practicable. We follow a risk assessment process. There is a risk assessment Code of Practice, which I will do a separate session on, which gives you a basic minimum risk assessment process to follow that will enable us to decide what is reasonably practicable. Okay, quite a big topic there. And as I say we’ll come back and do a couple more sessions on how to determine reasonably practical, so moving on to the primary duty of care we covered in the short session.

The Primary Duty of Care

 So I’m not really going to go through this again [in detail] but basically our primary duty is to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers, whether we’ve engaged them whether we’ve got somebody else to engage them or whether we are influencing or directing people carrying out the work. We have a primary duty of care if we’re doing any of those things. And secondly, it’s worth mentioning that the person conducting a business or undertaking the PCBU must ensure the health and safety of other people. Say, visitors to the workplace are members of the public who happen to be near the workplace.

 And of course, bearing in mind that this law applies to things like trains and aircraft if you have an accident with your moving vehicle or your plant you could put people in danger – in the case of aeroplanes anywhere in Australia and beyond. So, it’s not just about the work, the workers in the workplace. With some systems, you’ve got a very onerous responsibility to protect the public depending on what you’re doing. Now for a little bit more detail that we didn’t have in the short session. When we say we must ensure health and safety we’re talking about the provision and maintenance of a safe work environment or safe plant structures or safe systems of work talking about safe use handling and storage of structures and substances.

 We’re talking about adequate facilities for workers that are talking about the provision of information, training, instruction or supervision. Those workers and finally the health of workers and conditions of the workplace are monitored if need be for the purpose of preventing illness or injury. So, there should be some general monitoring of health and safety-related incidents. And if you’re dealing with certain chemicals or are you intentionally exposing people to certain things you may have to conduct special monitoring looking for contamination or poisoning of those people whatever it may be. So, you’ve got quite a bit of detail there about what it means to carry out the primary duty of care.

 And this is all consistent with the duties that we’ve talked about on designers, manufacturers, importers, and suppliers and for all these things there are codes of practice giving guidance on how to do these things. So, this whole work health and safety system is well thought through, put together, in that the law says you’ve got to do this. And there are regulations and codes of practice giving you more information on how you can fulfil your primary directive and indeed how you must fulfill your primary duty.

 And then finally there’s a slightly unusual part for at the end and this covers the special case where workers need to occupy accommodation under the control of the PCBU in order to get the job done. So you could imagine if you need workers to live somewhere remote and you provided accommodation then there are requirements for the employer to take care of those workers and maintain those premises so that they not exposed to risks.

 That’s a big deal because she might have a remote plant, especially in Australia which is a big place and not very well populated. You might be a long way away from external help. So if you have an emergency on-site you’re going to have to provide everything (not just an emergency you need to do that anyway) but if you’ve got workers living remotely as often happens in Australia you’ve got to look after those workers in a potentially very harsh environment.

And then finally it’s worth mentioning that self-employed persons have got to take care of their own health and safety. Note that a self-employed person is a PCBU, so even self-employed people have a duty of care as a PCBU.

The Three Duties

OK, sections 22 to 26. Take that primary duty of care and elaborate it for designers and manufacturers, importers and suppliers and for those installing constructing or commissioning plant substances and structures. And as we said in the free session all of those roles all of the people BCBS is doing that have three duties they have to ensure safety in a workplace and that includes you know designing and manufacturing the thing and ensuring that it’s safe and meets Australian regulations and obligations.

 We have a duty to test which actually includes doing all the calculations analysis and examination that’s needed to demonstrate safety and then to provide needed information to everybody who might use or come into contact with the system so those three duties apply consistently across the whole supply chain. Now we spent some time talking about that. We’re going to move on OK, so we are halfway through. So, a lot to take in. I hope you’re finding this useful and enjoying this. Let’s move on. Now this is an interesting one.

Officers of the PCBU

Officers of the PCBU have additional duties and an officer of the PCBU might be a company director. That’s explicitly included in the definition. A senior manager somebody who has influence. Offices of the PCBU must exercise due diligence. So basically, the implied relationship is you’ve got a PCBU, you’ve got somebody directing work whether it be design work manufacturing operating a piece of kit whatever it might be. And then there are more senior people who are in turn directing those PCBUs (the officers) so the officers must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBUs comply with their duties and obligations.

Sections 2 to 4 cover penalties for offices if they fail. I’m not going to discuss that because as I’ve said elsewhere on the Safety Artisan website, I don’t like threatening people with penalties because I actually think that results in poor behavior, it actually results in people shirking and avoiding their duties rather than embracing them and getting on with it. If you frighten people or tell them what’s going to happen to them, they get it wrong. So, I’m not going to go there. If you’re interested you can look up the penalties for various people, which are clearly laid out. We move on to Section 5.

Due Diligence

 We’re now talking about what is due diligence in the context of health and safety. OK, I need to be precise because the term due diligence appears in other Australian law in various places meaning various things, but here this is the definition of due diligence within the WHS context. So, we’ve got six things to do in order to demonstrate due diligence.

So, officers must acquire and keep up to date with knowledge of work health and safety matters obligations and so forth. Secondly, officers must gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the piece and risks they control.  So, if you’re a company director you need to know something about what the operation does. You cannot hide behind “I didn’t know” because it’s a legal requirement for you to do it. So that closes off a whole bunch of defenses in court. You can’t plead ignorance because ignorance is, in fact, illegal and you’ve got to have a general understanding of the hazards and risks associated with those operations. So, you don’t necessarily have to be up on all the specifics of everything going on in your organization but whatever it is that your organization does. You should be aware of the general costs and risks associated with that kind of business.

Now, thirdly, we are moving on basically C D E and F refer to appropriate resources and processes, so the officers have got to ensure that PCBUs have available and use appropriate resources and processes in order to control risks. OK so that says you’ve got to provide those resources and processes and there is supervision, or some kind of process or requirement to say, yep, we put in let’s say a safety management system that ensures people do actually use the stuff that they are supposed to use in order to keep themselves safe.

 And that’s very relevant of course because often people don’t like wearing, for example, protective personal protective equipment because it’s uncomfortable or slows you down, so the temptation is to take it off. Moving on to part D we’re still on the appropriate processes; we must have appropriate processes for receiving and considering information on incidents, hazards and risks. So again, we’ve got to have something in place that keeps us up to date with the incidents, hazards and risks in our own plants and maybe similar plants in the industry and, we need a process to respond in a timely way to that information.

 So, if we discover that there is a new incident or hazard that you didn’t previously know about. We need to respond and react to that quickly enough to make a difference to the health and safety of workers. So again as another that sort of works in concert with part B doesn’t it. In part A and B we need to keep up to date on the risks and what’s going on in the business and part A, we need to ensure that the PCBU has processes for compliance with any duty or obligation and follows them again to provide that stuff.

In the system safety world, often the designers will need to provide the raw material that becomes those processes. Or maybe if we’re selling the product, we sell a product with the instruction manual with all the processes that could be required.

And then finally the officers must verify the provision and use of these resources and processes that we’ve been talking about in C D an E. So, we’ve got a simple six-point program that comprises due diligence, but as you can see it’s very to the point and it’s quite demanding. There’s no shirking this stuff or pretending you didn’t know and it’s I suspect it’s designed to hang Company directors who neglect and abuse their workers and, as a result, harm happens to them.

But I mean ultimately let’s face it this is all good common-sense stuff. We should be doing this anyway. And in any kind of high-risk industry we should have a safety management system that does all of this and more. These are only the minimum required for all industries and all undertakings in Australia. OK let’s move away from the big stick. Let’s talk about some sort of cozy, softer stuff.

Consult, Cooperate and Coordinate

If you are a duty holder, if you’ve got a duty of care to people as a PCBU or an officer, you must consult, cooperate and coordinate your activities with all other offices and bases be used.

You have a duty in relation to the same matter. So perhaps you are a supplier of kit and you get information from the designer or the manufacturer with the updates on safety or maybe they inform you of problems with the kit. You must pass that on. Let’s imagine you’re introducing a complex system into service. There are going to be lots of different stakeholders, and you all must work together in order to meet WHS obligations. So, there’s no excuse or trying to ask the buck to other people.

That’s not going to work if you haven’t actively managed the risk, as you are potentially already doing something illegal and again, we won’t talk about the penalties of this. We’re just talking about the good things we’re expected to do. So, we’re trying to keep it positive. And you’ve got a duty to consult with your workers who either carry out work or who are likely to be directly affected by what’s going on and the risks. Now, this is a requirement that procedures in Sections 2 and 3, but of course we should be consulting with our workers because they’ve often got practical knowledge about controlling risks and what is available and suitable to do so, which we will find helpful.

So, consulting workers is not only a duty it’s actually a good way of doing business and doing business efficiently so moving on to section 152.

The Regulator

There are several sections about the regulator, but to my mind, they don’t add much. So, we’re just going to talk about Section 152, which is the functions of a regulator and the regulator has got several functions. So, they give advice and make recommendations to the relevant minister or Commonwealth Minister of the government. They monitor and enforce compliance with the act.

 They provide advice and information to duty holders and the community they collect analyse and publish statistics. They’re supposed to foster a co-operative, consultative relationship in the community to promote and support education and training and to engage in and promote and coordinate the sharing of information. And then finally they’ve got some legal duties with courts and industrial tribunals, and here’s the catch-all, any other function conferred on the regulator by the Act. If we look at the first six the ones that I’ve highlighted there are a number of regulators in Australia and because of the complexity of our federal government system, we’ve got.

 It’s not always clear which regulator you need to deal with and not all regulators are very good at this stuff. I have to say having worked in Europe and America and Australia, for example on Part D. Australian regulators are not very good at analyzing and publishing statistics in general. Usually, if you want high-quality statistics from a regulator, you’re usually better off looking at a European regulator in your industry or an American regulator. The Aussie ones don’t seem to be very good at that, in general.

There are exceptions. NOPSEMA, for example in the offshore world, are particularly good. But then you would expect because of the inherent dangers of offshore operations. Otherwise, I’ve not been that impressed with some of the regulators. The exception to that is Safe Work Australia. So, if you’re looking for advice and information, statistics, education and training and sharing of information then Safe Work Australia is your best bet. Now ironically Safe Work Australia is not a regulator.

Safe Work Australia

They are a statutory authority and they created, in consultation with many others I might say, they created a model WHS Act the model regulations and the Model Codes practice. So, if you go on their website you will find lots of good information on there and indeed I tend to look at that in order to find information to post on safety artisan. So, they’ve got some good WHS information on there. But of course, the wherever you go look at their site you must bear in mind that they are not the regulator of anything or anyone. So, for you’ve also got to go and look at the find the relevant regulator to your business or undertaking and you’ve got to look at what your regulator requires you to do.

 Very often when it comes to looking at guidance your best bet is safe work Australia okay.

Regulations and Codes of Practice

I’ve mentioned regulations and codes of practice. Basically, these sections of the act enable those codes of practice and regulations so the Minister has power to approve Commonwealth codes of practice and similarly state and territory ministers can do the same for their versions of WHS. This is very interesting and we’ll come back to relook at codes of practice in another session. An approved code of practice is admissible in court as evidence, it’s admissible as the test of whether or not a duty or obligation under the WHS Act has been complied with.

 And basically, the implication of this is that you are ignorant of codes of practice at your peril because if something goes wrong then codes of practice are what you will be judged against at minimum. So that’s a very important point to note and we’ll come back to that on another session.

Next, Codes of Practice and then regulation-making powers. For some unknown reason to me, the Governor-General may authorize regulations. I mean that doesn’t really matter. The codes of practice and the regulations are out there, and the regulations are quite extensive.  I think six hundred pages. So, there’s a lot of stuff in there. And again, we’ll do a separate session on WHS regulations soon OK.

That’s All Folks!

I appreciate we’ve covered quite a lot of ground there but of course, you can watch the video as many times as you like and go and look at the Act online. Mentioning that all the information I’ve shown you is pretty much word for word taken from the federal register of legislation and I’m allowed to do that under the terms of the license.

Creative Commons Licence

 And it’s one of those terms I have to tell you that I took this information yesterday on the 12th of October 2019. You should always go to that website to find the latest on Commonwealth legislation (and indeed if you’re working on it state or territory jurisdiction you should go and see the relevant regulator’s legislation on their site). Finally, you will find more information on copyright and attribution at the SafetyArtisan.com website, where I’ve reproduced all of the requirements, which you can check. At the Safety Artisan we’re very pleased to comply with all our obligations.

Now for more on this video, you may have seen it on Patreon on the Safety Artisan page or you may have seen it elsewhere, but it is for sure available Patreon.com/SafetyArtisan. Okay. So, thank you very much for listening and all that remains for me to do is to sign off and say thanks for listening and I look forward to presenting another session to you in a month’s time. Take care.

Back to the WHS Topic Page.

Categories
Work Health and Safety

Intro to Work Health and Safety

This short video Intro to Work Health and Safety looks at Australian legislation that is relevant to System Safety. Thus, it is of interest to system, functional and design safety practitioners.  It looks at the three classes of ‘upstream’ safety duties of designers, that also apply to manufacturers, importers, suppliers those who install/commission plant substances and structures. 

Intro to Work Health and Safety: so What?

Many people think the WHS Act only applies to the management of safety in the workplace. They’re wrong – it does much more than that. In this short presentation, I am going to show you why the WHS Act is relevant to those with ‘upstream’ safety responsibilities such as designers.

Intro to Work Health and Safety: Topics

  • The primary duty of care;
  • Safety duties of designers (Section 21); and
  • Similar duties apply to others, such as:
    • Manufacturers (Section 23);
    • Importers (Section 24);
    • Suppliers (Section 25);
    • Those installing, constructing or commissioning (Section 26);
    • Officers (Section 27); and
    • Workers (Section 28).

Intro to Work Health and Safety: Transcript

Click Here for the Transcript

Hi everyone and welcome to the Safety Artisan where you will find Professional, pragmatic And impartial Instruction on safety. Which we hope you enjoy. So today we’re talking about the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act in Australia. Which is surprisingly relevant to what we do in Fact. Let’s see how surprising and relevant it is.

Were going to look at the WHS Act. And its relevance to what we’re talking about here on the Safety Artisan. And it’s important to answer that question first, The “So what” test. Many people think that the WHS Act is only applicable To safety In the workplace. So they see it as purely an occupational health and safety Piece of legislation.

And it isn’t!

It does do that, but it does so much more as well.
And in this short presentation, I’m going to show you why The WHS act is relevant. To system safety, functional safety, design safety, Whatever we want to call it.

Now I’m actually looking up some information On the work Health and Safety Act, from The Federal Register of Legislation. And, (In blue letters.) And if we go down to the bottom left-hand side of the screen. We will see
A little map of Australia with a big red tick on it. And in green, it says ‘in force latest version’. So I looked at the Website Today, the 6th of October. And this is the latest version. Which is just to make sure that We’ve got the right version. In Australia the Jurisdiction of which version of the act is in place Is complex. I’m not going to talk about that in the short session but I will in the full video version.

The Primary Duty of Care under the WHS Act

The Primary Duty of Care under the WHS Act is as follows. So a person Conducting a business or undertaking and – a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking is usually abbreviated to PCBU. A horrible, horrible, clunky term! What it’s trying to say is whether you’re doing business or it is non-profit. Whether you work for the government. Or even if you’re self-employed. Whoever you are and whatever you do. If it’s to do with work, being paid for work. Then this applies to you.

Those people doing this stuff Are responsible For ensuring the health and
safety Of workers, who are engaged or paid by the person, by the PCBU. Workers whose activities are influenced or directed by the PCBU while they’re at work. And also the PCBU must ensure the health and safety of Other people. So in the vicinity of the workplace let’s say, or Maybe visitors.

As always the caveat on this ‘ensuring’ Health and Safety is ‘So Far As is reasonably Practicable’. Again we’re not going to be talking about So far as is reasonably practicable in this session, we’ll talk about it in the longer session; and, in fact, I think I’m probably going to do a session Just on the how to do So far as is Reasonably Practicable Because A lot of people Get it wrong. It’s quite a different concept. If you’re not used to it.

Designer Duties under the WHS Act

Moving on. We’ve jumped from Section 19 to Section 22. And we’re now talking about the duties of designers. Well, this doesn’t sound like occupational health and safety does it? So we look at the designer duties of PCBUs who design Plant, Substances, Or structures. So we’re talking industrial plant we’re not talking about commercial goods. There are other
Acts that apply to stuff that you would buy in a shop. So this is industrial plant, Chemical substances and the like. And structures and those might be buildings. Or they might be ships, floating platforms, whatever they might be. Aircraft. Cars.

The First WHS Duty of a Designer

So here we have The First Duty of a designer. And there are three groups of duties. First of all, The designer Has to ensure The health and safety of People in the workplace. If they’re designing plant. If they’re designing or creating. A substance, or A structure. That is to be used, Or might reasonably be expected to be used At a workplace. This duty applies to them. So they’ve got to do whatever it takes. To ensure Health and Safety So far as is reasonably practicable.

Now, carrying on from that. We get a bit more detail. So the designer has got to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that plant, substance or structure Is designed To be without risks. The risks are To the health and safety of persons, who Are At a workplace. Who might, Use it For the purpose for which it was designed, Who might Handle the substance. Who might store the plant or substance? And who might construct a structure? Or, and here’s the catch-all, who might carry out any reasonably foreseeable activity At a workplace In relation to this plant, substance, or structure.

And then if we go on to Part (e)(i) And we now get a long list of stuff. Any reasonably foreseeable activity Includes manufacture, assembly, Use, Proper storage, decommissioning, dismantling, disposal, Etc. We run out of space there. But the bottom line is that the scope of this act is cradle to grave. So from the very first time that we Design A plant, substance or structure. Right through to final disposal of said, Plant Substance and structure. The Designer has safety responsibilities. Thinking about the whole lifecycle of This stuff.

The Second WHS Duty of a Designer

Now we move on to the other Two duties that a designer has. So in subsection 3. The designer has a duty to carry out testing. That’s what it says in the guide. Actually, if you look at the words in the act it says the designer must carry out or arrange for Calculations, analysis, testing, Or examination. Whatever is necessary for the performance of the duty that We just described In Subsection 2. You recall Subsection 2, cradle to grave, from creation to final disposal. Calculations, analysis, testing or examination Might be needed. The designer has got to Carry that out Or arrange it. In order to ensure safety SFARP.

The Third WHS Duty of a Designer

And then, our Final Duty Is having done all of that work. Having designed this stuff to be safe and done all the Calculations and testing. The designer must give Adequate information to each person provided with the design. And the purpose of doing so, We’re not just providing information for the sake of it, or because we felt like it. It’s provided for a specific purpose. So each Purpose, Which the plant, substance or structure was designed. So we need all the information associated With its design purpose.
We’ve got to provide the results of those calculations, analysis, testing and
examination.

And, Probably this is also equally Crucial from a hazard analysis point of view, Any conditions necessary to ensure that the plant, substance or structure Is without risk to health and safety. When it is used for the purpose for which it was designed, Or, (All the other stuff If we go back to
Section 2.)

So Section 4, Does actually say this applies to Section 2(a-e). But we ran out of space on the page, so the designers got to provide all the information necessary. for people to use this stuff and for the life cycle of whatever it is from cradle to grave. Now, If we look at Section 4(a-c), We can say that’s the kind of information we generate from Hazard Analysis from safety analysis. So, yeah, Absolutely We need system safety In order to meet these duties, to satisfy these duties.

A Consistent set of Duties Across the Supply Chain

And these duties are not just on designers, because the WHS Act Is actually Very, very clever. Because it applies Much the same duties, those three duties that we heard of. The duty to ensure health and safety. The duty to test and analyze. And the duty to provide information. If we look at Sections 22, Through 26, We find that very similar duties apply
To designers.
To manufacturers.
To importers.
To suppliers.
And to those installing, constructing, Or commissioning. Substances and
Structures.
And the duties in these sections are all consistent. Basically, it recognizes that there is a supply chain. From design right through to installation and commissioning. And Everybody in that chain Has duties To do their part correctly, or to test what they have to. Pass on information, To the next set of stakeholders.

And then, In addition to that, If we looked in Section 27 we would see the Officers Of the PCBU, so Company directors and the like, People with, major influence, Who are able to direct operations and that kind of thing. So senior management and directors of companies and the equivalent in the public sector Have special requirements applying to them. Again, We’re going to talk about that in the Main Video, Not in this one. And then workers have Duties to Comply with reasonable instructions, That are intended to keep safe And other workers [safe]. So that if we go to Section 28 you get the kind of thing that you would expect to see in work-place safety.

Copyright and Attribution

So that’s it In the short video. Just to mention that I have Shown you information From the Federal Register of Legislation. I’m entitled to do that under the Creative Commons license. And I’m making the required attribution statement. You can see it in the middle of the Screen. And for the full information on these terms on copyright and attribution, Please go to that page On my website. And you will find full details of the terms and conditions, under which this video was created. And if you want to see the full version of the introduction to the WHS Act, which is going to cover a lot more ground than this then please go to the Safety Artisan page On www.Patreon.com.

That’s the Presentation. And it just remains for me to say, Thanks very much for listening. I look forward to meeting you again. Cheers now.

The Full Version is Here…

If you want more, if you want a wider and deeper view of the WHS Act, then there’s a longer version of this video. Which you can get at my Patreon page.

I hope you enjoy it. Well that’s it for the short video, for now. Please go and have a look at the longer video to get the full picture. OK, everyone, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and I hope you found that useful. I’ll see you again soon. Goodbye.

The full-length ‘Guide to WHS’ video is here. Back to the WHS Topic Page.