Who’s on First?

Workflow + Work Execution – Responsibility Analysis for each Role

Here are a few typical responsibilities for a typical Role, in this case, for the Environmental Lead of the Health, Environment and Safety (HSE or SHE or EH&S) department in a process plant:

  1. Assist with Contractor qualification
  2. Prepare and submit Environmental Safety Plan
  3. Assist in the development of HSE Goals
  4. Assist as needed with Ops work packages
  5. Review approved work scopes and help identify activities that present special hazards

These are quite logical and the HSE Lead knows and understands these responsibilities. However, how do the company, the plant and the co-team members know that each of these responsibilities has been met?

Let’s consider each of these Responsibilities in turn, and review how we can organically (i.e. with little or no additional effort), know, with total accuracy and confidence, that the work was touched, and done as stated, within the time-frame expected (i.e. prior to execution of the work).

1. Assist with Contractor Qualification

A Contractor Qualification Procedure needs to exist. This procedure needs input from, and eventual sign off by, a number of different people (Roles) in different Departments. One process step in that procedure is: Obtain sign off on Contractor from HSE Environemtal Lead.

To achieve this sign-off, the HSE Lead needs a checklist of items, that helps them confirm that the Contractor meets the minimum requirements for the sign off.

So, two artifacts are required to help ensure a consistent and complete execution of this Responsibility:

  • Contractor Qualification Procedure
  • HSE Checklist for Contractor Qualification

2. Prepare and submit Environmental Safety Plan

The Environmental Safety Plan is an artifact that can simply be copied from a previous one and tweaked for the current turnaround, project or program. A procedure for creating such a plan would include steps to secure input and sign off from other people (Roles) in other Departments. Each step by each Role will have an associated checklist to ensure completeness of the requirements for that step. So, this Responsibility requires two artifacts to exist and to be integrated in the business flow:

  • Environmental Safety Plan Procedure
  • Checklists for each Process step in the Procedure

3. Assist in the development of HSE Goals

The HSE Goals is an artifact that can simply be copied from a previous one and tweaked for the current turnaround, project or program. As with the previous item, a procedure for creating such a document would include steps to secure input and sign off from other people (Roles) in other Departments. Each step by each Role will have an associated checklist to ensure completeness of the requirements for that step. So, this Responsibility requires two artifacts to exist and to be integrated in the business flow:

  • HSE Goals Procedure
  • Checklists for each Process step in the Procedure

4. Assist as needed with Ops work packages

HSE feedback to Operations during creation of the Operation Work Package (used to manage the shutdown and startup sequence of operating units) requires Operations to have a Procedure for building the work package. Steps in the procedure allow for input by people (Roles) in other Departments. Artifacts needed for this Responsibility are:

  • Operations Work Package Procedure
  • Checklists for each Process step in the Procedure

5. Review approved work scopes and help identify activities that present special hazards

Work Scope review by the HSE Lead is a process that is a part of the Work Order Work Scope Development procedure that requires review and feedback from a number of people (Roles) in other Departments. Artifacts needed to enable this responsibility include:

  1. Work Order/Equipment Work Scope Development Procedure
  2. Checklists for each Process step in the Procedure

As you can see, each of these 5 Responsibilities is just one action (by the HSE Environmental Lead) of many needed to complete a Procedure or Deliverable.

For the Responsibility to have real meaning, it needs to be done consistently, requiring the Procedure/Deliverable to be more completely defined into Process Steps.

Likewise, as each completing each Procedure/Deliverable involves the completion of Process Steps, each Process Step Checklist should be complete and ready for use by the HSE Lead, and other Roles.

When this foundation, of required Procedures or Deliverables, is built, and available in the system, the Responsible Role simply checks off each checklist item to signal their completion of the work, per the company’s standard practice.

Absent this automated checklist management approach, the pressure, fear and concern remains on each person, regardless of responsibility:

‘Did I review that work order?’

‘Was the scaffolding for that Equipment sign off by Safety?’

‘Did operations review the scope to ensure we have the right lockout process?’

This is not a good state of affairs, yet it predominates in our process-based plants and facilities.

Thankfully, checklists used by the even most experienced pilots, and airline maintenance crews, are an eloquent testimony to the value of quick, organic, checks based on complete, documented and integrated procedures.

Our process-based plants deserves no less a success rate. To get there, we need to integrate workflow rules with work scope execution.