Procedure use and adherence comes up often with potential customers when discussing ways procedure programs are managed. Many do not know what a use and adherence policy is, much less if their organization has one. Sometimes leaders will verify their organization has one, but no one has read it.
What is a use and adherence policy? The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) defines it as “understanding a procedure’s purpose, scope, and intent and following its direction. The user performs all actions as written in the sequence specified by the procedure. However, if the procedure cannot be used as written, then the activity is stopped and the issue is resolved before the user continues.”
They go on to state that “effective implementation of sound procedure use and adherence methods is tied directly to human error reduction, event prevention, and safety and is an integral part of sound revenue generation and maintaining shareholder value.” These outcomes suggest it’s obvious to both have a policy as well as follow it to protect life and property.
A very large chemical plant in Texas revealed that recently there was a serious incident reported that traced back to an operator not following a procedure’s steps in order. This mistake caused the operator severe injuries and cost the plant significant losses. Among other lessons learned, if this operator had been trained on procedure use and adherence and it was being enforced, this incident may not have occurred.
Over the last 25 years ATR has been continuously looking at ways to not only improve procedures, but also address best practices that govern their use. To that end, a consortium was created along with the Texas A&M Ergonomics Center and the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center called the Advanced Next Generation Procedure Research Study. This group of like-minded people’s sole mission is to solve the human side of procedure execution.
Their work has led to many findings that ATR has incorporated into the SmartProcedures Lifecycle Platform. For example, SmartProcedures Mobile execution platform keeps field workers focused on the next procedure step using a design element similar to a smartphone home button. This is an example of an engineered solution to use and adherence.
Take advantage of both engineered solutions and best practices as defined by INPO and others that have been shown to reduce human error, accidents, and losses. Among the solutions with varying levels of support for use and adherence, make sure you select one whose R&D provides the greatest level of engineered solutions to human error problems. This way your use and adherence policy perfectly marries with technology that best enables safety and operational excellence.