The contribution of human factors to accidents and near misses in the offshore oil and gas industry : development of a human factors investigation tool
This thesis examines the methods used by high reliability industries to collect incident data regarding the human factors causes and uses this information to develop a tool for the investigation of accidents and incidents. The focus is the UK offshore oil gas industry, where attention to human behaviour in incident analysis has increased in importance with the reliability of technology. It is proposed that such analysis is also applicable to other high reliability organisations. Reviews of accident causation research, incident reporting and investigation systems, as well as safety climate studies, have provided the basis for three empirical studies. Two reporting forms and one investigation tool have been designed and tested in the offshore oil and gas industry. The first reporting form contains 11 open questions to be completed by the witnesses to incidents. The second reporting form contains 166 questions, which provide more cues for the users to describe the possible causes of the incident. The human factors investigation tool (HFIT) is a more complex method of collecting incident data and contains a total of 391 questions to aid investigators determine the contributing factors to the incident. This thesis provides some evidence that the two reporting forms and the investigation tool have improved the investigation of the human factors causes of incidents over and above the oil companies existing systems. This was accomplished by applying psychological theories and methods successfully used in other industries to develop the reporting and investigation system which focus mainly on the human and organisational causes of accidents. HFIT combines aspects from a number of investigation tools currently used in other industries, such as processes for investigation and causal codes. In addition, the question set of categories, elements, sub-elements and item codes has been developed as a computer programme which is a unique system for incident investigation. The system includes an original set of team working and safety culture questions based on current research in these areas.