Free seminars to focus on tackling human error in the workplace

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Human error and the impact it can have on the individual and the organisation with which they are working will be the topic of two seminars aimed at both the Third Sector and the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen later this month.

The free events have been organised by North-east consultancy firm, Human Factors & Safety Associates (HFSA), and will take place at the city’s Gordon Highlanders Museum on Thursday, September 21.

Both will address the health and safety, training and project management needs of the two very different sectors, as well as support available regarding HSE consultancy, training and project management.

The first seminar will identify how health and safety is crucial in terms of the Third Sector and how it can impact on the volunteers, trustees and the overall charitable business. A working session will discuss what support is required and how HFSA can help fulfil those requirements.

The opening address will be made by Glencraft Chairman Duncan Skinner, who will be unveiling new community interest company, sector3safety, a non-profit organisation through which HFSA Director George Petrie aims to provide HSE support to those in the Third Sector.

Guest presenters giving case studies on the day will include Graham McWilliam, Executive Director, Glencraft; Cheryl Jones, Commercial Director, ABRAAS Ltd, and Simon McBain, Projects Director, CAMM-PRO Ltd.

The second seminar is aimed at those working in oil and gas, manufacturing and financial companies who have health and safety and risk management as part of their remit. The event will identify how health and safety is paramount in all areas of the business, and will focus on how it can impact on major accident hazards including fire and explosions, major environmental events such as spills, productivity and business continuity, and adverse media attention.

Guest speakers Eddie Woods, Director, Karrdale; Richard Scaife, Director, the Keil Centre; and Neil Clark, CEO, IHF Ltd, will discuss safety culture and human factors in incident investigation, and how to address errors and violations. There will also be a session which will work through business-critical task analysis.

HFSA Director George Petrie set up the consultancy just over a year ago after spending more than 22 years working in a range of industries where safety is paramount, including paper mills, gypsum mines and latterly oil and gas.

Based in Inverurie, the company currently has two full-time staff and three Associates and works with clients both locally and internationally, including a company working in power generation in Saudi Arabia and Oman, offshore on drilling rigs and platforms and the transition of assets, as well as bakeries and social enterprises.

“Human Factors addresses how humans can make errors (unintentional behaviours), and how a company can address these and the impact they will have on their business,” he said.

“We also look at intentional behaviours, such as taking shortcuts, and how to address the reasons behind why these might occur and what steps an organisation can take to change these behaviours.

“In recent months, we have been working with the Third Sector and we have identified that for many there can be a lack of safety support. We have launched a community interest company (CIC) called sector3safety and hope to source funding to enable us to provide free support to social enterprises and charities. Of course, this support must be cost efficient and enable the trustees to manage safety in an easy way.

“Through this seminar, we aim to find out more about what the Third Sector needs, and how we can then address those needs. Working with partners such as Abrras and CamPro, we can offer safety training as well as project management support.”

Both events are free of charge and will take place at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen on Thursday, September 21. The Third Sector event will start at 8am and finish at noon, while the oil and gas session will start at 12.30pm until 4pm. To book a place, contact Katrina Dunbar on 01224 900035, or


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