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Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158

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Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries

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Competency requirements for process hazard analysis (PHA) teams

Paul Baybutt*
Primatech Inc., Columbus, OH, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Process hazard analysis (PHA) is a cornerstone of process safety management programs. The quality of
Received 22 April 2014 the PHA performed directly affects the level of risk tolerated for a process. The lower the quality of a PHA,
Received in revised form the more likely higher risk will be tolerated. There are few requirements for PHA team members in the
24 October 2014
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's process safety management regulations. More
Accepted 29 November 2014
detailed requirements for participation in a PHA are desirable.
Available online 2 December 2014
A competency management program should be used to ensure PHA practitioners and teams are
appropriately qualified. Criteria for selecting PHA team leaders, or facilitators, and other team members
Process hazard analysis
are key to such a program and are described in this paper. The criteria cover both technical and personal
Process safety management attributes. Application of the criteria is described and team performance metrics, which can be used to
PHA quality correlate performance with the assessment of competency to validate the criteria and methods used, are
PHA team qualifications discussed.
PHA certification Owing to the importance of the role played by team leaders, certification of their competency is
desirable. Criteria for certification are described and their application is discussed.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction possess the appropriate competencies to perform their role as a

member of a PHA team should be selected by screening them
Process hazard analysis (PHA) is used to identify hazard sce- against suitable criteria. Not only is the competency of individuals
narios that can have adverse impacts on such receptors as people, important but also the competency of individuals acting as a team
property and the environment so that a determination can be is critical to the success of PHA. This paper suggests appropriate
made as to whether or not the level of risk posed by a process is criteria for selecting PHA participants and teams and describes
tolerable (CCPS, 2008; Baybutt, 2013a). If not, recommendations how they can be applied.
can be made for appropriate risk reduction measures. PHA is a Selection of PHA team members should be governed by a
foundation element of process safety management (PSM) pro- competency management program. Each aspect of a competency
grams. PHA studies are conducted by teams of people. Conse- management program is described in this paper. Of course, suc-
quently, they are subject to various possible human failures cessful performance of PHA is the desired outcome so performance
influenced by human factors (Baybutt, 2003; Baybutt, 2013b). In metrics are discussed to help determine the degree of success in
particular, the qualifications, experience, and personal character- applying selection criteria to PHA participants.
istics of participants play a critical role in the quality of PHA Team leaders or facilitators guide PHA teams in applying the
studies. Teams with members who are poorly qualified, possess chosen PHA method. Consequently, they play a critical role in PHA
inadequate experience, or have undesirable personal characteris- and should be subject to certification requirements. Criteria for
tics will produce poor quality studies in which scenarios may be certification are described and their application is discussed.
missed or described inadequately, and scenario risks may be esti-
mated incorrectly. Such PHA faults can lead to higher risk being
2. Regulatory requirements for PHA teams
accepted than should be tolerated. Consequently, individuals who

Regulations around the world have established few re-

quirements for PHA participants. For example, the process safety
* Corresponding author. management (PSM) standard of the U.S. Occupational Safety and
E-mail address: Health Administration (OSHA) requires only that (OSHA, 1992):
0950-4230/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
152 P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158

 The PHA shall be performed by a team with expertise in engi- other members have acquired a level of understanding that enables
neering and process operations. them to effectively use the chosen PHA method.
 The team shall include at least one employee who has experi- Thus, OSHA recognizes that PHA participants should be qualified
ence and knowledge specific to the process being evaluated. and competent to participate in studies, in both their technical
 One member of the team must be knowledgeable in the specific capabilities and personal characteristics, although the PSM stan-
process hazard analysis methodology being used. dard does not specifically require the screening of participants
against such criteria.
Clearly, these are minimal requirements and more detailed re-
quirements are desirable owing to the critical role that people play 3. Competency of personnel and teams
in PHA.
In the preamble to the PSM standard, OSHA states (OSHA, 1992): Competency of personnel is defined as the ability of personnel
to perform tasks according to expectations (Baybutt, 2007). Com-
 In order to conduct an effective, comprehensive PHA, it is petency implies appropriate qualifications, training, skills, fitness
imperative that the analysis be performed by competent per- for duty, knowledge and understanding, experience, behavior, at-
sons, knowledgeable in engineering and process operations. titudes and physical and mental capabilities (see Fig. 1) as well as
 Those persons be familiar with the process being evaluated. the ability to perform tasks according to defined performance
 A team approach is the best because no one person will possess standards (see Fig. 2).
all of the knowledge and experience necessary to perform an Not only must PHA team members be competent individually,
effective PHA and when more than one person is performing the but also the team of which they are a part must function compe-
analysis, different disciplines, opinions, and perspectives will be tently. Of course, the ability of the team to perform PHA
represented and additional knowledge and expertise will be constructively and cooperatively depends on the interactions of the
contributed to the analysis. team members, which in turn is a function of the personal attri-
 Some companies include an individual on the team who does butes of team members, including their personalities, backgrounds,
not have any prior experience with the particular process being behaviors and attitudes. Thus, team competency can be controlled
analyzed to help insure that a fresh view of the process is in- by appropriate selection of team members, taking into account not
tegrated into the analysis. only their competency as an individual but also how their personal
 Employees and other experts may be brought onto the team on a characteristics may influence the performance of the team.
temporary basis to contribute their specialized knowledge.
4. Competency management program
In another publication, OSHA stated that (OSHA, 1994):
The competency of PHA team members and teams should be
 The team leader needs to be fully knowledgeable in the proper addressed using a competency management program that covers
implementation of the PHA methodology to be used. these topics:
 The team leader should be impartial in the evaluation.
 The team leader needs to be able to manage the team and the  Responsibilities
PHA study.  Competency requirements
 The other full or part-time team members need to provide the  Team composition
team with expertise in areas such as process technology; pro-  Selection criteria for teams and team members
cess design; operating procedures and practices; alarms;  Development of competencies
emergency procedures; instrumentation; maintenance pro-  Assessment of competency
cedures, both routine and nonroutine tasks, including how the  Documentation of competency
tasks are authorized; procurement of parts and supplies; safety  Maintaining competency
and health; and any other relevant subjects.  Reassessing competency
 The ideal team will have an intimate knowledge of the stan-  Monitoring competency
dards, codes, specifications, and regulations applicable to the  Defining and using performance metrics
process being studied.  Certification of practitioners
 The selected team members need to be compatible.  Continuous improvement
 The team needs to be able to work together while benefitting
from the expertise of others on the team or outside the team to Each topic is now described.
resolve issues and to forge a consensus on the findings of the
study and recommendations.
 Some team members may only be a part of the team for a limited
Training Experience
These criteria go beyond those specified in the PSM standard
and begin to identify important selection criteria for PHA
participants. Skills Behavior
The PSM standard does not specify formal training re-
quirements, such as attending short courses, for PHA team mem-
bers. However, in a letter of clarification (OSHA, 2001), OSHA stated Fitness for duty Attitudes
that if an OSHA representative needs to determine whether or not a
team member or the facilitator is knowledgeable in the chosen PHA Knowledge and Physical and mental
method, the representative may choose to review training records understanding capabilities
(formal, non-formal, on-the-job training, etc.) and interview team
members to collect information to determine if the team leader or Fig. 1. Elements of competency for individuals.
P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158 153

 Specialty team members

Possess technical expertise in a particular area and attend
+ = only certain sessions where their expertise is needed. Typical
specialty team members are shown in Table 1.

 Other personnel
Competency Performance standards Acceptable performance
May be representatives from vendors of self-contained pro-
Fig. 2. Competency management. cesses, such as skid-mounted units, and licensed technology; con-
tractors who perform activities such as maintenance; the design
company responsible for a new process; or the engineering com-
pany that will construct a new process. They provide information
4.1. Responsibilities on equipment design, maintenance, operation, etc. that may not be
known by company personnel.
Company management is responsible for the selection of
team leaders and ensuring that they are appropriately qualified.  Interpreter
Usually, the manager responsible for a PHA study, or the team
leader assigned to a study, selects the other team members. They PHA studies may be conducted by teams who are unable to
should advise each other and jointly approve the other team communicate in a common language or cannot do so well enough
members. to perform the study properly. Thus, the role of an interpreter is to
enable team members to communicate effectively.
4.2. Competency requirements
 Site coordinator
Competencies should be defined for the various types of PHA
team members together with assessment criteria. They should be Acts as a liaison between the team and the process facility. Helps
realistic and appropriate for the tasks to be performed. The levels of to ensure that adequate facilities, such as a meeting room, are
competency required should match the complexity of the process provided and that other team needs are met. Not a participating
being studied and the PHA method used. Various tools can be used member of the PHA team.
to identify competency requirements including task analysis and
skill and knowledge inventories. 4.4. Selection criteria for teams and team members

Different types of team members require different types of

4.3. Team composition competencies, although there is some overlap in requirements.
Overall team or group competency is also important. Therefore,
Different types of team members require different types of selection criteria are needed for both individual team members and
competencies, although there is overlap in those required. This teams. Each type of team member should be selected based on
section describes the various roles that must be played by PHA technical qualifications and personal characteristics, or attributes,
participants. They include: that are appropriate for each type of team member. It is useful to
define both critical and recommended attributes because ideal
 Leader/facilitator team members are unlikely to be found in the real world.

Prepares and organizes the study, guides the team in the use of
4.4.1. Team selection
the chosen PHA technique, manages the team and the study, and
This section provides some suggested overall criteria that should
prepares a study report.
be met by PHA teams. PHA teams necessarily must be multi-
disciplinary. Team members are needed who together can
 Scribe/technical secretary

Records PHA sessions and may prepare the study report under Table 1
the guidance of the team leader. Experienced team leaders may act Typical core and specialty PHA team members.
as their own scribe. Core team members Specialty team members

Design engineer Instrumentation/electrical

 Technical team members engineer
Process engineer Mechanical engineer
Brainstorm the identification of hazard scenarios. Identify Operator (cover inside and outside activities). Programmer
initiating events, intermediate events, consequences, safeguards, More than one may be needed
Maintenance technician or engineer. More than Inspection/materials
and enablers. Perform risk ranking and may identify recommen- one may be needed engineer
dations for risk reduction measures. There are two types of team Controls engineer Research scientist/chemist
members: Safety engineer Environmental engineer/
regulatory specialist
Quality assurance/quality
 Core team members
control specialist
Participate in the study on a full-time basis. Their involvement Human factors specialist
is critical to the success of the study. They help to achieve Industrial hygienist
consistency across study sessions. They may need to be present Industrial engineer
to satisfy regulatory requirements. Typical core team members Emergency responder

are shown in Table 1. Note: There can be some overlap between core and specialty team members.
154 P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158

provide the information needed to define the design intent Table 4. The team leader does not need to be a technical expert on
completely for a process including how it is operated, controlled the process under study and, arguably, should not be, as they would
and maintained. Suggested technical disciplines are shown in undoubtedly have mindsets about the process that could inhibit
Table 2. More than one person from the same technical discipline their independence in facilitating the study.
may be needed, e.g. operators, to reflect different levels of experi-
ence, ways of performing their jobs, attitudes, etc. Team members Scribe/technical secretary. Scribes must be able to under-
may cover more than one technical area if their expertise allows.
stand and accurately record the team discussions without inter-
Team dynamics are very important for an effective and efficient
fering with the process of conducting the PHA. Suggested positive
study and they are determined by the selection of team members.
technical and personal attributes for scribes are provided in Table 5.
Suggested criteria that should be met by PHA team members as a
Negative attributes are provided in Table 6. Young engineers are
group are:
often selected as scribes. They should not be someone whose input
to the PHA is critical.
 Collectively possess the knowledge and skill necessary to
identify hazard scenarios for the process.
 Be compatible and able to work together effectively. Technical team members. Team members must possess
 Be able to reach a consensus on PHA worksheet entries. technical knowledge in some aspect of the process, be able to
 Comply, individually and collectively, with applicable regulato- contribute that knowledge to the PHA team, and be capable of
ry, industry and/or company requirements. participating in the identification of hazard scenarios for the pro-
cess. Suggested positive technical and personal attributes for
A team should not consist entirely of people who know the technical team members are provided in Table 7. Negative attri-
process as groupthink can be a problem (Baybutt, 2013b). It is a butes are provided in Table 8. They apply to both core and specialty
good idea to have an independent senior engineer to challenge team members.
assumptions that otherwise would be made by the team and to
contribute knowledge that may not be possessed by the team. This Other personnel. Their technical and personal attributes are
role can be played by an independent experienced team leader.
similar to core and specialty team members.
It is not unusual for people to be included on a team for training
purposes to gain process knowledge and PHA experience. Other
people may be included for other purposes, such as a union shop Interpreter. Interpreters may provide interpretation
steward as an observer. Such people should not be relied upon as simultaneously, or on an as-needed basis. Owing to the effort
full team members and must not interfere with achieving the study involved, more than one interpreter may be needed. Interpreters
objectives. need a high level of technical ability and need to know technical
terms in the languages used. They must have high stamina owing to
4.4.2. Team member selection the intellectual effort involved and the durations of PHA sessions.
This section provides suggested criteria for each type of PHA
team member. There are various positive and negative attributes Table 3
for team members that influence their effectiveness as a team Positive attributes for PHA team leaders.
member. The criteria for positive attributes cover both technical
Technical Personal
qualifications and personal characteristics of participants which are
divided into critical and recommended categories. The criteria also Critical
Technical education Impartial in the evaluation
include negative attributes.
Formal training in PHA and leadership/ Organized
facilitation skills
Knowledge of and expertise in the PHA Seeks consensus Leader/facilitator. Team leaders must have a thorough
method to be used
technical understanding of PHA and excellent facilitation skills. Knowledge of regulatory, industry and High stamina
Suggested positive technical and personal attributes for team company requirements for PHA
leaders are provided in Table 3. Negative attributes are provided in Understands processes and their Able to focus on multiple items
operation quickly simultaneously
Reads engineering drawings and Respected by the team
Table 2 understands other process
Suggested technical disciplines for a PHA team. documentation easily
Motivational/interpersonal skills Friendly and cooperative
 Design engineering Communications skills Strong personality to control the team
- Knowledge of how the process is intended to operate and drive the study but not
- Knowledge of applicable standards, codes, specifications and regulations overbearing
 Process engineering People and project management skills
- Understanding of the process science and technology Recommended
- Ability to judge the adequacy of existing safeguards Experience as a team member Patient
 Process controls engineer No day-to-day responsibilities for the Able to read people
- Knowledge of the process instrumentation, controls, alarms and interlocks process being studied, e.g. the team
 Operations and maintenance leader should not be the process
- “Hands on” operating and maintenance experience engineer or the designer for the
- Knowledge of how the process responds to upsets process
 Safety engineering Not an expert on the process under Diplomatic
- Knowledge of process hazards, safety systems, relevant company policies study
 Other Imaginative
- Specialty technical areas Quick thinking
- PHA facilitation and recording Gently authoritative
- Quality control Able to help team members see
- Etc. matters in a new light
P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158 155

Table 4 In some fields of endeavor, aptitude tests and psychometric

Negative attributes for PHA team leaders. personality tests are used to assess individual competencies,
 Wants to participate in brainstorming particularly those relating to personal characteristics. However,
 Poor listener they are not yet employed routinely in selecting PHA participants.
 Insensitive to team members Behavioral observation and personality typing can be employed
 Projects sense of superiority
 Rushes the team
and are desirable for prospective team leaders. However, such
 Rushes to judgment methods may discourage participation in PHA studies by prospec-
 Biased tive technical team members. Reliance may need to be placed on
 Opposite of positive attributes prior knowledge of and experience with their personal
The assessment of competency should be correlated with sub- Site coordinator. Requirements for site coordinators are sequent task performance to validate the method used. The
straightforward. They need to be available for the duration of the assessment requires the use of metrics to gauge the performance of
study and should be well-connected within the company so as to be teams and participants. They are described in a later section. As-
able to procure whatever may be needed by the team. They should sessors should themselves be competent in assessing competency
be helpful and responsive to the team. as well as credible, consistent, and independent.

4.4.3. Practical considerations in selecting team members 4.7. Documentation of competency

There may be only one choice of person for a particular role on
the team, e.g. the process engineer. To the extent that the person Companies should formally designate personnel as meeting
does not meet the selection criteria, usually in their personal at- required competencies through documentation. Some participants,
tributes, the team leader needs to be ready to deal with any issues such as team leaders, should be certified or accredited by external
that may arise (Baybutt, 2013b). organizations owing to the importance of the role they play during
Often, the pool of core and specialty team members is limited, a PHA study.
thus preventing the selection of an ideal team and compromises
likely will be needed. Of course, the availability of personnel also 4.8. Maintaining competency
must be taken into account. The division of competencies into
critical and recommended categories assists in making Maintenance of competency by PHA participants should include
compromises. refresher or on-going training provided at a frequency based on the
anticipated deterioration in competency. The provision of PHA
procedures and requirements is also an important part of helping to
4.5. Development of competencies ensure tasks are performed consistently and correctly. Other forms
of assistance, such as supervision, coaching and job aids, should be
PHA participants must possess both technical and personal provided, as appropriate.
competencies. The ability to perform tasks competently can be
developed through training and experience. Competency for per- 4.9. Reassessing competency
forming a task is often developed through initial training followed
by coaching and supervision by experienced personnel combined Competencies should be re-assessed periodically, such as
with periodic refresher training. Thus, PHA team leaders can gain through re-examination and observation of performance by a
competency in the technical requirements of the position through qualified assessor. Actual performance may be reviewed, or other
attendance at suitable short courses, on-the-job mentoring by forms of assessments, such as demonstrations, may be used. The
more experienced PHA team leaders, and refresher training. Typi- frequency of reassessment should be based on the frequency of task
cally, technical team members develop their technical competency performance and the anticipated decay rate for competencies.
through job experience. Scribes and interpreters gain their tech- There must be suitable responses in the event of substandard
nical competency through training and practice. performance, for example, improvement in training, personnel
Competencies in personal attributes largely are inherent to the selection, etc. Reassessment also should be performed to qualify an
person and may be difficult to change, particularly in team mem- individual to return to a designated role on a PHA team after the
bers whose participation in PHA studies is a small part of their elapse of a significant time period.
overall job responsibilities. Team leaders who lead studies
frequently may be motivated to modify their personal attributes, at 4.10. Monitoring competency
least insofar as they are perceived by other team members during a
study. However, some behaviors are easier to change than others, Competency levels should be tracked over time in order to
for example, a team leader may be able to teach themselves to be a determine if systemic problems develop in the competency man-
better listener but they may have difficulty overcoming a tendency agement program and to permit continuous improvement. Such
to be impatient. tracking is facilitated by the use of performance metrics which can
be used to help gauge the effectiveness of PHA performance.
4.6. Assessment of competency
4.11. Defining and using performance metrics
Competency should be assessed before personnel are allowed to
participate in a PHA study. Methods used should be appropriate, The purpose of ensuring the competency of PHA participants
valid and reliable. Technical competencies and some personal and teams is to help ensure that PHA studies are performed
competencies, such as leadership skills, can be assessed by verbal or effectively and efficiently. In particular, they should identify hazard
written tests, demonstrations, and observation of task perfor- scenarios as thoroughly and completely as possible. Thus, metrics
mance. Other personal competencies, such as the ability to read for team performance are more meaningful than metrics for the
people, can be more difficult to assess. performance of individual team members.
156 P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158

Table 5 Table 8
Positive attributes for scribes. Negative attributes for PHA team members.

Technical Personal  Talkative  Will not let go of an issue

 Over-enthusiastic  Wants to go beyond the defined scope and objectives
for the study
Technically-oriented Able to establish a good working
 Argumentative  Promotes a personal agenda
relationship with the team leader
 Sarcastic  Poor attendance/punctuality
Understand the PHA process Responsiveness to the team leader
 Dominant  Uses offensive language
Expertise with the means used to record Attention to detail
 Arrogant  Brings other work to sessions
PHA sessions, typically software on a
 Skeptical  Opposite of desirable attributes
 Wants to control the
Good typing, spelling and grammar skills
Familiarity with terms and acronyms used Capable of being a helper for the
team leader, not just a recorder provide sufficient data to validate effective performance, the details
Knowledge of processes Good listener
of real-world incidents often are far more complex than can be
identified by PHA, and it is highly unlikely that any PHA study will
identify all possible scenarios owing to the difficulty of doing so.
Table 6 Hence, the unidentified incident rate is not a good measure of the
Negative attributes for scribes.
quality of a PHA study.
 Challenges the team leader for control of the team Possible metrics to judge the quality of a PHA, and indirectly the
 Makes worksheet entries before the team has reached a consensus effectiveness of a competency management program for PHA
 Plays with recording software
teams, include:
 Jumps around the worksheet unnecessarily
 Participates in the study at the expense of recording it
 Does not know or understand guidelines for worksheet entries  The average amount of time taken to identify a hazard scenario.
 Opposite of desirable attributes Values that are significantly lower or higher than the norm for a
particular company and type of process may indicate issues with
the competency of the participants. Of course, such de-
Table 7 terminations must be made in the context of each study.
Positive attributes for PHA team members.  The ratio of the number of hazard scenarios identified to the size
Technical Personal and complexity of the process using a suitable measure such as
capital cost, or an index representing the number and size of
Knowledge of and expertise in some Creative
each piece of equipment present. Significant deviations from
aspect of the process this ratio may indicate issues with the competency of team
Work with the process to be studied Good memory members. Of course, the measure used for size and complexity
Knowledge of codes, standards, Willing to participate of the process must be meaningful and consistent across
regulations and other requirements
that apply to their area of expertise
Able to read engineering drawings and Willing to listen to others  Number and type of departures from PHA guidelines governing
understand other process the study. They can be identified by peer review.
documentation  Number and type of findings from periodic audits. Audits may
Able to communicate technical issues identify omissions and deficiencies in PHA studies.
in their area(s) of expertise to other
team members
 Number and type of findings from audits of teams during the
Able to express themselves clearly performance of a PHA study, although the results are subjective
Open-minded and qualitative in nature and necessarily are based on a sam-
Unbiased pling of the PHA sessions actually conducted during a study.
Willing to tolerate a detailed and
thorough study
Committed to time required Metrics for the performance of individual team members are
Recommended more difficult to specify. Direct observation of team members in
Knowledge and experience with the Sense of ownership and responsibility action is required by an observer who is an expert PHA practitioner.
PHA method to be used for the process to help ensure their Checklists of desired attributes can be used to score performances
commitment and motivation for the
of individuals but the approach suffers from the subjective and
Logical qualitative nature of the results as for performance audits of the
Alert team as a whole. Also, the presence of an observer may influence
Patient the behavior of the PHA participants. When the need for corrective
Able to concentrate
action is identified, it may be straightforward, for example, an in-
Not afraid to express their opinion struction to a team member to be punctual, or it may be difficult, for
Not intimidated by working in group example, the need for a team member to avoid being
made up of different disciplines argumentative.
Pays attention All of these metrics require the application of expert judgment
Comes to the point quickly
to determine how meaningful they are in the context of a particular
PHA study. Such assessments are in their infancy and need further
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if all credible sce- development.
narios have been identified in a study. Some people may argue that
the occurrence of an actual incident that is not identified in a PHA 4.12. Certification of practitioners
study is an indicator that the study was not performed as well as
possible. However, catastrophic incidents, which are the type of Often, companies assume the competency of team leaders based
most concern in PHA, occur infrequently and not often enough to on the adequacy of their experience or training, possession of
P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158 157

certain qualifications, or the availability of a procedure for them to Successful completion of a written examination that meets
follow. Not only may these assumptions be invalid but also they are prevailing standards for tests of competency should be required.
insufficient to qualify a person to facilitate the performance of PHA University engineering degrees alone do not provide the level of
studies where people's lives are at stake. Sometimes PHA team knowledge or the skills to act as PHA team leaders. Consequently,
leaders are qualified on poor grounds, for example, they have read a attendance at continuing education courses is necessary for all
book on PHA, been a member or scribe for a study, or attended a prospective team leaders.
short course. Maybe they are just a team member who volunteers Certification should be provided and administered by an inde-
to lead a team in the absence of anyone else willing to do so. These pendent third party using a defined set of publicly-available stan-
may be useful attributes for a PHA team leader but they are not dards and certification criteria so that there is transparency in the
nearly sufficient to qualify a person to lead a study. process.
Owing to the importance of the role played by team leaders,
formal certification of their competency against a set of defined
criteria is desirable. Certification at different levels should be 4.13. Continuous improvement
possible. Novice practitioners without actual experience facilitating
a PHA need to be capable of certification at a low level so they can Competency management programs should be subject to
begin facilitating simple studies. Once they have actual PHA lead- continuous improvement. Performance metrics for PHA studies
ership experience, they can move to higher certification levels after should be monitored and ways sought not only to achieve tolerable
meeting criteria appropriate to each level. Companies should levels of performance but also to improve performance steadily
restrict the type of study facilitated according to the certification over time.
level of the leader.
Certification criteria should include:
5. Conclusions
 Academic qualifications
PHA studies play a critical role in process safety programs. They
A technical degree in a relevant discipline, or equivalent, will must be performed by competent practitioners. Both the compe-
demonstrate that the individual has the needed intellectual ca- tency of individual team members and the entire PHA team are
pacity and basic technical knowledge. Independent confirmation important. Participants and teams should be screened against
that the individual has earned the claimed qualifications is appropriate criteria to demonstrate their competency as part of a
essential. competency management program.
There are few formal regulatory requirements for team mem-
 Experience bers. Of course, PHA teams must comply with those requirements
that do exist but more detailed requirements are desirable owing to
Relevant on-the-job work experience provides a background the importance of PHA.
and knowledge that is useful for a team leader. Confirmation of the Competencies for PHA team members can be categorized as
claimed work experience by peers and/or supervisors should be technical and personal. Technical competencies include education,
required. experience, skills, and training. Personal competencies address
behavior, attitudes, etc. Competencies can be classified as critical
 Facilitation skills and recommended to assist in selecting team members in the real
world where ideal team members likely will not exist. Compe-
For higher certification levels, feedback on the performance of tencies were defined using this categorization and classification
the team leader in managing the team should be sought from team scheme for the key participants in a PHA study, specifically, team
members. Team members providing feedback should owe no alle- leaders, scribes and technical team members.
giance or obligation to the team leader to help ensure objectivity in Technical competencies can be developed through training,
the feedback provided. coaching, mentoring, supervision by experienced personnel, job
experience and practice. Competencies in personal attributes
 Work products largely are inherent to the person and may be difficult to change.
However, team leaders who facilitate studies frequently may be
For higher certification levels, examples of PHA studies facili- motivated to try and modify their personal attributes.
tated by the individual can be utilized to demonstrate competency. Competency assessment is an essential aspect of competency
Expert PHA practitioners should review the work products against management and involves such approaches as verbal or written
the PHA guidelines that were used to produce them to determine tests, demonstrations, observation of task performance, behavioral
their validity. observation, personality typing, and prior knowledge of behaviors.
Assessing technical competencies usually is easier than assessing
 Training personal competencies.
Competencies should be maintained, for example, through
Team leaders should have successfully completed appropriate refresher or on-going training, and re-assessed periodically, for
training courses recently. example, through examinations. Competency management pro-
grams should be subject to continuous improvement, for
 Professional references example, by monitoring performance metrics for PHA studies.
Metrics should be used for both individual and team
References should attest to the academic qualifications, expe- performance.
rience, work products and professional ethics of the individual. Owing to the critical role played by team leaders, they should be
certified formally using criteria that address academic qualifica-
 Examination tions, experience, facilitation skills, work products, training, pro-
fessional references, and examination.
158 P. Baybutt / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 151e158

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