It is common knowledge that communication between people is prone to error but companies do not always recognise this when they analyse their safety and reliability incidents. However, reference to the Piper Alpha tragedy in which 167 people shows that simple break downs in communication during very normal operational activities such as shift handover and permit to work can be very significant. Also, when things start to go wrong the complexity and uncertainty makes communication particularly difficult and may contribute to escalation of a small incident to something more serious. Identifying safety critical communication, determining how it happens in practice in all circumstances allows suitable systems to be put in place to manage the risks.
We understand the way people communicate with each other at work and can help you to identify how it affects your safety and reliability. We recognise that communication errors cannot be eliminated but that supporting people to communicate effectively can significantly reduce the risks. Our approach is focussed on systems that are practical to implement, rather than relying on purely behavioural approaches that are far more complex to manage and very difficult to sustain over the longer term.