Spot the Hazard! A cultural extension of hazard identification training


  • Robert F. Wasileski

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    1. NOVA Chemicals, Inc., U.S. Operating Center, 1550 Coraopolis Heights Road, Moon Township, PA 15108
    • NOVA Chemicals, Inc., U.S. Operating Center, 1550 Coraopolis Heights Road, Moon Township, PA 15108
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Hazard identification training (HIT) programs have been used in the chemical processing industry to raise awareness with employees on what constitutes a process hazard and techniques for identifying these hazards. Quite often these HIT programs will deliver the course material to the participants as classroom instruction, computer-based training, organized field reviews, or a combination of these formats. These presentations tend to be one-time efforts or cyclic programs that reach the target audience on some periodic basis (e.g., triennially). Although the content of the course material may be educational, these programs often have limited success because of their inability to make a lasting impression with the participants. Organizational and personnel changes, employee turnover, vanishing corporate memory, and shifting priorities can all have an undermining effect on the well-intended efforts of traditional HIT programs. The challenge thus becomes finding ways to keep the knowledge both relevant and current, to effect lasting cultural change in a dynamic environment.

This article presents a unique HIT program known as “Spot the Hazard,” which uses the facility's intranet to reinforce the concepts taught in the classroom. Spot the Hazard blends photographic examples and technical knowledge with aspects of behavior modification. The photographs that are presented have not been staged and thus are germane to the employees. The inherent on-going nature of the program ensures the knowledge remains current, while at the same time it provides a platform for making a positive cultural change.

The concepts of Spot the Hazard are explained in greater detail in the current article, along with a representative number of actual examples. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2009