Guidance on ensuring safe staffing levels

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  • Published: December 2021
  • REF/ISBN: 9781787253025
  • Edition: 1st
  • Status: Current

This document is freely available to all registered users of this site.

Ensuring there are an adequate number of competent people available when required to perform safety critical tasks is a key element of assuring safe operations. Operational problem solving, decision making, judging, analysing, remaining vigilant and performing tasks all require to have a sufficient number of competent people available when and where required. High task workloads and inadequate staffing, and the effects these have on human performance, fatigue and decision making, have been cited as causes of major accidents.

This publication focuses on determining safe operational and maintenance staffing levels for both normal operations and emergency response as well as different stages of operational life cycle (commissioning, steady state operations and decommissioning). It also addresses related issues of shift structures, supervisory staffing levels and staffing level risk controls such as task simplification, succession planning and job design.

Staffing level is concerned with ensuring the correct number and type of personnel are in post for all tasks. This publication assists with:
recognising staffing level issues; understanding the importance of adequate staffing levels to safe operations; choosing assessment methods for determining staffing levels; recognising associated issues of shift systems and numbers of supervisory staff; identifying staffing level risk controls, and assessing the adequacy of the approach to achieving safe staffing levels.

This publication provides generic guidance applicable across different types of energy and related industries and both small and large businesses. Each business should develop its own specific policies and procedures. The guidance in this publication is given in the context of process safety and major accident prevention. It is equally relevant to personal/occupational safety.

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