Challenges in building resilience engineering (RE) and adaptive capacity: A field study in a chemical plant

BMC Research Notes

Volume 2 - Number

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Safety issue in a chemical plant is absolutely critical because loss of control can result in a catastrophic consequence which is not limited to the boundaries of the plant. Thus, a risk assessment system is required for (a) preventing accidents by anticipation, (b) surviving disturbances by recovery, and (c) handling disruptive events by adaptation. RE is a proactive approach claiming to achieve all these objectives. The present research tries to identify challenges in the procedure of building RE and its adaptive capacity in a chemical plant. Primary data were collected through on-site observations and interviewing personnel. The results indicated the main challenges could be classified into nine categories of: lack of explicit experience about RE, intangibility of RE level, choosing production over safety, lack of reporting systems, 'religious beliefs', out-of-date procedures and manuals, poor feedback loop, and economic problems. Finally, it is concluded that the management insight about safety in such systems should avoid hindsight bias and tend to create foresight. Changing this insight can lead to achieve high reliability and resilience in the plant. (C) 2011 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.