21-22 March 2019 | Brisbane, Australia

© 2019  marcus evans

High Reliability Organisations (HRO) 2019 


Conceptualising the meaning of HRO and operationalising it in your business
• Nurturing capable leadership at all levels to manage a crisis when it occurs
• Establishing an organisational culture preoccupied with failure to avoid potential hazards leading to major incidents
• Setting in place safety systems and avoiding the simplification of processes that allow failure to occur
• Identifying anomalies and weak signals to reduce the number of actual errors that may take place
• Communicating business objectives and aligning all business departments with the organisational changes
• Developing the tools and audits necessary to qualify and quantify HRO practices

How do you conceptualise HRO for your company? 

Companies want to take their organisations to new levels of reliability by improving their safety management systems and leadership, but where do they start? 

marcus evans High Reliability Organisations (HRO) event is a 2-day
targeted training that will be taking you through the five HRO principals in a systematic and practical way, so that you can bring back new HRO strategies to your workplace. 

The event will address the importance of businesses being sensitive to the anomalies in their operations that could lead to major incidents on site. It will also cover key topics such as being preoccupied with the potential failure along your operating lines and how you can use near-misses as opportunities to further improve your practices. 

Some other key takeaways will also include developing your organisation’s leadership across all levels, front line management and how to improvise when an incident happens to ensure business continuity.


High Reliability Organisations 2019

What are the main components of a highly reliable organisation?

  • Mindful Leadership and collective understanding that people are not the problem, but rather a solution to safety and reliability problems. In HRO’s human factors are understood, as well as inevitability of human errors, which forms a path towards building the culture of ‘defences in depth’ with suitable redundancies and constant state of awareness about critical risk controls. HRO’s understand and promote culture where humans are primarily viewed as agents of successful recoveries rather than something in need of ‘fixing’ which is a fundamental factor HRO’s use to build and sustain the cultures of reporting and learning, free from suppressive and often obsessive fascination with safety related numerical goals and targets

  • HRO create and sustain a constant state of organisational situational awareness where every person understands that silence does not necessarily equal safety and whole organisation, especially at senior levels are constantly looking for signs of where the next ‘show stopper event’ will come from. Systems and processes are ‘tuned’ to warn and primarily measure proactive safety and reliability inputs rather than losses and injuries

  • HRO’s maintain constant oversight and systematic, mindful attention to critical operational proactive business inputs which create reliability and safety, with real time connectivity to front line operations

  • Ability to have flexible structures to ensure and empower critical operational decision making at operational levels and ensure key decisions are not hamstrung, but rather assisted by formal organisational hierarchy and stratum levels

  • In HRO there is an acute awareness that safety professionals are key players in ensuring critical incident information is communicated to senior executive and board levels undistorted. Their status reflects the status of senior operational decision makers in all areas, to make safety function important. Above all, senior HSE Managers have an ability and authority with corresponding accountability to ‘veto’ operational decisions that in their views are incorrect and likely to cause major issues. This is a fundamental and very clear indicator of the organisational culture as a upcoming or existing HRO

Could you highlight some of the dangers of oversimplifying reporting of outcomes/incidents?

  • Oversimplification of incidents and events, especially those that have resulted in negligible losses but have had potential to cause large consequences, or combine with other complexity and system elements primarily indicate spread from what begins with individual complacency to unconscious organisational complacency. Dangers in not having the systems, processes, knowledge and people able to ‘connect he dots’ and create and communicate this ‘risk meaning’ to senior decision makers are directly linked with experiences of fatalities and large organisational accidents. Having the culture where in absence of notable consequences, potential risk of incidents is not recognised as a significant alarm and acted on prevents the organisation form critical learning needed to guard and protect against catastrophic risks, with clear and often fatal consequences where at the same time the entire organisation is seemingly taken by surprise. HRO organisations act by investigating potential risks in fine detail with provision of adequate resources as they are acutely aware this is ultimately good business.

What would you say are necessary qualities in teams/team leaders to refocus strategies that are inclusive of HRO practices?

  • Proper understanding of human factors, especially causation of human errors. This knowledge has been available for a long time but industries have in the mains failed to spread it even amongst safety and risk professionals. This knowledge is absolutely critical in transforming the perceptions of senior decision makers on how people are seen in the complex interplay of organisational and environmental factors

  • Understanding at all levels that high reliability comes directly from safety and that organisation cannot move forward into HRO space by having the leadership and the workforce hanging on many fallacies traditional safety management approaches have provided over the years. Teams and their leaders need to be educated about risks and paradigm shift HRO’s and few other current safety and risk movements are providing, to be able to understand the step change and criticality of their roles on this journey

  • Courage and humbleness from the executive teams to be prepared to depart from known and familiar and lead their teams and the entire organisations on this journey in innovation and success, so clearly demonstrated by HRO organisations. Many HRO benefits are not necessarily associated with large initial expenditure and some are free, with the presence adequate leadership, vision and courage

What are some of the tools available/utilised to maintain HRO standards?

  • Presence of knowledgeable and dedicated HSE and HR professionals able to bridge the gaps between individual functions and jointly take organisation on HRO learning journey.
  • Key leadership, safety and risk training to maintain leadership knowledge and collective mindful practices. HRO’s are very focused on training and communicating their vision and knowledge which is what makes them so successful. Any journey towards HRO space requires mindful leadership
  • Proactive, well-designed and proactively tuned incident reporting and investigation systems and processes, inclusive of the concept of ‘multiple checkers’ so prevalent in HRO’s to ensure ultra-high oversight of incident learnings and practical implementation of those across all operations and departments
  • Various systems and processes to ensure just, learning and reporting culture such as decision matrices, employee forums, proactive risk and critical controls mapping and verifications and many others
  • Process safety human error detection analysis capable of delivering relatively accurate understanding of where errors are likely to occur and development of defences and redundancies

From your experience, could you share any tips/advice about effective contingency planning?

  • Contingency planning, just like leadership and business productivity begins in boardrooms. Effectiveness of contingency planning is critically dependent on the ability of senior decision makers to pay systematic attention to this very important part of doing the business. By asking the right questions from the top down as to how organisation guards and contains emergencies, leadership enacts the process that makes contingency planning an important process, worthy of dedicating time and resources. Without this attention from the top, most contingency planning is very small, restricted and not representative of organisational risks

  • Effective contingency planning requires concentrated approach from right subject matter experts but also those who work with risks. Cooperation and active involvement of the workforce is the key in obtaining the level of knowledge needed to develop and execute proper emergency planning and response. Run of the mill, generic crisis management systems and processes offered by many consultants are good but should only be applied in their entirety in organisations capable and ready of implementing them, otherwise a custom approaches are required

What would you want delegates to take away from your upcoming presentation?

  • Understanding that majority of mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, energy and many other non HRO industries have come far over the last several decades, on the tail ends of traditional safety, quality and reliability approaches and paradigms, some of which have been outdated and proven as inaccurate and ineffective in practice but are still vigorously applied. Anchoring to past approaches is the reason why forward progress in safety, reliability and loss control has been extremely difficult and answers to those issues lie in adoption of lessons already learned by organisations working in ultra-high risk space – HRO’s. For the best part, mainstream industries have failed to learn from HRO’s. Many organisations have been discouraged by inaccurate perception of high expenditure, necessity to be large and already financially successful and extreme difficulty needed to achieve HRO traits, which is not the case. HRO learnings can be successfully applied by any industry and organisation and at any cultural stage of their development, to improve safety reliability and sustainability towards ensuring safe profitability and positive public perceptions
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Goran Prvulovic
Director & Principal Consultant
RiskWise Solutions

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