B&W Pantex: Work-as-Imagined versus Work-as-Done

(Editor’s Intro) To continue our ΔW theme (work as imagined versus work as done) I’m pleased to introduce our next guest blogger, Kimbel Leffew, Human Performance Program Manager for the Pantex Plant.  Kimbel is a Certified Environmental Trainer (CET) with 17 years experience in environmental occupational safety and health, and integrates the HPI efforts with the Pantex High Reliability Organization activities.  She is also the Co-Chair of the EFCOG Human Performance Improvement Task Group.  Before joining Pantex, Kim taught in the Texas public school system.  Thank you Kim for this blog!

B&W Pantex:  Work-as-Imagined versus Work-as-Done

In April 2009, the ISM Department made a decision to begin narrowing the gap between work-as-imagined versus work-as-done at the shop floor level.  The HPI Program Manager met with Senior Managers to discuss and implement computer-based HRO/HPI training along with an enhanced exercise for 1st Line/Section Managers to begin this process of looking at their work areas and focusing on keeping the most important thing important.  The commitment was to ensure that HRO and HPI concepts that were presented to these managers as being necessary to successfully strive to become an HRO were indeed attempted and proven successful at Pantex before being encouraged for adoption by other external organizations.  Key components of the Implementation Plan are provided below.

B&W Pantex Top-Down HRO & HPI Commitment and Planning

Because undertaking a Plant-wide HRO/HPI effort continues to be challenging, Pantex is devoting the proper time to develop a recommended strategy for senior leadership and others in management, grounded on the fundamentals of high reliability theory and coordinated to gain a common understanding of the logic supporting the path forward and to enable all to provide input on an integrated approach with HPI.

HRO & HPI Implementation

The key components in the success of the work-as- imagined versus work-as-done implementation effort are being proactive through education, consulting and mentoring, and integration of HPI into the HRO process.

  • Key to the success of a Plant-wide HRO effort is first establishing a strong foundation through educating leadership.  In light of this, all Senior Managers, Department Managers, and 1st Line/Section Managers from both PXSO and B&W Pantex will have been exposed to HRO and HPI concepts by the end of FY 2010.  Currently, all managers have completed at least 8 Hours of HPI fundamentals training.
  • Currently, 1st Line/Section Managers will have completed Computer-based training consisting of an introduction to HRO attributes and HPI Supervisory Tools for use at the shop floor level by FY 2010.  These tools include INPO’s Human Performance Tools for Workers, Barrier Analysis Matrix and its use, and establishing effective corrective actions based upon the error mode of the worker.
  • After completion of the computer-based training, 1st Line/Section Manager are required to perform an HPI Evaluation Worksheet in their respective work environment to make a process improvement by working with at least 2 of their employees on issues or problems.  They are given 90 Days to complete the tasking.  This tasking is tracked until completion by the ISM Department in the Pantex issues tracking system.
  • The ISM Department reviews each HPI Evaluation Worksheet submitted by the 1st Line/ Section Manager.  If the supervisor/manager is successful in demonstrating their proficiency by initiating and completing the process improvement on the HPI Evaluation Worksheet, a course completion document is submitted to training.  If they are not successful in this endeavor, coaching and mentoring is provided by the ISM Department to encourage success.
  • Next it is essential to help the various organizations to define their plans and implement the desired HRO/HPI concepts through consulting and mentoring.  Since HPI is an integral component of the HRO process, the HPI effort at Pantex has been integrated into the HRO effort.  HRO Training for Section Managers and 1st Line Supervisors has also been launched.  This 4 hour training class provides critical insight to these managers of what their pinnacle event can truly be and how to protect the plant from the worker using the break-the-chain concept along with HPI tools including performing a barrier analysis.  It also provides a basic understanding of Schein’s perspective on culture and how it applies to these supervisors in their work environment.
  • After completion of the 4 Hour HRO training, 1st Line/Section Manager are required to perform an HRO Performance Evaluation Worksheet in their respective work environment to define their pinnacle event and ensure that proper barriers are in place to protect the plant from the worker.  They are also tasked to begin looking at cultural attributes that help sustain the Break-the-chain or degrade it.  This tasking is done with approval by the Department Managers.  They are given 90 Days to complete the tasking.  This tasking is tracked until completion by the ISM Department in the Pantex issues tracking system.  This tasking will be completed by FY2010.
  • The ISM Department reviews each HRO Performance Evaluation Worksheet submitted by the 1st Line/ Section Manager.  If the supervisor/manager is successful in demonstrating their proficiency by initiating and completing the process improvement on the HRO Performance Evaluation Worksheet, a course completion document is submitted to training.  If they are not successful in this endeavor, coaching and mentoring is provided by the ISM Department to encourage success.

HRO Feedback – Organizational Learning

To have an effective HRO, continued learning and feedback on the transition success and the effectiveness of HRO programs is essential.  Feedback can come in the form of learning from continued CFA investigations, extracting Lessons To Be Learned from past CFA Investigations, assessing the Pantex safety culture, understanding and improving performance indicators and conducting barrier analyses.

Process Focusing, Leaning, and Streamlining to Enhance the Pantex HRO

To support continued HRO improvement, individual processes and the HRO system as a whole will continue to be leaned and streamlined while focusing on preventing the undesired pinnacle event(s).  The primary components of this effort include process mapping, process focusing, process leaning, and process streamlining.

HRO & CFA Communications

To be effective, the HRO framework will require both an internal and external communication effort to make people aware of the HRO progress at Pantex and to make outside organizations aware of the resources that are available to them.

HRO & CFA Applied Research & Development

Pantex does not have an organizational behavior research and development capability to develop and test applied HRO research ideas to find new and better ways to implement the HRO practices to improve reliability.  Hence, Pantex will establish and cultivate partnerships with various entities (universities, DoD, other HROs, etc.) that can continue to help Pantex grow and learn as an organization to provide new ideas to enhance Pantex’s HRO efforts.  Pantex will also benchmark other high consequence operations to learn from their experiences and successes.

HRO Section Manager Evaluation Worksheet (Machining Incident Example)

HPI Evaluation Worksheet with signature page

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2 Responses to B&W Pantex: Work-as-Imagined versus Work-as-Done

  1. Mike Smart says:

    Kimbel,
    One question I have been meaning to ask you is, “Do you ask all employees to do a barrier analysis in their respective areas of work? Or, do you typically ask 1st Line Supervisors to perform this task and then rely on their interaction with the employees under their direction to identify their defenses in depth?” I am curious as we are preparing to do this and I am trying to make it as productive as possible.
    Thank You,
    Michael R. Smart, MA Ed.
    HPI Specialist
    AMWTP
    Idaho National Labs

  2. Bill Roege says:

    I really like this article and the methodology. I thought the example analysis was particularly effective.

    I would be interested in whether you are trending the results the managers bring in to point out the commonalities across your site.

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