The Development of an Individual Competence Assurance Framework at a Major Hazardous Installation
Nicholas, Robert John
University of Wales
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In 2004 Alpha Hydrocarbon decided to build a new hydrocarbon processing plant at a Greenfield site within the United Kingdom (UK). Given that large quantities of hydrocarbon would be stored and processed by the plant, it was deemed a major hazardous installation, as defined by the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH), as amended. One of the key requirements of this COMAH legislation is individual competence assurance. In 2006 it was noted by the Alpha Hydrocarbon senior management team that the development and implementation of the Competence Assurance Framework (ICAF), for all operations-based personnel, had not been executed for some unknown reason. It was evident that Alpha Hydrocarbon needed to embark on a process of planned organisation change, and the Researcher was recruited in the capacity of Management Consultant, in order to develop and implement an ICAF. A pragmatic research philosophy was adopted, this allowed for the use of knowledge to be utilized as a tool for action and change. In order to underpin this pragmatic philosophy I decided on an action research methodology, in order to achieve the desired change agenda within Alpha Hydrocarbon. This action research methodology is imbedded within the thesis structure. Drawing on the wider academic and practitioner literature the thesis examines the development and implementation of the ICAF. From an analysis of relevant literature a model was developed, which encompassed all aspects of individual competence assurance. In order to ensure the ultimate success of the ICAF it was necessary to develop and implement a wide range of learning and development interventions that in essence would underpin and support the developed ICAF. The implementation strategy focused on successfully achieving the desired change agenda in a structured, systematic and measured manner. Finally an evaluation methodology was developed and this was applied to both the development and implementation of the ICAF. The key output was to determine whether operational-based personnel had the correct degree of competence (skills, knowledge, attitude, behaviour), in order to operate a hydrocarbon processing plant facility safely, effectively and efficiently. The developed ICAF is of sufficient generalisability that it could be implemented within industry and commerce alike.
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