Re: [SystemSafety] Competence Criteria for Safety Practitioners

From: Andrew Rae < >
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:36:05 +0100

We had a close look at the IET guidelines when we were discussing accreditation (for safety practitioners, but particularly with a view to accrediting courses) with SARS.

A quick answer:
· Is there a general need for competence guidelines for safety practitioners?
Not as such. There is a need for organisations to assess the competency of their staff, to know whether particular means of improving competency (eg training or education) are going to fill gaps, and for individuals to be able to acquire and demonstrate competency in a way that is transferable. The IET has never shown willing to take on this role, and guidelines independent of a proper competency scheme are always going to be overly vague and general.

· If you are familiar with the IET document: o Is it suitable in its current form?

No. The problems are numerous.

1st main problem:
It has a view of competency "levels" that is next to useful. The whole "supervised practioner", "practitioner", "Expert" idea is unworkable in a field where what is important is the ability to conduct specific tasks competently. To avoid any other controversy, let's take an imaginary technique of "flobbing".
  Can I flobb?
  Can I write guidelines on how to flobb or teach others how to flobb?   Can I act as an informed customer of flobb?   Can I review flobbs?

These are all separate competencies, acquired and demonstrated in separate ways.

2nd main problem:
It doesn't adequately recognise that any safety practitioner role really has three separate competency sets:

   Competency generic to the practice of safety (e.g. most safety management skills fall here)

   Domain knowledge
   Knowledge of safety techniques particular to the domain

A competency scheme needs to avoid setting out the particular competencies relevant for a particular role, because they all have a different subset of each of these, but it can't ignore the master list of competencies or it is useless as guidance.

o Does it need to be revised?
Not unless the IET is genuinely willing to get involved in safety competency development and accreditation. Non-players shouldn't be offering advice to players. This isn't to say that IET involvement wouldn't be welcome, but the willingness of some individuals associated with IET has never been backed by a commitment at the organisation level.

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University of York disclaimer:

On 18 July 2014 12:13, Carl Sandom <carl_at_xxxxxx

> In 1999 the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in
> collaboration with the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and British
> Computer Society (BCS) published the “*Competence Criteria for
> Safety-Related System Practitioners*”. This work was revised in 2007 and
> published only as a PDF download. The principal purpose of the document
> is to help safety practitioners assess and maintain the competence of their
> engineering staff. The IET are currently developing a business case with a
> view to revising these guidelines and it will be seeking wide consultation
> and clarity on approach, format, etc.
> Initially, the IET want to determine the general opinion of safety
> practitioners on this topic. Does anyone on this list have a view on the
> following broad questions?
> · Is there a general need for competence guidelines for safety
> practitioners?
> · If you are familiar with the IET document:
> o Is it suitable in its current form?
> o Does it need to be revised?
> · Are you aware of any other safety competence guidelines?
> Best Regards
> Carl Sandom
> iSys Integrity Ltd.
> _______________________________________________
> The System Safety Mailing List
> systemsafety_at_xxxxxx >

The System Safety Mailing List
systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Fri Jul 18 2014 - 16:36:23 CEST

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