Understanding Procedure Development in Nuclear Domain with Practice Theory

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Jari LaarniHanna KoskinenMarja LiinasuoTuisku-Tuuli SalonenSatu PakarinenKristian LukanderTomi Passi

Abstract: According to some estimates, a majority of the accidents in the nuclear domain have been associated with failures in the use of procedures. A traditional model of procedure design and usage is based on the idea that because procedures represent the best understanding people have of the way their work has to be conducted, safety results from operator following procedures in a conscientiousness manner. However, procedure guidance and operator competencies are not conflicting views, but something that are aligned in safe and efficient operator practices. According to these views, even though procedures are resources for action, they cannot guarantee safety as such, and people need skills to apply procedures successfully. Our aim is to build a better understanding of the procedure design practices in one Finnish nuclear power plant, and outline a Human Factors Engineering (HFE) framework for procedure design based on theoretical work and on ethnographic case study approach. Procedures are designed through a series of steps (i.e., task analysis, format selection, draft preparation, verification and validation, and approval for release). These steps are similar to the phases of the Human Factors Engineering Program Review Model (O’Hara et al., 2012), but procedure design is not always described in terms of HFE. The paper describes the development of a method for the analysis of procedure design practice and some examples of the application of the method. We monitor and follow up the procedure development from the kick-off meeting to verification and validation (V&V) and approval for release through an ethnographic approach. The procedure design process includes familiarizing ourselves with the company’s procedure design guidance, participating in design meetings, interviewing procedure writers, reviewing the draft versions of the procedure, and observing procedure V&V activities at the simulator. A toolkit to study practice at work is used (Nicholini, 2013), which is based on a palette of sensitizing research questions, the answers to which are sought by the above-mentioned methods of data collection.The research work is still in the beginning stages, with procedure writer interviews conducted. According to these interviews, procedure design process can be seen as a social practice which itself is under constant development. For example, even though procedure writing has mainly been deskwork, simulators and simulation models play an increasing role in procedure development. It is very difficult to imagine all possible sequences of events while working at desk; when you test the procedure in the simulator, it is possible to see how the events unfold in real world. Also, co-creation is nowadays a key concept in process development. In co-creation workshops, experts from different domains are involved and can participate in the design activities. Also, engagement of end-users was seen as very important, and feedback from end-users is nowadays increasingly collected and reviewed several times during the development process. ReferencesNicholini, D. (2013). Practice Theory, Work, & Organization. An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.O’ Hara, J. M. et al. (2012). Human Factors Engineering Program Review Model. NUREG-0711, rev. 3. Washington, D. C.: Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.

Keywords: Procedure design, human factors engineering, practice theory

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002216

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