This paper outlines how important is to have an efficient Training Matrix in Chemical and Petrochemical companies. To ensure high performance in Process Safety, it is essential to have teams highly trained ready to take action and make great decisions. The high level of human performance is an important aspect of any training program. Process Safety goes beyond of compliance with minimum requirements of legal policies. An efficient Process Safety Management (PSM) can assure both high performances in preventing Process Safety Incidents and saving money for the company. To have a PSM program as described, companies have to define what their employees need to know to perform their specific roles successfully and how deep they need to go in each subject. In other words, it is important to have a Tridimensional Training Matrix. Skills development should take place in all parts of an organization, but not everyone needs to know everything deeply.
Focusing on continuous improvement in the processes, companies need to define the proficiency level of their employees in different positions and roles, as well as the applicability of knowledge acquired in training in each position/role. It is also important knowing the difference between positions and roles. A role can be performed by different positions, for instance, a Process Engineer (position) could be the Process Safety Focal Point (role). Knowing this is important to set the mandatory competences for positions and critical roles in Process Safety and preventing to overwhelm some employees with lots of roles decreasing their productivity. A Tridimensional Training Matrix is composed by positions/roles, trainings/courses and proficiency levels. The combination of these three dimensions leads to an effective and lower cost training program. It is also important to define which trainings in which proficiency levels could be taken on the Online Basis to reduce costs with classroom trainings.
Finally, it is also important to define when the training should be taken, if it is a new employee training or a refresh one which needs to be taken in a specific time interval. In conclusion, creating a Tridimensional Training Matrix is complex and challenging, but having this tool will improve the performance of the employees and the entire company.INTRODUCTION
An important element for Process Safety Management, as discussed in this paper and referenced in Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety, is the Process Safety Competency element. Related to the RBPS pillar of committing to process safety, this element deserves a careful looking, as a main basis for the organizational process safety culture establishment, development and continuous improvement. Associated with the element Training and Performance Assurance, Process Safety Competency element brings the core requirements and concerns for organizations to manage PS knowledge through all functions and levels. Indeed, the PS competency is a so wide subject that CCPS also developed a specific guideline for Defining Process Safety Competency Requirements.
Guidelines for RBPS says that “developing and maintaining process safety competency encompasses three interrelated actions:
(1) Continuously improving knowledge and competency;
(2) Ensuring that appropriate information is available to people who need it, and;
(3) Consistently applying what has been learned”.
The main challenge is to achieve excellence on this management, considering the needs to deliver the right amount of useful knowledge and the adequate charge of information, which means defining which skills might be developed and how deep this development is required to which organizational role or function. The difference between role and function is also a sensitive concept that the company may engage. Information must be available to be consulted whenever necessary, but also shall be formally delivered on specific periods of time and as deep as needed according to the role played by those who are receiving the information. That is why develop a tridimensional training matrix is a very interesting strategy, as this model clearly define who needs the information, in which frequency, and proficiency level, regarding that “only competent people can transform information into knowledge, (…) which helps organizations understand and manage risk and remain competitive.” (Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety).
This paper aims to propose a way to develop tridimensional training matrixes in Chemical and Petrochemical companies as an important tool to pursuit high performance in Process Safety. A methodology is proposed and references and results are discussed to give ideas on how to implement a tridimensional training matrix for development of PS competency and culture.
To build an effective Tridimensional Training Matrix, it is important to do some research and stablish some definitions at the first place. A Training Matrix needs to be objective and fit the company needs. It is important to start the process with the goals and the level of company’s Process Safety Culture in mind.
This session will present a process flow which could be adopted in order of building a Tridimensional Training Matrix for Process Safety Competency (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – Building a Tridimensional Training Matrix Step-by-Step
In this section, an example of a Tridimensional Training Matrix proposal is presented (Figure 2) and is composed by these three dimensions: trainings/courses, positions/roles and proficiency levels. The Figure 2 represents an initial Tridimensional Training Matrix which can be developed according to the maturity level and needs of the company.
Regarding the dimension of training, this matrix proposal is divided into four different kinds, based on the CCPS pillars: Commit to process safety, Understand hazards and risk, Manage risk and Learn from experience.
The benefit of this division is that the company will be able to easily evaluate or focus on the strategic pillar it needs the most. Then the company can improve its process safety culture for further maintenance these four pillars strongest.
For the dimension of functions and roles, this matrix proposal is divided into some examples of areas: Manufacturing; Environment, health and safety; Engineering; Lab; Administrative/ Managers.
For each area, the functions and roles are organized per hierarchy levels. It is important to include all workers involved directly or indirectly to the theme, and managers and directors who make important decision regarding process safety.
According to CCPS (“Guidelines for Defining Process Safety Competency Requirements”), the dimension of proficiency levels can have five different degrees:
- Awareness: is generally aware of the topic and associated terms. May not know the answer, but knows where to get more information.
- Basic knowledge: has general working knowledge of the topic. Has basic training required to perform general tasks related to the role.
- Practitioner: can execute specific tasks within the topic with minimal direction. Has the experience levels to complete assigned tasks. Is typically an engineer or manager.
- Expert: is a recognized expert with extensive knowledge and skills. Has specialized training or certification which may be required for certain tasks.
- Leader: is responsible for implementation of a PSM element or activity. Knowledgeable of the subject matter, may be a subject matter expert, but that is not required. Coordinates all resources and assigns tasks to ensure effective implementation of the topic.
To exemplify this dimension, this proposed matrix was designed considering trainings in three different levels:
- Level 1: One who takes this kind of training will be on the basic knowledge proficiency level;
- Level 2: One who takes this kind of training will be on the practitioner proficiency level;
- Level 3: One who takes this kind of training will be on the leader proficiency level.
For those functions and roles whose training is not required, the matrix defines it as Not Required (NR).
Depending on the maturity level of the company, it could there be more or less number of training levels.
Figure 2 – Example of Tridimensional Training Matrix Proposal
As the maturity level of the company in process safety increases, the matrix can be developed. It can include information like the kind of training (e-learning or in class), the number of training hours per proficiency level, the recurrence, the level required of the trainer, and the way the efficacy is measured.
Training and performance assurance, and process safety competency, are the elements of a risk-based process safety management system (RBPSMS) that present themselves as a product delivered through a training matrix. A complete training matrix gathers the expected competency level information for functions and roles, planned trainings to achieve these levels of knowledge, capacity to skills development, and individualized training practices (eg mentoring or coaching) to develop attitudes. The set of “knowledge, skills and attitudes” that forms the competence can be described in levels for each one of the elements of this set; for each element, trainings, capacity and practices can be applied at different levels to reach the desired levels of the elements that make up the competences. A three-dimensional matrix makes it easy to visualize these levels of each element of competence and how they are planned to be achieved.
People play functions and roles within organizations. A three-dimensional training matrix ensures that not only the competencies of the functions will be planned to be maintained, but also the competencies of the roles. Depending on the complexity of the roles, the three-dimensional training matrix can help in determining the level of competence that a function must have to take on a particular role simply by identifying the competencies envisaged for both a function and a role. In addition, by identifying the persons occupying these functions and roles, the three-dimensional training matrix also enables one to identify whether the distribution of roles is appropriate for the available human resources, and the gaps between the installed competencies and the desired competencies.
The training matrix should provide recycling. However, recycling should consider:
- Risk associated with the activity: activities of greater risk or greater impact in the RBPSMS should consider more frequent recycling;
- Frequency and complexity with which the activity is performed: activities performed less frequently, or more complex activities, should consider more frequent recycling;
- Legal requirements applicable to the activity, for example for recertification;
- Recycling strategies (re-training? Workshops? Re-evaluation or recertification?);
- Results of efficacy evaluation (as discussed below).
Efficacy assessments should be conducted on a regular basis to identify whether training initiatives, training and practices are meeting their objectives, or whether it is necessary to reapply the same initiatives, or only provide recycling, or even modify form or content (or both) these initiatives. The training matrix will provide only the scheduled recycling. The efficacy assessment may conclude that it is necessary to change the recycling schedule. In addition, it should be borne in mind that recycling is one of the possible actions within the scope of competence training, and that in individual cases it may be necessary to take actions outside the scope of competence training (eg by assigning another person to assume the function or role).
The trainings listed in a training matrix need not be presential. Considering the availability of technology and resources, distance training or electronics can reduce the realization costs of training and capacity building. However, an evaluation of the content should be done to identify where e-learning can be employed without compromising the desired results. Since training is only one of the initiatives that can be used to gain competence, it is necessary to assess whether other initiatives are able to cover the gaps in content eventually left by distance or electronic training, so that the goal can be achieved. Again, efficacy assessment is crucial to determining such compliance with objectives.
Finally, it is important to discuss the complexity of the elaboration of such a three-dimensional matrix considering the complexity of the organization. Although the three-dimensional matrix’s method of elaboration is simple, if it is applied to an organization with many functions and roles and dealing with significant risks, the matrix will be complex. Such an organization should not decide to construct the matrix of all its functions and roles from the first version. Instead, it should start with the functions and roles of dealing with the most critical risks, and then move on to the others until it get to the full model. On the other hand, people in a company with fewer functions and roles may think that the traditional training matrix model suffices because of the simplicity of their business. But even for simpler business, using a three-dimensional matrix allows the (few) functions and roles of a simpler business to have only the skills they need to have. That is, using three-dimensional training matrices avoids wasting resources while preventing people from being driven to possess skills they will not use because they are exposed to initiatives that far outweigh the needs of the business.
Based on what has already been explained so far, it is noted that the challenge of developing, maintaining and strengthening the competencies of Process Safety employees at the most varied levels of an organization is a challenging task, sometimes complex and incessant, since it is necessary to evaluate several factors such as: role played by the employee, workload, proficiency level for each function, applicability, mode of execution, legal requirements, effectiveness and cost.
The execution of the training should follow a planning, so that the development of the employees reaches the level expected by the organization in Process Safety, generating changes in their behavior, making it more qualified and, consequently helping the organization to make better decisions, based on reducing the likelihood of accidents and also reducing the costs associated with their consequences. This planning also ensures that training will not be given indiscriminately, but only for that target audience for which it has been shown there is a competency gap that can be remedied by training (or other initiative in the training of competence).
The development and application of a three-dimensional training matrix allows and facilitates this planning to be put into practice in an organized way, and may even help in the measurement of some indicators, such as percentage of fulfillment in training, management of organizational changes, among others. The application of a three-dimensional matrix also allows to optimize the costs with the formation of competences, structuring the application of initiatives focused on the existing gaps.
However, it is worth emphasizing that depending on the size of the organization, the three-dimensional matrix can become quite complex, being more efficient to subdivide it into departments, making it more feasible.
 CCPS (2014). Diretrizes para Segurança de Processo Baseada em Risco. 1 ed. Rio de Janeiro: Interciência  CCPS. Guidelines for Defining Process Safety Competency Requirements. Center for Chemical Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York, 2015 [3 ]CCPS. Guidelines for Risk Based Process Safety. Center for Chemical Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York 2007  CCPS. Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety. Center for Chemical Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York, 2012.
About the author(s)
The authors of this paper are the professionals of the first Process Safety Post Graduation Course coordinated by RSE Consulting company inpartnership with Jardins University.
Americo Diniz Carvalho Neto ;Vitor Rafael Velame Silva Santos; Thaiane Almeida Duarte; Mario André De Oxossi Santos; Antônio Vinicius Neves; Ana Carolina Almeida; Ana Caroline Teixeira Trindade; Marconi Maynart Rocha; Clemens Machado Costa Junior; Paula Franco Brandão; Cristina Maretti Dias; Maria Clara De Albuquerque; Jemima Carneiro Brito Mendonça; Alex Alves França; Marileide Florencia Conceição Campos; Fabiano Fiscina De Santana; Miller Martins Lima Gonzaga; Filipe Cerqueira Aguiar; Osnan Sampaio Gomes; Antonio Ribeiro Monteiro; Isadora Martins Santos Corrêa; Mariene Salatiel Oliveira; Ludmila Lopes De Souza; Milena Lemos Pithon Martins Da Silva.