High Reliability Organisation
We ensure your organisation avoids catastrophic events.
A High Reliability Organisation (HRO) is an organisation that has succeeded in avoiding catastrophes in an environment where normal accidents can be expected due to risk factors and complexity. A high reliability organisation is one such organisational approach to achieving safety, quality, and efficiency goals. At the core of HRO is a culture of collective mindfulness, in which all workers look for, and report on, small problems or unsafe conditions before they pose a substantial risk to the organisation and when they are easy to fix.
HRO theory flowed out of Normal Accident Theory, which led a group of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley to study how organisations working with complex and hazardous systems operated error free.
Why High Reliability Organisation?
Some types of system failures are so devastating that they must be avoided at almost any cost. These classes of events are seen as so harmful that they disable the organisation, radically limiting its capacity to pursue its goals, and could lead to its own destruction or at minimum impacting the organisational effectiveness.
The Value Propositions
Preoccupation with failure.
HROs prioritise both reliability and performance and consensus about the goals across the organisation. HROs find an appropriate balance between both productivity and safety goals and “consensus about these goals is unequivocal”. HROs are said to have a preoccupation with failure that enables them to remain sensitive to the possibility of failure.
Adoption in both a decentralised and centralised operation.
HROs promote a culture of reliability in simultaneously decentralised and centralised operations. HROs find a way for centralisation based on the collective level to coexist with decentralisation at the individual level, by exhibiting an adaptive, flexible, or ‘organic’ nature.
Maximise the learning from accidents, incidents and near misses.
HROs maximise the learning from accidents, incidents and near misses. HROs believe that errors, incidents and near misses provide a potential for understanding. They tend to treat errors as windows that reveal the status and health of the system. People in HROs are reluctant to simplify explanations and are wary of interpreting information out of context. HROs are conscious of the labels, clichés and categories that can prevent them from exploring events deeply. Even though the costs of failure may be high, learning from trial and error is impracticable. HROs compensate by using “imagination, vicarious experiences, stories, simulations, and other symbolic representations of technology and its effects” as a substitute.
Extensive use of redundancy.
HROs make extensive use of redundancy. Reserve capacity allows systems to cope with unexpected circumstances. Redundancy is developed by duplicating technologies (e.g. backup computers) or people (e.g. more than one person can perform a critical task). Time is also regarded as an important resource, and a reserve is added to the decision-making process, enabling those involved to assess the effects of their decisions first, without affecting the overall system. In this way, the potential consequences of faulty decisions may be understood before they escalate into major failure.
High Reliability Organisations (HROs) are organisations that achieve safety, quality, and efficiency goals by employing 5 central principles.
How We Do It
We support your organisation by guiding and strengthening the implementation process of HRO. We can develop your processes across the 8 frameworks to support what practices can commonly be improved. These complementary practices are meant to be applied across implementation strategies to strengthen the overall delivery of HRO.
Sensitivity to operations.
Heightened awareness of the state of relevant systems and processes.
Reluctance to simplify.
The acceptance that work is complex, with the potential to fail in new and unexpected ways.
Preoccupation with failure.
To view near misses as opportunities to improve rather than proof of success.
Deference to expertise.
To value insights from staff with the most pertinent safety knowledge over those with greater seniority.
Commitment to resilience.
To prioritize emergency training for many unlikely but possible system failures.
We are a specialised risk management consultancy implementing the latest technologies and best practices for businesses to manage their risks, build their business resilience and accelerate their growth.
The Vision of Eagle Edge is to be the catalyst for risk transformation, resilience creation and growth acceleration of our client's enterprise value. We turn risks into opportunities.
A centre of excellence.
The HRO model establishes rigorous reliability protocols in the corporate centre, but each local site is responsible for demonstrating its adherence to processes and procedure. This archetype works well for organisations whose assets are uniform and where there is little variability or change in the production process.
For HRO a central team designs, implements, and enforces the reliability programs and standards throughout locations. This approach works well for industries or companies that are very process-oriented and where there are distinct differences between production or operating facilities. In such companies, strong oversight is needed. There is a high risk of catastrophic failure, and repeat failures are unacceptable. A top-down approach ensures all facilities and businesses comply with corporate reliability standards.
Local entities define reliability standards and practices and are responsible for reliability outcomes. Technicians conduct tests and file reports to central reliability teams with the help of process engineers. In some cases, reliability work is outsourced. Such an approach is well-suited to decentralised businesses where no two sites are alike, either in their culture, operating environment, or both.
With the HRO model, local operations define the reliability program, but the corporate centre tracks, and has ultimate responsibility for, outcomes. The central office often develops KPIs for use enterprise wide. This model is effective for businesses whose products vary considerably and which require relatively tailored processes across facilities (such as pharmaceutical companies). The hybrid structure makes sense, given the strong local leadership that can be relied upon to carry out reliability without direct responsibility for outcomes. Crucial prerequisites include either having strong, local reliability processes and capabilities, or having other robust processes and strict metrics that reinforce reliability excellence, such as through quality control.