August 23, 2022
June 26, 2022
June 29, 2022
In response to chemical process incidents, the ABET criteria for chemical engineering programs has expanded to include an emphasis on the understanding of hazards associated with chemical processes. This requirement has oftentimes been met with a focus on system design and requirements. However, experts are coming to recognize that human error and judgements can be contributing factors in serious accidents. Poor judgements are a risk of individuals inaccurately predicting their actions, and engineers are not immune to these risks, especially when they are considering how to make tradeoffs with process safety criteria. Where engineers may believe to be prioritizing safety, their behaviors may demonstrate otherwise, which risks the well-being of others. For example, the Pryor Trust well blowout and Chevron refinery explosion may have both been exacerbated due to engineers inadequately making trade offs between safety and productivity demands. It is possible to minimize poor judgments caused by inaccurate predictions by reconciling self-held beliefs with actions actually taken.
The purpose of this paper is to describe a pilot study with five senior level engineering students that aims to facilitate understanding whether they have any gaps between their beliefs and behaviors regarding competing criteria in a process safety context. The project is driven by the following four research questions: 1) What do engineers believe about how they make judgements; 2) How do they behave when actually making judgements; 3) What gap, if any, exists between their beliefs and behavior; and 4) How do they reconcile any gap between their beliefs and behavior? To begin answering these questions, we will interview subjects on their beliefs using a semi-structured interview format. We will then obtain data on subjects’ actual behaviors through a recently developed process safety digital game, Contents Under Pressure. Finally, we will compare the subjects’ responses to similar dilemmas in both contexts to then generate a Gap Profile that provides a visual of differences, if they exist. Subjects will then be asked to reconcile their Gap Profile in a subsequent interview.
Bodnar, C., & Stransky, J., & Ritz, C., & Dringenberg, E., & Miskioglu, E. (2022, August), MIND THE GAP! …between engineers’ process safety beliefs and behaviors Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41904
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015