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RR312 - Benchmarking employee supervisory processes in the chemical industry

The report details an assessment of the key inputs to and outputs from supervisory processes used in the chemical industry and the benchmarking of different forms of supervision in a crosssection of chemical companies. Discussions with representative bodies for the chemical industry and managers, supervisors and operators within a number of companies together with a literature review informed the development of a questionnaire in order to gather relevant data.

The study showed that a hierarchical style of company leadership was predominant and this was generally reflected in the use of non-working and working supervisors for both low and high risk activities. Lead operators and self-managed teams were deployed in only a small proportion of companies and were more likely to be used for low-risk activities. The choice of supervision process was affected by the size of the organisation, the level of operational risk and the competence of the management team and operators. Organisations were generally satisfied with the outputs from their current method of supervision. Although some organisations deployed self-managed teams, there was very little difference in the level of operator responsibility across the methods of supervision. Compliance with legislation and the ability to demonstrate effective risk control were perceived to be the most important factors affecting an organisation’s choice of supervision process.

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Updated 2010-03-19