My career path so far...
As well as being a chartered Human Factors Specialist, I am also a chartered chemical engineer and a qualified HR practitioner & trainer. I have worked with people at all organisational levels. Throughout my career, I have provided technical solutions as well as support and guidance around people management issues. I like to work with people and want to deliver solutions that work for everyone.
I have also delivered training in a number of businesses and I chaired the Science Industry Apprenticeship Consortium – Yorkshire and the Humber (SIAC – YH) as we started to address the government changes around apprenticeship structures and funding.
Having a mix of technical understanding and people management experience has helped me to develop and implement the Human Factors strategy when working for an Upper Tier COMAH site. Now working for myself, I use that experience to support my clients with their Human Factors projects.
After graduating from Aston University with a degree in Chemical Process Engineering, I worked as a Chemical Engineer for an engineering consultancy; completing process design tasks, liaising with clients and suppliers, and conducting commissioning activities. During this period, I spent some time at Sellafield as part of the commissioning team on the THORP project, taking it from the construction phase to full operation. I then moved to the Humber Bank to a multinational Upper Tier COMAH site as they started a major expansion project, working in a Technical Support and Process Engineering role. It was very rewarding to see the designs that we developed come through the various design stages to construction and then leading the commissioning team to take it into production. Moving into the Operations team, I provided day to day direction and support for the shift team. After another move back into long term strategic project development, and balancing the demands of working part time with raising a family, I got involved in setting up a training scheme for the process engineers on site.
As a result of the work I’d done with the engineering training scheme, I was offered a secondment as a Senior HR Representative providing generalist HR support across the site, concentrating on the Operations and Process Development teams. I was supported to take the Postgraduate diploma in Personnel and Development and won the award for ‘Student of the Year’! It felt quite daunting to move from a very technical role into people management, but I quickly found that this part of the business was fascinating. Managing and supporting people was not a ‘black art’ and I could apply my analytical approach to helping people to be treated fairly and consistently, and hopefully in a way that they felt supported.
It was this mix of technical understanding and people management experience which led to me being asked to take on the Human Factors role for the site. It was a baptism of fire as we had a major accident on site and I rapidly needed to learn what Human Factors meant in this context. I spent three years in the Process Safety Team, developing and leading the Human Factors strategy; leading the HSE interventions for Human Factors, managing the identification and analysis of our safety critical tasks and starting to address the elements in the HSE’s Top Ten. As part of a site restructure, I was then asked to take on the Training team and build a new team structure to cover training, competence management and Human Factors. We addressed our workflow issues and built competence management systems around operator, maintenance and regulatory requirements, focusing on our priority risk areas.
Eventually, I felt the time was right to set up as an independent Human Factors Consultant, having wanted to work for myself for some time. Lorraine Braben Consulting (or LBC) was born in September 2016 and I moved into the business full time in April 2017. Since then, I have worked for a variety of companies, helping to establish their plans for improvement, supporting visits from the regulator, analysing their tasks, auditing their systems and delivering training and support. I have also entered into association agreements with Cogent Skills and Catch Technical. Running my own business is a different challenge from working in a multinational company but it is extremely rewarding to use my skills and experience to support my clients.
1989 B.Eng Chemical Process Engineering Aston University
2009 Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel & Development Doncaster College
2018 BTEC L3 Award in Education & Training Bishop Grossteste University
1994 Chartered Status of Institution of Chemical Engineers
2009 Associate Membership of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
2015 Technical Membership of Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors
2017 Affiliate Membership of The Energy Institute
2019 Registered/Chartered Status of Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors
I love the blend of psychology, engineering knowledge and people skills which Human Factors requires in industry. It’s fascinating to engage with the people who work on the shop floor and learn the details of what they do to keep the plant running, and some of the conditions that they deal with. It is also enlightening to see how an organisation identifies the risks it needs to manage and the way in which it prioritises and implements the solutions. Most companies are trying to manage the balance of external pressures, such as cost, production rates and headcount constraints while maintaining a safe facility, both for their employees and the surrounding population and environment. I’ve been there, know the issues that you face and would love to help you to address them.