I realised a long time ago from my studies of the Piper Alpha inquiry that shift handover is a critical activity that can contribute the major accidents. However, it has not received much attention in the past, possibly because it has fallen in to the category of 'too hard.' The Buncefield inquiry has also identified shift handover as an issues, and it seems likely that it will be receiving a higher profile now.
I met up with the guys from Infotechnics last week to look at their shift log and handover software called Opralog. I was very impressed. It seems to be very easy to use but provide a great deal of power that takes it well beyond being simply a tool for assisting handovers. In particular, it allows companies to start logging events from the perspective of what needs to be done to deal with them, rather than simply what happened to plant and equipment.
Opralog's main features (as I see it) include:
* Predefined events mean operators and technicians have less to write, meaning they are more inclined to record useful information;
* Interfacing with plant data allows text descriptions to be recorded to explain observed plant events
* Events can be logged automatically, triggered by plant data (e.g. if a parameter exceeds a certain value) which prompts the operator or technician to record an explanation
* Logs can feed in to each other - for example, certain parts of operator logs can populate part of their supervisors log.
Well worth a look.
You can find out more about shift handover at my website