The Human Aspects of HUET Programs – OPITO Abu Dhabi
Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) is a critical part of an energy company’s strategic safety mission. The best of HUET programs emphasize not just the technical factors and “what procedures to follow,” but understand and account for the very human responses participants have to both the possibility of having to act on HUET learnings, and to the training itself.
Brooke Bovo and Kris Hermes of Bovo-Tighe were honored to have been invited to run a session at the 2015 OPITO Safety and Competence Conference in Abu Dhabi this week. Their topic: Best practices for structuring HUET programs to work with, rather than against, the human psyche.
Brooke and Kris made three key points that seemed to hit home with the audience of energy safety executives:
- HUET programs, and specifically the dunking demonstration, have an image in the industry that makes a percentage of first-time participants nervous. This lack of calm about the “dunking to come” can be distracting and will reduce retention of the course material. In fact, the first recommendation we usually make to clients is to stop using such stress-inducing terms in their courses!
- Many cultures globally do not emphasize swimming as a regular activity. Accommodating diverse levels of comfort with the watery immersion that is part of the demonstration is a must for maximizing course effectiveness and safety.
- Preparing participants mentally to be “ready to learn” before they arrive for the training helps to reduce that stress and raises material retention.
- Building up to the main demonstration with smaller “activation” activities better prepares the participants to safely and calmly go through with the escape exercise.
The discussion the Bovo-Tighe presentation generated came up with many more considerations than these, and also covered a number of solutions for making HUET programs simultaneously safe and effective.
Let us know if you have a safety program that could also benefit from an assessment to measure how well it accommodates diverse human behaviors and motivations. We can also explore how it could be structured to create the best possible learning environment.
Many thanks to OPITO for bringing us in to share our experiences. We hope we gave their conference attendees a lot of new ideas for improving their own safety programming.