The Global Leader in Procedure Management Solutions

Advanced Procedure Research Study

ATR SmartProcedures
Health Science Center Texas A&M University
Mary Kay O'Conner Process Safety Center

This Texas A&M University study with leading technology provider ATR and a diverse range of industry partners conducts groundbreaking research on leading practices, technology breakthroughs, and human factor engineering to ensure high quality and usable procedures.

Seventy percent of incidents are linked to human error

Problems with procedures are linked to numerous incidents and are frequently cited as a contributing root cause. Inadequate management of procedures has not only contributed to disasters such as Bhopal, Piper Alpha, Texas City, and Deepwater Horizon, but also to fatalities, personal injuries, and health-related incidents.

The main causes are inadequate procedure coverage, poor procedure culture, failure to follow safe working procedures, and the use of inadequate procedures. Successful work guidance depends on the synergistic elements of the procedure process.

This study concentrates on procedure improvements in three key areas: human factors, technology, and procedure lifecycle processes.

Human Factors

Human Factors
  • Human diversity
  • Dealing with stress
  • Distractions
  • Memory
  • Cognitive bias
  • Target fixation
  • Reading level
  • Learning ability
  • Communication


  • Scalability
  • Interface design
  • Multimedia displays
  • Interactivity
  • Layers of information
  • Adaptability
  • Global changes
  • "Smart" procedures


  • Lifecycle management
  • Use and adherence
  • Executive leadership
  • Writing
  • Management of change
  • Review and approval
  • Continuous improvement

Transcending the "One size fits all" Procedure Paradigm

Combining leading and future practices, human factors, and technology, this study focuses on improving the quality and usability of procedures to achieve zero incidents. Current practices are limited to "one size fits all" paper-based compliance-driven procedures whereas this study focuses on technology – enabled solutions.

Human Reliability Deliverables

  • Identification of current best practices across a wide variety of industries
  • Identification of future best practices
  • Optimized procedure templates for paper and computer-based output
  • Advanced procedure writer's guide
  • Research-based recommendations about procedure usability
  • Enhanced technologies built into the SmartProcedures® platform
  • Human factored procedure audit criteria

Principal investigators are Dr. Sam Mannan, Director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Institute, and Dr. Camille Peres, leading human factors and usability professor at the Health Science Center.

For additional information about participation, please contact Elliott Lander at 281-370-9540 x115 or email

Download the study

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