Human Performance Management Best Practice 13 – Independent Verification

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Best Practice ArticleRecent industrial accidents remind us of the critical importance of proper equipment operation. While some operational errors result in immediate negative impacts, the consequence of other errors may be delayed for a time.[wcm_restrict plans=”41245, 25542, 25653″]

Latent errors are those mistakes that do not become manifest in an adverse impact at the time the error is made. Because latent errors can result in equipment damage, personal injury, or loss of life, actions should be taken to minimize/eliminate their occurrence. One latent error reduction technique is independent verification.


Independent verification is a human error reduction tool used during those operations potentially having adverse consequences at some time after the initial system manipulation, equipment tagging, and/or document creation/alteration. Examples of these types of operations include:

  • changing the position of equipment controller settings (auto/manual/off, etcetera)
  • applying or removing removal of clearance/danger tags to equipment components
  • updating procedures, prints, or schematics

In order for independent verification to be effectively applied, organizational leaders need to identify those discreet activities both specifically and characteristically for which this performance tool should be used. Note that performing an independent verification for all activates diminishes its importance and so care should be taken when formulating the specific lists. (See StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Warning Flag article – Peer Checking Everything)


Independent verification is performed by an individual qualified to perform the initial operation who checks the appropriateness of the initial operation separated by both space and time. The person performing the independent verification uses the same error reduction techniques as the initial performer such as self-checking. (See StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Best Practice – Self Checking)

Independent verification checks are commonly documented to reinforce and because of the importance of this function. Typically, the independent verifier will sign/initial next to the initial performer’s signature/initials in the associated procedure, work instruction, tagging record, document change log, and etcetera. Fully mature error reduction programs will provide an independent verifier signature/initial space next to those specific steps to be verified in associated documents.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”41245, 25542, 25653″]

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About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

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