Culture and behavioural safety
The human factor – cost-effective safety critical task analysis
Human failures have contributed to many major accidents in high hazard sectors, such as Chernobyl, Ladbroke Grove and Deepwater Horizon. However, the analysis of safety critical tasks has lagged behind efforts to analyse hardware failures, mainly driven by the perception that assessing the enormous number of tasks at an industrial facility would be too time consuming. Today, practical methods have been developed to help the cost-effective analysis of safety critical tasks.
Black swan or blind spot? The duality of extreme events
A black swan is characterised by Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Ref. 1] as an event which:
1. Is a surprise (to the observer), an 'extreme outlier'
2. Has a major impact
3. Is rationalised by hindsight, as if it could have been expected
Know your breaking point: the benefits of organisational stress testing
The term 'Stress Testing' has featured in the headlines over the past few years as authorities respond to the worldwide banking crisis and, more recently, the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident. Banks or operators of nuclear facilities have been required, or encouraged, to undertake 'Stress Tests' to assess the ability of their organisation to withstand extreme conditions.
State of emergency
The recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan have caused the international nuclear community to review their approach to extreme events [e.g. Ref 1] and, in particular, emergency preparedness.
Culturally-enabled HSE management systems
If you had to name a single attribute of an organisation responsible for its success or failure, it would probably be its culture. While difficult to define precisely, we know good culture when we encounter it and we acknowledge its importance.
An introduction to behavioural safety
Have you ever wondered why people do what they do? Is there a way to influence the way people behave so that the job gets completed in the most efficient, productive and safe manner? In the discipline of behavioural safety, the most effective way to achieve this is to understand the underlying reasons for people's outwardly expressed behaviour and to give them an informed choice in the workplace.
Balancing personal and system safety
Holding the handrail and putting lids on cups of hot coffee will not prevent major accidents. That is the message coming through loud and clear in the aftermath of recent disasters such as the Texas City refinery explosion in 2005, the Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout in 2010 and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. Disasters don't happen because someone slips down the stairs or bumps their head. They result from flawed ways of doing business that allow inappropriate risk control.
Chronic unease – the hidden ingredient in successful safety leadership?
Leaders working in high hazard industries are faced with a difficult personal challenge: how do you avoid complacency about major accidents such as a nuclear release, oil spill or train derailment, when such events rarely happen? How do you not 'forget to be afraid'?
Leadership matters – safety as a value?
The previous issue of RISKworld focused on the things that leaders need to do right to assure major hazard safety. Whilst a list of things to do can be insightful for a motivated leader, the list simply adds to things that a leader already has to do, whether commercial, technical, human resources, etc. For example, traditional safety leadership tends to focus on what to do rather than addressing what may be considered to be 'deeper drivers' of safety leadership, such as holding safety as a value.