November 7, 2012
EnergX Safety Expert
"Safety Culture: Tombstones or Milestones"
Dean Wayne T. Davis will host a presentation by EnergX safety expert Joseph Estey at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 7, in the Shiloh Room of the University Center.
The college's Board of Advisors, ABET reviewers, Dean Davis, and the UT central administration have recognized and made a priority that instructional and research laboratories at UT need to improve safety protocols and processes. This presentation is a step in helping to realize that goal.
Estey will offer his expertise in this area to faculty, staff, and students who work in the many laboratories of the College of Engineering. He will give a definition of safety culture and discuss safety principles and practices with a concentration on the unique challenges in this field for colleges and universities.
The presentation is made possible by EnergX president and COE Board of Advisors member Anthony Buhl.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, almost 24,000 workers are injured every work day, costing billions every year. In less than successful organizations, fixing the victim occurs far more often than fixing the problem. The focus on Safety Culture has received more visibility in recent years from the numerous research projects in neuroscience, human-technology interface design, and the legal system.
Mistakes in aviation, chemical production, infrastructure design, and maintenance and in the medical and engineering professions have prompted a deeper investigation and analysis into why people make mistakes, why those mistakes lead to catastrophic events, and how to prevent and plan for these mistakes as a culture rather than as a compartmentalized function of person's work responsibilities.
Colleges and universities face unique challenges in the development and maintenance of a high performance safety culture. Among them are: a plethora of short-term research projects, a "mixed" research staff of students and professionals, and a tendency toward "informal" work processes and procedures, etc.
Safety Culture Definition
Three key cultural components (Video of poor work practice often encouraged by both the individual and the organization)
1) Policies, processes, and practices: connecting the dots
2) Erosion of practice and its prevention
3) The forming and reforming of habits
Comparison of Safety Culture to Consequence
Driven Culture (Video of common everyday accident, with the traditional but incorrect conclusion as to why it happened)
• Tombstones or milestones: reaction versus action
• Fooled by security: traditional indicators that mislead rather than inform
• Attributes and characteristics of both cultures to determine which you represent
Safety Culture Principles and Practices
• Five principles of human error
• Reducing individual active errors through effective organizational processes
• Preventative and corrective action planning for the three performance modes (skill, rules and knowledge based activities)
The first step in the journey toward the desired safety culture is normally a "'Safety Culture Assessment." A Safety Culture Assessment focuses on the people side of safety – cultural behaviors that enable, equip, and empower (such as communication, trust, leadership, commitment, peer group norms, and organizational influences). The direct value of the Safety Culture Assessment is often surpassed by its indirect value as a catalyst for launching the organization into a culture change that will make way for sustainable increase in performance.