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Hazardex 2018 Conference - 8. Safety culture, climate and performance improvement

30 January 2018

Dr Kevin Fitzgerald – Risk Management Team Manager, Lloyd’s Register Energy.  
Weds 11.30 – 12.10: Seminar room

The term ‘safety culture’ was first used in INSAG’s (1988) ‘Summary Report on the Post-Accident Review Meeting on the Chernobyl Accident’. Safety culture has subsequently been defined as: “Consisting of shared values (what is important) and beliefs (how things work) that interact

with an organisation’s structure and control systems to produce behavioural norms (the way we do things around here).”

It has also been described as simply “how people behave when no-one is looking.”

Research over many years has demonstrated that incidents are almost always related to incorrect or inappropriate workforce behaviours, and it is the way that culture drives behaviour that is important to us. Within the process industries, incidents such as Longford (1998), Texas City (2005), Buncefield (2005) and Macondo (2010) have all served to highlight the importance of safety culture, along with other more specific human factors shortcomings.

The influence that an organisation’s culture has on individual behaviour is generally acknowledged and many organisations worldwide have set themselves the goal of improving their safety culture so as to achieve lower incident rates. But what does safety culture really comprise, how do safety culture failings make themselves apparent, and how can we go about changing culture?

This presentation will:
1.  Provide a brief introduction to the concept of safety culture and the characteristics of a positive safety culture.
2.  Illustrate – through case studies – some consequences of safety culture failings.
3.  Indicate how safety climate surveys can be used to help understand safety culture and how the output from these surveys can be used to prioritise issues for improvement.
4.  Show some of the typical starting-points for safety culture improvement in organisations.

The presentation will draw on non-process sector experience (particularly Marine) to help illustrate the generic challenges that need to be managed in complex process safety environments.  

Dr Kevin Fitzgerald manages Lloyd’s Register’s Risk Management Consulting team in the UK, which delivers risk consultancy support to clients in the Energy and other high hazard industries from offices in Manchester and Aberdeen.
Kevin started his career in the chemicals industry in North West England, with roles in research, operations and process safety, and he has almost 30 years’ experience in high hazard industry.
As a consultant he has worked in the oil & gas, construction, utilities and marine sectors with clients across the EMEA region, including in Abu Dhabi, South Africa and the Netherlands as well as the UK and Scandinavia.
Kevin’s professional focus is on helping organisations improve their safety performance via culture and systems and he has extensive experience of safety climate assessment, culture change and management systems development.

He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (MIMechE).

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