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Turning [vs. training] culture and regulation (automated systems) into partners - to be presented at HazardEx 2012

Author : Ken Allen, CEO - Metapower

20 December 2011

Culture is often named as a culprit when things don’t work or when people push back on procedures or systems put in play by organisations and regulatory agencies. The responses to these standards vary from ready compliance to strong resistance or evasion, and these responses are often tied to organisational culture. So how do we identify and address this set of issues, which affect the integrity of an organisation’s safety culture?

This paper outlines a methodology for addressing the following combination of technical and cultural issues:

Reframing regulatory expectations into discreet requirements that form an Ideal Model, which reflect the regulatory mandates;

Surveying plant personnel and using the survey data to establish a plant’s position in regard to the Ideal Model;

“Phasing” the plant’s progress toward the Ideal Model into bite-sized portions by satisfactorily performing elementary (Level 1) tasks before attempting advanced (Level 2-5) tasks;

Assessing the degree to which regulatory compliance occurs; and assessing the level of organisational maturity indicated by this analysis. 

The information this analysis produces helps identify where an organisation stands in regard to the Ideal Model; it helps identify “next steps”; it also helps identify cultural factors that enhance or inhibit progress toward a safety culture. Resources can then be more skilfully targeted to regulatory improvement and more strategically applied to the cultural barriers this methodology identifies. Turning culture and regulation into partners is now an increased possibility.


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