sWafety: A Complementary Low-threshold Safety Management Process
Authors: Sandra Schenkel, Guri Medici, Sven Staender, Toni Waefler
Abstract: Effective safety management requires a reliable information basis. At the same time, established safety management systems (SMS) and surveys are known to have certain limitations, such as low participation rates or data bias due to the influence of situational factors (e.g., Pfeiffer, Manser & Wehner, 2010; Sujan, 2015). In collaboration with Swiss companies from the aviation, nuclear and healthcare industries, sWafety was developed and tested as a complementary process concept to address these shortcomings. sWafety provides a low-threshold process design and digital tool that aims to further engage and motivate employees to participate in data collection, analysis, and feedback to further improve data quality.This paper describes the design of the sWafety process, which is based on a user-centered approach as well as insights from motivation theory, gamification, and practical expertise. Key process elements are presented that support motivated employee participation through short survey cycles, low respondent burden, direct feedback processes and active user involvement in data interpretation and safety measure development. Based on a use case with a Swiss hospital, a minimum viable app-prototype was applied to test the extent to which key process elements can be transferred to operational practice and how they are evaluated by users. An eight-day application scenario of sWafety was conducted with a team of anesthesia professionals (n = 7). Prototyped process elements included daily app-based data collection and alternating feedback presentation. A formative evaluation was conducted by means of a workshop.The results of a qualitative content analysis indicate that the key process elements are transferable to operational practice. Concisely worded questions, tasks, or feedback that encourage reflection and learning, were found to be more motivating than gamification. Timely feedback, particularly on work-related information, and full transparency regarding the purposes and outcomes of the surveys also appear to be very important factors motivating participation in providing safety-related data. However, users called for more opportunities to provide bottom-up information and a more active role in discussing findings and developing safety measures.Effective implementation of sWafety into operational practice requires that the general process design is adapted to a company’s specifics. Particular attention should be paid to how local, decentralized processes can be implemented to enable timely feedback and appropriate employee involvement in discussing results and developing safety measures. Regarding low-threshold process design, the results imply that elements which trigger intrinsic motivation (e.g., learning or reflection) should be preferred over gamification. Also, further development of technical solutions for flexible interaction with the app and for data analysis can further increase the potential of sWafety.
Keywords: continuous measurement, employee involvement, safety management, safety process, reporting systems, user, centered design
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