Safety Culture Assessment and the transformation of practices
Authors: Francisco Duarte, Raoni Rocha, Francisco Lima, Maria Luiza Fernandes, Luciano Garotti
Abstract: This article presents preliminary results of the Human and Organizational Factors of Industrial Safety project under development in the Brazilian oil and gas industry since the late 2020s. It is a project carried out in 17 production units including offshore production platforms with different times production, refinery, thermoelectric, drilling rigs and different types of vessels.More specifically, this article presents the safety culture assessment methodology and proposals for transforming practices built through a participatory process.The focus will be on the pilot project developed on an offshore platform, considered as a pilot project.Approaches to safety culture assessment may have many limits if supported exclusively by quantitative methods. Based on that, a research team developed a quantitative-qualitative approach to assess the maturity of the safety culture. To that end, the team sought to develop and test a method consisting of an initial ethnographic phase, based on ergonomic work analysis (Guérin et al., 1997). This ethnographic phase was followed by 4 other distinct phases: definition of homogeneous groups; production of customized questionnaires; quantitative evaluation; and qualitative assessment. The results show the emergence of trends, from pre-defined themes in the safety culture to specific levels of maturity for each of the homogeneous groups. At the same time, it was possible to perceive that the maturity level of the groups is defined from the daily work practices developed by each one of them. Although the definitions surrounding Safety Culture are in line with regard to the sharing of practices and values, Antonsen (2009, p. 184) reminds us that every organization is composed of subgroups, each with “multiple sets of ‘individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior’, and that these may be more or less incompatible”. Thus, “several different sub-cultures will emerge from, or form around, functional groups, hierarchical levels and organizational roles” (Cooper, 2000, p. 113). A safety culture must, then, be thought of based on the sharing of practices and values at the boundaries of these subgroups, and not necessarily throughout the organization, where it would be very difficult to find a homogeneous culture.In our pilot project, proposals for transforming safety practices emerged in the qualitative phase. A debate process with different homogeneous groups (different hierarchical levels and contracted companies) allowed for a broad discussion about the main following topics: Blaming, Pertinence of the Rules, Priority in security, Bureaucracy in security and Return on Experience.The actions currently under way focus on: (i) the development of accident/incident analysis methodologies focused on root causes; (ii) the restructuring of tools such as daily safety meetings, behavioral audits, among others; (iii) in communication with the workforce and the development of an organizational device to return experience (expanding active listening) and (iv) the training of proximity managers based on real cases.References•Antonsen, S. 2009a. Safety culture and the issue of power. Safety Science, 47, 183–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2008.02.004•Cooper, D.; 2000. Towards a model of safety culture. Safety Science, n. 36, p 111-136.•Guérin F, Laville A, Daniellou F, Duraffourg J, Kerguelen A. 1997. Comprendre le travail pour le transformer : la pratique de l’ergonomie [Understanding work to transform it: the practice of ergonomics]. Toulouse, France: Agence nationale pour l’amélioration des conditions de travail (Anact).
Keywords: Safety Culture, Ergonomic Work Analysis, Practice Transformation
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