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The NRC has issued what they are calling a “final safety culture policy statement.”  See:

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2011/11-104.pdf

I’m sure that it isn’t really final. (Aren’t we always learning and improving?) But I guess that they are saying they are done with the initial development and will now be starting to look at nuclear utilities to see that they have a positive safety culture.

What is a safety culture? The NRC says it is:

… an organization’s collective commitment, by leaders and individuals, to emphasize safety as an overriding priority to competing goals and other considerations to ensure protection of people and the environment.

The go on to define nine traits that nuclear plants should foster. They are:

1.Leadership Safety Values and Actions – Leaders demonstrate a commitment to safety in their decisions and behaviors;

2. Problem Identification and Resolution – Issues potentially impacting safety are promptly identified, fully evaluated, and promptly addressed and corrected commensurate with their significance;

3. Personal Accountability – All individuals take personal responsibility for safety;

4. Work Processes – The process of planning and controlling work activities is implemented so that safety is maintained;

5. Continuous Learning – Opportunities to learn about ways to ensure safety are sought out and implemented;

6. Environment for Raising Concerns – A safety-conscious work environment is maintained where personnel feel free to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination;

7. Effective Safety Communication – Communications maintain a focus on safety;

8. Respectful Work Environment – Trust and respect permeate the organization;

9. Questioning Attitude – Individuals avoid complacency and continuously challenge existing conditions and activities in order to identify discrepancies that might result in error or inappropriate action.

As I read more, I started thinking … As a utility, how do you measure your culture, diagnose opportunities for improvement, and demonstrate efforts to improve the safety culture at your plant?

Fortunately, we’ve been interested in safety culture for a long time and TapRooT® is able to help you diagnose safety culture issues.

But where to start? Safety culture is a tough subject. Many find it hard to be specific about culture issues. Even TapRooT® users sometimes don’t understand how TapRooT® can help them understand their safety culture and improve it.

So, we decided to build a course to help TapRooT® Users understand safety culture issues and then fix them.

This new course was built on a solid foundation of culture research and the bedrock of the TapRooT® System.

The FIRST public TapRooT® Analyzing and Fixing Safety Culture Issues will be held in Las Vegas on February 27-28, 2012. We will be putting out more information in future updates here on the Root Cause Analysis Blog, but, if you are interested in safety culture, you should plan to attend the course.

But the course isn’t all we are doing.

The TapRooT® Summit is also a great way for your company to demonstrate a commitment to improving your safety culture.

First, since problem identification and resolution is a major part of a positive safety culture, the Summit helps Summit participants by keeping them up-to-date on the latest incident investigation, troubleshooting, and root cause analysis technology. That way they can go back to their companies and make sure that issues really are fully evaluated and promptly addressed.

Second, another major trait that nuclear plants are suppose to foster is “continuous learning”. And continuous learning is what the Global TapRooT® Summit is all about. Learning best practices and new techniques from industry leaders from around the world. What better way to demonstrate your companies commitment to continuous learning than to send a team to the Summit and have them return to work with a custom plan to continuously improve performance.

Finally, the first trait mentioned by the NRC is that “Leaders demonstrate a commitment to safety in their decisions and behaviors.” But how can you demonstrate a leaders commitment? Participating in the Summit and making sure that your nuclear sites are well represented is an excellent way to demonstrate commitment. This is especially true because there is a best practice track for managers, the – “Leading Performance Improvement Track.”

The Leading Performance Improvement track includes these breakout sessions:

TapRooT® Implementation Success Stories (Leaders hear how others improved performance.)

What is Culture and How Do You Identify and Solve Culture Problems Using TapRooT® (Highlights from the 2-day course plus communication ideas to have effective safety communications.)

What Does Management Need to Know About Process Safety Improvement (Mark Paradies shares management lessons from Admiral Rickover and how missing elements of process safety management have contributed to major accidents.)

Deepwater Horizon: A Dramatic Portrayal (A dramatic presentation that can capture management’s attention and help them see the management roots of a major accident.)

Criminal Prosecution of Accidents (What happens to those involved when accidents become crimes. Two reports from people who experienced post-accident criminal investigations.)

Investigation & Root Cause Analysis Insights (Insights into root cause analysis from two perspectives – Mark Paradies, creator of TapRooT®, and a government regulator.)

Designing Your Continuous Improvement Program (Kevin McManus – the Systems Guy – shares practical lessons he has learned from industrial experience and his experience as a Malcolm Baldridge Award Senior Examiner.)

How Pfizer Achieves Operational Excellence (Hear Pfizer’s operational excellence story.)

In addition to these breakout sessions, all Summit participants hear from the excellent Keynote Speakers. Two of particular interest to senior management are:

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Ken Mattingly speaking about “Lessons Learned from Apollo 13 and Space Shuttle Operations.”

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Dr. Beverly Chiodo speaking about “Character Driven Success.”

So start planning for your management and all your improvement team members to be at the Global TapRooT® Summit in Las Vegas from February 27 – March 2, 2012, and attending a special 2-day course and the 3-day Summit to help you achieve – and demonstrate – a positive safety culture.