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At the upcoming CHC Safety & Quality Summit being held in Vancouver from March 22 to 24, a key focus area will be identifying strategies for operators to improve safety management and performance. Jerry Allen from Baines Simmons-Americas will be presenting on this topic. The following excerpt of his presentation highlights a three-step process, developed by Baines Simmons-Americas, that enables organizations to find the optimal relationship between their culture and their systems to promote better safety management.


February 23, 2010
By Jerry Allen

Topics

At the upcoming CHC Safety & Quality Summit being held in Vancouver
from March 22 to 24, a key focus area will be identifying strategies
for operators to improve safety management and performance. Jerry Allen
from Baines Simmons-Americas will be presenting on this topic. The
following excerpt of his presentation highlights a three-step process,
developed by Baines Simmons-Americas, that enables organizations to
find the optimal relationship between their culture and their systems
to promote better safety management.

For as long as aircraft have been flying, the holy grail of safety
management has always been preventing loss of life. The fact is, all
accidents are a culmination of events or threats coming together. Good
safety management demands mitigation or removal of those threats
throughout the organization’s operation before they cause harm. Safety
Management Systems (SMS) succeed as the result of good organizational
management, where company directors intentionally act in a way most
likely to reduce risk, and promote the success of the business.

One of the most difficult (but necessary) first steps on the journey is
a clear understanding of where an organization actually is on the road
to better safety performance.


Step 1: Be SMARRT

The Safety Management and Risk Reduction Tool (SMARRT) is designed to
strengthen the ability of an organization to identify organizational
processes and safety culture development needs. The rapid analysis and
interpretation capability of the tool connects information and
perspectives in the flight deck, on the shop floor, and in the office,
hangar and flight-line, with understanding and decision-making in the
board room.

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The SMARRT tool set is a mix of diagnostic tools that selectively
examines actions and processes via innovative evaluation dimensions to
rapidly construct independent and impartial quantitative measures that:

quantify safety performance;
assess organizational safety culture and risks; and
provide a method of clearly identifying, evaluating, benchmarking and communicating strategic and operational perspectives of safety management to senior managers.

SMARRT highlights the areas of highest risk exposure and in doing so
allows an organization to prioritize and propose safety initiatives
(often from limited resources) against the right issues for a focused
and strategically driven safety improvement implementation plan.

SMARRT gathers qualitative indicators and turns them into quantitative
measures, providing operational and strategic perspectives. The real
value of the tool set is that it is able to rapidly decode often vague
thoughts and “gut feelings” about safety culture and turn them into an
identifiable and quantitative reporting medium. This, in turn, helps
facilitate rational discussion and assessment at the boardroom and
strategic management levels of an organization. Significantly, it
offers an organization (often for the first time) an opportunity to
benchmark its safety management capability against industry standards,
best practices and those of other comparable players within its
industry sector.


A SMARRT Case Study Example

What follows is an example of how the use of a SMARRT element revealed
for one organization where it could most effectively allocate its
resources to improve the success of its error management program (in
this example), or its SMS, by extension.

starrt_measurements

Step 2: Keep SCORE
Part of any organizational safety assessment includes identifying what
is actually happening within an organization. Senior leaders need to
know what at-risk behaviours and cultural norms may exist in their
organization. Baines Simmons utilizes a series of safety culture
surveys to help identify these behaviours and to engage the workforce
as part of the risk management solution. The surveys consist of 60 to
95 questions, depending on the type of organization being surveyed, and
are categorized into seven categories. The survey questions are
customized for each client as required.

The SCORE (Safety Culture Organizational Review Evaluation) system includes a scoring element aligned with the process used in the SMARRT
suite. The scoring system allows the senior management team to identify
any potential problems or hot spots much more easily and also
establishes a baseline metric that should be used to help measure the
progress of safety management efforts.

Individual reports are also generated for each location with scores,
observations and recommendations down to each workgroup and shift
level. This level of granularity allows identification of potential
problems and cultural norms that would have otherwise gone undetected
at a macro level view of the data.


Step 3: Be FAiR

Global aviation now recognizes the importance of effective human
factors programs and the need to develop open reporting cultures to
support effective SMS. Many countries have now regulated both human
factors and SMS. However, organizational efforts to match the right
interventions to the events that occur are still often erratic,
inconsistent and variable in terms of effectiveness.

Flowchart Analysis of Investigation Results (FAiR)
fair_chart

The FAiR System (Flowchart Analysis of Investigation Results) is a
management tool for determining the nature of errors, and enables
management to assess levels of culpability and ensure appropriate
remedial actions.

Building upon existing academic research, the system lies at the heart
of an organization’s efforts to ensure fairness and learning, and
offers a straightforward practical solution to event management by
focusing upon the individual or group actions and intentions as opposed
to the consequences.

The system guides intervention choices so that an organization can
ensure that any defences put in place to prevent recurrence can be
tailored to maximize effectiveness from both a systems and human
performance perspective. The system relies upon a complete and
comprehensive event investigation, bridging the gap between the
investigation and the organization’s disciplinary processes.

Simple to use, the FAiR System responds to the challenge of creating an
open reporting culture within complex regulated organizations,
balancing accountability with the desire for learning and improvement.

As industry moves into the brave new world of SMS, the actions that an
organization takes in assessing and strengthening its safety management
capabilities and post-event response processes will continue to be the
two biggest determinants of SMS success. The use of structured
diagnostic safety culture assessment and post-event response tools are
the way ahead if we are to realize the safety gains envisioned through
SMS.


Jerry Allen has more than 24 years of aviation experience in human
factors, error management and safety. In his current position, Allen
leads the Americas operation of Baines Simmons, providing SMS
implementation, risk reduction, and safety training services to global
aviation and other high-risk organizations,
www.bainessimmonsamericas.com. Allen is a trained accident
investigator, U.S. A&P mechanic, private pilot, and certified
aircraft insurance adjuster. Jerry Allen is one of the presenters at
the CHC Safety & Quality Summit in Vancouver, B.C., March 22-24,
2010. For more information go to www.chcsafetyqualitysummit.com or
e-mail summit@chc.ca.


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