Traits of a Positive Safety Culture-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Traits of a Positive Safety Culture

In March 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a Safety Culture Policy Statement, providing the expectation that individuals and organizations performing regulated activities establish and maintain a positive safety culture.

While the NRC deals with Radiation Safety, this Policy Statement describes certain personal and organizational traits that are present in any positive safety culture.  These traits are: 

-  Leadership Safety Values and Actions—Leaders commit to safety in their decisions and behaviors.

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

-  Personal Accountability—All individuals take personal responsibility for safety.

-  Work Processes—Implement and maintain safety in planning and controlling work activities.

-  Continuous Learning—Opportunities to learn about ways to ensure safety is sought out and implemented.

-  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.

-  Effective Safety Communication—Communications maintain a focus on safety.

-  Respectful Work Environment—Trust and respect permeate the organization.

-  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.

We should all work to develop these traits and instill them on all those we teach or supervise.  For more information, visit: http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/enforcement/safety-culture.html#policy.

By: Andrew Lawson, alawson@andrew.cmu.edu