In order to improve HSE performance many companies have implemented voluntary (i.e. non-regulation driven) programs designed to engage supervisors and employees and reduce injuries and incidents. Over the years these programs have had significant effect in improving performance and making the workplace safer. While done with the best intentions, most programs introduce an element of administrative burden on the organization and sites. The cumulative impact on a supervisor's daily activities can be substantial and result in excessive time spent in front of a computer, rather than with their teams. This means less opportunity to provide leadership on safety and consequently, undermine efforts to improve.
In 2017, based on a combination of employee surveys and safety stand downs Dyno Nobel North America (‘DNA’ or the company), a global explosives manufacturer and service provider, identified the need to evaluate the burden on the organization of safety programs to rationalize and improve them as appropriate. One of the main concerns of this effort was how to remove or modify these programs to be less of a burden, yet not increase the risk. It can be related to the game Jenga®, where players remove blocks from a stack without destabilizing the structure.
DNA engaged a consultant, The Jonah Group, to build a risk model based on the principles of process safety management interwoven with the understanding of human factors and performance. Once the model was built, it was piloted at three of the company's field sites to ensure efficacy and adjust as necessary. Afterwards, the model was used at nine field locations. The evaluation included a review of equipment, process and procedure, and centered around interviews with supervisors and front-line employees. Surveys were conducted with supervisors to complete the view of where they spend their time.
Results and recommendations were summarized in a report. One of the key findings was that while there were opportunities to improve certain elements of the voluntary safety programs, there were more significant opportunities with regards to management of change, process safety and risk awareness, site safety leadership, communication, and process efficiency. The recommendations will help the company improve organizational effectiveness and free up supervisors to better oversee, and lead, site safety.
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