Near Miss Reporting – The Importance Of A “Learning Culture”

Creating a culture of safety within an organization is not an easy task, as pointed out by Dan McCune of Embry-Riddle University. It takes effort and understanding that an importat element is the willingness to learn from mistakes. Learning is critical to pilots and others in mission critical situations, and the best learning is from experience. Often errors or mistakes lead to some of the best learning experiences. Organizations that want a safety culture are wise to understand this and eliminate barriers to learning and information sharing. Near-miss reporting is a great way to get employees to share what almost happened and further everyone’s learning about safety.

In James Reason’s book, Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents, he writes about how to “engineer a safety culture”. (First, I digress: not only do I highly recommend this book, but when you read it please pay particular attention to Chapter 9.) In this chapter he discusses the Organizational Culture and that “A safety culture is not something that springs up ready-made from the organizational equivalent of a near-death experience, rather it emerges gradually from the persistent and successful application of practical and down-to-earth measures. Acquiring a Safety Culture is a process of collective learning.” Reason then goes on to discuss other business books about culture that are in support of the notion that a strong organizational culture begets a strong safety culture.

This blog post provides a great argument for creating a positive working environment, where learning is valued and reporting is risk free.

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Maintaining a True Sense of Urgency

It’s amazing how much focus and energy is committed to safety after a serious injury or other incident. All hands on board, clear action plans, accountability and even innovative solutions are commonplace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when we don’t have the urgency of an incident.

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Impossible Doesn’t Exist

Creating a psoitive safety culture is no small feat, but can be done by devloping personal responsibility. One way is to engage the workforce in the porcess of problem solving and creating visual images of change. This post has interesting thoughts to help the process.

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Don’t Let Safety Get In The Way!

Safety professionals can imporve their effectiveness by taking the time to learn and understand the business goals and strategies. Being seen as an asset rather than hinderance to achieving these goals will position safety for success.

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