Friday, August 27, 2010

Safety Climate Surveys (Part 2)

On August 23, 2010 we posted on a paper* reporting on a safety climate survey conducted at a number of off-shore oil facilities.  We noted that paper presented a rigorous analysis of the survey data and also discussed the limitations of the data and the analysis.  Our Bob Cudlin has been in contact with the paper’s lead author who provided a candid assessment of how survey data should be used.

In a private message to Bob, Dr. Mearns gave a general warning against over-inference from survey data and findings.  She says, “I think safety climate surveys have their place but they need to be done properly and unfortunately, many attempts to measure safety climate are poorly executed.   The data obtained from surveys are simply numbers but they don’t tell you much about what is actually going on within the organisation or the team regarding safety.  I see the survey results as a ‘temperature check’ but it needs a more detailed diagnosis to find out what really ails the safety culture.” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

*  Mearns K, Whitaker S & Flin R, “Safety climate, safety management practices and safety performance in offshore environments.”  Safety Science 41(8) 2003 (Oct) pp 641-680.

1 comment:

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