Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 End of Year Summary

We thought we would take this opportunity to do a little rummaging around in the Google analytics and report on some of the statistics for the safetymatters blog.

The first thing that caught our attention was the big increase in page views (see chart below) for the blog this past year.  We are now averaging more than 1000 per month and we appreciate every one of the readers who visits the blog.  We hope that the increased readership reflects that the content is interesting, thought provoking and perhaps even a bit provocative.  We are pretty sure people who are interested in nuclear safety culture cannot find comparable content elsewhere.

The following table lists the top ten blog posts.  The overwhelming favorite has been the "Normalization of Deviation" post from March 10, 2010.  We have consistently commented positively on this concept introduced by Diane Vaughan in her book The Challenger Launch Decision.  Most recently Red Conner noted in his December 8, 2011 post the potential role of normalization of deviation in contributing to complacency.  This may appear to be a bit of a departure from the general concept of complacency as primarily a passive occurrence.  Red notes that the gradual and sometimes hardly perceptive acceptance of lesser standards or non-conforming results may be more insidious than a failure to challenge the status quo.  We would appreciate hearing from readers on their views of “normalization”, whether they believe it is occurring in their organizations (and if so how is it detected?) and what steps might be taken to minimize its effect.

A common denominator among a number of the popular posts is safety culture assessment, whether in the form of surveys, performance indicators, or other means to gauge the current state of an organization.  Our sense is there is a widespread appetite for approaches to measuring safety culture in some meaningful way; such interest perhaps also indicates that current methods, heavily dependent on surveys, are not meeting needs.  What is even more clear in our research is the lack of initiative by the industry and regulators to promote or fund research into this critical area.   

A final observation:  The Google stats on frequency of page views indicate two of the top three pages were the “Score Decision” pages for the two decision examples we put forward.  They each had a 100 or more views.  Unfortunately only a small percentage of the page views translated into scoring inputs for the decisions.  We’re not sure why the lack of inputs since they are anonymous and purely a matter of the reader’s judgment.  Having a larger data set from which to evaluate the decision scoring process would be very useful and we would encourage anyone who did visit but not score to reconsider.  And of course, anyone who hasn’t yet visited these examples, please do and see how you rate these actual decisions from operating nuclear plants.

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