Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dynamic Interactive Training

The words dynamic and interactive always catch our attention as they are intrinsic to our world view of nuclear safety culture learning.  Carlo Rusconi’s presentation* at the recent IAEA International Experts’ Meeting on Human and Organizational Factors in Nuclear Safety in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Vienna in May 2013 is the source of our interest.

While much of the training described in the presentation appeared to be oriented to the worker level and the identification of workplace type hazards and risks, it clearly has implications for supervisory and management levels as well.

In the first part of the training students are asked to identify and characterize safety risks associated with workplace images.  For each risk they assign an index based on perceived likelihood and severity.  We like the parallel to our proposed approach for scoring decisions according to safety significance and uncertainty.**

“...the second part of the course is focused on developing skills to look in depth at events that highlight the need to have a deeper and wider vision of safety, grasping the explicit and implicit connections among technological, social, human and organizational features. In a nutshell: a systemic vision.” (slide 13, emphasis added)  As part of the training students are exposed to the concepts of complexity, feedback and internal dynamics of a socio-technical system.  As the author notes, “The assessment of culture within an organization requires in-depth knowledge of its internal dynamics”.  (slide 15)

This part of the training is described as a “simulation” as it provides the opportunity for students to simulate the performance of an investigation into the causes of an actual event.  Students are organized into three groups of five persons to gain the benefit of collective analysis within each group followed by sharing of results across groups.  We see this as particularly valuable as it helps build common mental models and facilitates integration across individuals.  Last, the training session takes the student’s results and compares them to the outcomes from a panel of experts.  Again we see a distinct parallel to our concept of having senior management within the nuclear organization pre-analyze safety issues to establish reference values for safety significance, uncertainty and preferred decisions.  This provides the basis to compare trainee outcomes for the same issues and ultimately to foster alignment within the organization.

Thank you Dr. Rusconi.

*  C. Rusconi, “Interactive training: A methodology for improving Safety Culture,” IAEA International Experts’ Meeting on Human and Organizational Factors in Nuclear Safety in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Vienna May 21-24, 2013.

**  See our blog posts dated April 9 and June 6, 2013.  We also remind readers of Taleb’s dictate to decision makers to focus on consequences versus probability in our post dated June 18, 2013.

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