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A Method for Changing the System, Process, and Culture Underlying Safety Performance

Summary: This article describes a successful attempt to apply Deming's principles to safety improvement, applying the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle. The author and his colleagues started their planning efforts in 1994 by applying the Minnesota Safety Perception Survey to the 6,000 employees in more than 50 plant sites of a chemical manufacturing company. Having established reliability and predictive validity for the survey, the author and his colleagues proceeded with the PDSA cycle. This involved feeding the results back to the employees, setting up focus groups to understand the meaning of the survey findings, and developing proposed actions. This was done in each plant and for the corporation as a whole. The end result after the action plan was implemented was a drop of more than 50 percent in the company's recordable accident rate. This established construct validity; the survey had helped in an understand the process and enabled the development of effective interventions. The survey, which has evolved, has since been applied to more than 100,000 employees in over 10 companies. The typical result of the PDSA process is a reduction in the company's accident rate of 30-50 percent.

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  • Topics: Change Management, Safety
  • Keywords: Case study, Change management, Culture change, Change strategies, Safety, Surveys, Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, Chemical and process industries
  • Author: Carder, Brooks;
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation