39 Applying human factors to promote a positive safety culture

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IntroductionSafety management has traditionally been based on technical solutions and regulations. Although these traditional safety methods are still needed, they do not necessarily raise real safety levels. A prerequisite for improving safety is proper safety management, implemented by people who create and maintain safety through vigilance, competence, communication and group work, if the organisational structures around them support this human success. In this review, I summarise the research and development processes implemented in 2000–2017 to improve the safety, efficiency and well-being of organisations, from the aspect of human factors (HF) with safety critical domains.MethodsIn 2000–2017, we conducted interviews, questionnaires and interventions among operative personnel, management and experts in the nuclear industry and the aviation, railway, and maritime sectors. Both business and authorities were represented. The HF tool was designed and modified for each field and the user experiences are presented here. The HF tool consists of a single tool, material for HF training, techniques for analysing cases at work, and proceedings for corrective actions. Its aim is to promote a positive safety culture.ResultThe HF interventions helped the organisations handle incidents more transparently, giving way to more open discussions on demanding situations at work. The HF tool became more of a philosophy, with which to highlight and understand human performance at the individual, work, group and organisational level, also taking successes into account. It helped concreticise cognitive, work and organisational psychology as a facilitator of safety.DiscussionThe HF tool promoted Safety-II thinking, which has recently been actively discussed as a safety paradigm shift, but has lacked the concrete tools to transform it from scientific debate to practice.

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