Quality management consultants

Checklist to Avoid Future Disasters

fire In September 1999 the Industrial Hygiene & Safety News published an article which summarised the findings from the enquiries into four major disasters. These findings were published in 1991. The disasters were – Three Mile Island, Bhopal, Chernobyl and the Challenger Shuttle. In light of recent events in the Gulf of Mexico it is worth our while reviewing this summary and compare where we are with our business practices and values.
The eleven negative common attributes across all four disasters are as follows:

  • There is “fuzziness” as to who is responsible for what throughout the organization.
  • Mindset that success is routine, everything is “A-OK “,”We are good.”
  • Belief that rule compliance is enough to ensure safety. (“If we’re in compliance, we’re safe.”)
  • Team-player concept with dissent not allowed.
  • Experience from other facilities not processed systematically for application of lessons learned. (“We didn’t learn from similar experiences at other facilities.”)
  • Lessons that are learned are disregarded, rather than built into the system.
  • Safety is subordinate to other performance goals in production, schedule, quality, etc.
  • Emergency procedures, plans, training and regular drills for severe events are lacking.
  • Design and operating features are allowed even though recognized elsewhere as hazardous.
  • Project and risk management systems are available but not used.
  • Organization has undefined responsibility, authority, and accountability for recognizing and integrating safety.

For business’s both large and small these eleven points are a pertinent checklist.