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Mapping Process Safety Data to Mitigate Cultural Hazards

Safety, Risk and Compliance Solutions

Mapping Process Safety Data to Mitigate Cultural Hazards

The time for evaluating culture is now.

Leading organizations want to do the right thing in the right way at the right time, all the time – even when no one is looking. And yet, culture is hard to measure and more difficult to change. Cultural Cause Analysis™ (CCA) introduces a new way of understanding the cultural issues that negatively impact organizational behavior – and how to address them to improve the safety, quality, performance and reliability of critical assets.

Cultural Cause Analysis is a next-generation root cause analysis (RCA) methodology and risk management tool which maps process safety incidents in order to mitigate cultural hazards. CCA supports organizations in knowing which changes in cultural factors have the largest positive impact to prevent future losses. The methodology was developed over 10 years through evaluating data insights that identify leading cultural factors that contribute to major incidents and benchmarking the approach to over a dozen culture assessment models. 

Understanding Cultural Causes of Incidents

Organizations desire normal operations with people and equipment functioning in harmony, behaving as they should, and yielding the desired results. However, even in high reliability operations, near misses and accidents occur, people do not perform as they should and equipment fails. Sometimes the issues coalesce to a point of catastrophe. Other times, the consequences are minimal, but the chronic repeat nature of the issues can cause greater pain to the organization. No matter how the incident occurs, if the high-potential (risk profile) of the near miss or accident is high enough, then analysis is needed to help assure that it does not occur again.

Industry typically focuses on proactive culture assessments rather than reactively performing analyses of the cultural causes of incidents. States such as California are leading in this area of proactive safety culture assessment by regulating it to improve process safety performance (learn more about the Cal/OSHA PSM Regulation). In the future, performing an analysis of the cultural drivers that led to major accidents – at a minimum – should be expected.

Addressing Gaps in Performance

CCA strengthens an organization's ability to assess the cultural deficiencies causing chronic quality and reliability issues as well as to assess culture issues that existed leading up to a major accident. As a foundation, RCA gave organizations the ability to assess gaps in performance that they can control, such as gaps in policies and administrative controls. CCA, combined with RCA, provides the methods and tools for an organization to systematically assess, analyze, trend and influence the root and cultural issues driving performance issues.

Corrective actions addressing cultural issues, if effective, are valuable because they positively impact seemingly unrelated areas of performance, including safety, quality and reliability.

The Cultural Cause Map

The Cultural Cause Map™ is divided into four layers of cultural causes. While it is possible to have a strong organizational culture without any documented policies and procedures, or a poor culture with comprehensive documentation, our model is built on the principle that both the culture and its documentation are important.

A CCA involves analyzing and documenting the entirety of an organization's complex relationships. The aggregate of the causal information is valuable. For example, after a cultural analysis is completed, a user may observe that "mutual trust issues" were the predominant cultural issue that led to deficiencies in management systems, which ultimately caused an incident to occur.

A key advantage of routinely performing CCAs on near misses, accidents and chronic events using the Cultural Cause Map is providing more comprehensive and accurate data trends. The data collected from this trending are a predominant source of input into proactive culture evaluation and performance management.

Improving Safety, Reliability and Quality Performance

Cultural Cause Analysis supports organizations in assessing the underlying behaviors, actions and cultural issues that led to experienced losses. Leaderships' ability to prevent future losses and improve performance is strengthened by adopting culture analysis, both proactively through safety culture assessment and reactively through CCA. With a proven track record providing risk-informed insights to a range of market sectors, ABS Group's process safety team has the knowledge base and capabilities to help your organization improve its organizational performance for operational excellence.

Gain more insight into CCA in our introductory webinar, "The Next Generation of Root Cause Analysis."

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