Compass September 2019 Newsletter

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10 Reasons Why a Safety Perception Survey Should be Your First Measurement Option

10-reasons-why-a-Safety-Perception-Survey-should-be-your-first-measurement-option, is our most recent article and it explains why the survey measurement option should be considered before other measurement methods such as auditing. A properly crafted survey can assess the corporate environment for its’ readiness to a embrace and support the introduction of traditional basic safety program elements. In addition, a survey can be used to assess how effectively the existing elements are working. 10-reasons-why-a-safety-perception-survey-should-be-your-first-measurement-option explains the importance of first ensuring the ground is fertile before you begin to plan. Here is a link to the article,

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Over the last 25 years we have attempted to convince Governments, Safety Associations and Worker’s Compensation Insurance organizations to adopt some alternative health and safety approaches that offer more preventive information. We have proposed some ways to cut service costs and we have questioned how some recognition programs conclude health and safety success. To this end we have encouraged change by writing a number of articles. We have met with Government leaders and have sent out Newsletters to health and safety professionals to solicit their input as well as keep them informed of any progress. The original purpose of this Newsletter was to provide readers with a report card on the progress but, then we received an invitation to meet with the Alberta Labour, Assistant Deputy Minister, Jody Young. This meeting has been set for December 9, 2019 and we should be able to provide a more detailed report after the meeting. Here are some of the outstanding issues and a summary of what we know so far:

  • Creative Sentencing – Creative Sentencing is an Alberta Government program that allows for the transfer of funds, collected from companies judged non-compliant, to fund programs related to health and safety prevention. We recommended substantial improvement in oversight of this program to ensure funds are awarded to meaningful projects and project outcomes are assessed upon completion. We are not aware of any improvements to the oversight of this program at this time.
  • Update audit protocols to ensure there is more consistency between the various safety associations – In Alberta there has been some work undertaken in this area and we believe there is improved consistency between the various industry audit protocols. We continue to recommend the content of the audit protocols be reviewed by an independent committee of competent industry health and safety professionals.
  • All or None Scoring – All-or-none scoring is frequently used to quantify employee audit interviews. This type of scoring is an estimate of employee perceptions. We recommended moving to a more accurate method of scoring such as scoring on a 1 – 5 scale. This would help improve the assurance that those companies passing or failing audits warrant the score awarded. At this time, we are not aware of a move to improve on this type of scoring.
  • Reducing the costs associated with auditing. – The costs associated with auditing is prohibitive for many employers. One way to cut audit costs is to reduce the high costs associated with gathering audit information. The audit process requires certified auditors to review documents, conduct observations and conduct employee interviews. Employee information gathered by interviews is time consuming and costly. Each interview is typically 30 minutes to 1 hour in duration.  Time needed to conduct interviews may represent 75% of the auditors on site time and 50% of the total time needed to complete the entire audit (i.e. including the audit report). Some safety associations currently allow auditors to use a limited number of employee surveys to gather the employee perceptions. The survey approach to gathering employee information is cost effective and it needs to be expanded significantly. We are not aware of any improvements to further reduce costs associated with conducting audit interviews.
  • Ensure all auditors meet high standards of experience, education and training – Auditor competency varies significantly from one safety association to another. When a company receives an audit score they need to be assured that the auditor is fully competent to score every question accurately. For example, if the question relates to a contractor safety management process, the auditor must have a full grasp of what a proper contractor process looks like. The low certification standards of some safety associations contribute to inaccurate audit findings and affect the credibility of the auditing profession. We are not aware of any improvements to ensure auditor competency.
  • Allow Safety Perception Surveys as a Measurement Option – A safety perception survey standard was created a few years ago for use in the Partners In Injury Reduction Program in Alberta. Dupont was brought in to advise on the standard. The Dupont model is cost prohibitive for most employers. This measurement option is not used and the standard needs to be revisited.
  • Create Safety Perception Survey Infrastructure – If there were no infrastructure for auditing, there would be no auditing. For this reason, few safety perception surveys are conducted in the Partnership’s recognition program as the survey infrastructure is lacking. To truly consider this as a measurement option, a standard survey(s) needs to be developed. A survey administrator training course is needed to train prospective survey administrators on the survey process. A web based database is needed to help maintain anonymity and sort through the survey data. This infrastructure has not been made available.

It should be noted that the Government has taken action on some other key issues. For example, the safety associations no longer require full consensus of all associations relative to proposed changes or improvements to the Partnership’s program.


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