Safety Culture Workshop 2021 – Group 1 Companies – Summary Report

Listening, Leveraging and Learning from Each Other

November 1, 2021

IntroductionSigns: Environment, Health and Safety

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) hosted a virtual Safety Culture facilitated meaningful conversation among the participants and encouraged sharing of experiences and learning from one another in a small group environment.

The workshop objectives were to:

  • Promote learning and sharing across CER regulated companies;
  • Promote learning and sharing between the CER and regulated companies; and
  • Listen and learn from the actions of others to improve the regulator’s performance.

CER Three Year Safety Culture Strategy (2020–2023)

The CER shared information regarding its current three-year safety culture strategy for 2020–23. The strategy is based upon two goals: a focus on system influence or advancing safety culture across industry and a focus on individual company understanding of human and organizational factors including safety culture. These goals will be achieved through:
  • Development and sharing of additional safety culture guidance and tools;
  • Development of analytics to help identify human and organizational factors with risk-informed company outreach activities to discuss findings; and
  • Regulatory collaboration with other agency members of the North American Regulators Working Group on Safety Culture.

To date, the CER has accomplished the following efforts related to the strategy:

  • Release of an updated Statement on Safety Culture;
  • Development and public release of a Safety Culture Learning Portal, which provides access to materials related to safety culture. The portal will be updated with new content on a regular basis;
  • Release of the CER’s Departmental Results Framework survey results via a letter to all Accountable Officers; and
  • Funding and chairing of a project to draft a Canadian Standards Association Express Document on Human and Organizational Factors, which will include safety culture.

What We Heard from Participants

Participants noted their commitment to advancing safety culture and acknowledged that 2020/2021 presented several challenges to these efforts. COVID-19 was mentioned several times and its impact included limiting leadership visibility with personnel and those working on behalf of the companies. Participants discussed challenges that sub-cultures can play in company safety culture maturity. Evaluating and monitoring contractor/sub-contractor safety culture was identified as an ongoing challenge associated with broader industry safety culture advancement.

Notably, participants referenced the historical use of lagging indicators (e.g., lost time injury rates) as measures for safety as problematic when seeking to build and maintain a positive safety culture. Some noted that there is an emerging trend away from these metrics to better understand the organization’s current “health” regarding prevention of harm.

Company representatives shared efforts that were making a difference to their safety culture goals. A focus on safety leadership, which may include leadership education, identification of formal and informal safety champions, a holistic approach to safety management that encompasses personal, psychological, and operational safety alongside environmental protection, and high-quality engagement and leadership visibility have had a positive impact.

Participants suggested that the CER could support their safety culture efforts by:

  1. facilitating cross-industry sharing and collaboration (e.g., aviation, nuclear industries) to learn from others’ experiences;
  2. promoting industry-wide sharing and learning associated with incidents and near misses;
  3. establishing more workshops and other opportunities to share regulatory updates, recognize successful safety culture initiatives, and other lessons learned.

Next Steps

Participant feedback and evaluation forms noted that regulator-industry safety culture workshops represent valuable opportunities for the exchange of ideas and gathering of feedback. The CER will seek opportunities for ongoing outreach with industry members on safety culture advancement and continue implementation of its three-year safety culture strategy.

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