Safety Culture

Safety Culture

Safety Culture Concept and its Development

The recognition of important role played by the strong Safety Culture in adherence to high safety standards by both organizations and individuals is growing nowadays.

The term "Safety Culture" was first introduced in 1986 in the Summary Report on the Post-Accident Review Meeting on the Chernobyl Accident, which was prepared by the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) formed by IAEA Director General. INSAG concluded that root causes of Chernobyl Accident involve human factor, and all operating NPPs need to create and maintain '“Nuclear Safety Culture” in combination with implementation of required measures intended to strengthen discipline. In order to create Safety Culture it was proposed to concentrate IAEA efforts on encouraging exchange of experience, developing additional recommendations including prevention of severe accidents, and providing assistance to operating NPPs in the issues related to operators’ training, qualification, and certification. Speaking about training it was understood that operators need to have appropriate knowledge of nuclear reactor, its operation, including simulator training, and to understand potential safety significance of all deviations from normal operation.

The report named INSAG-1 addressed such safety issues as non-conformity of existing RBMK reactor design with the defense-in-depth concept, delays in communication or lack of essential information vitally needed by operators to control the reactor. However this report is most often cited in the literature in connection with Safety Culture. Although report didn’t define the term and lacked concept description, nevertheless the Safety Culture idea became the so called “Grail bowl” which enables to achieve the cherished goal that seems to be inaccessible.   
In 1989, INSAG released a report “Basic Safety Principles for Nuclear Power Plants” (INSAG–3) where Safety Culture was highlighted as a key concept to achieve excellence in nuclear safety area and a fundamental management principle. The first attempt was made to fill Safety Culture concept with content, which included such ideas as ‘full attention to safety issues’, ‘personal dedication and accountability of all individuals’, ‘environment of safety consciousness’, and ‘psychological dedication to safety’. ‘Psychological safety’ was declared a key element of safety culture.

INSAG-4, published in 1991, made one of the first attempts to define what is meant by safety culture and to turn the concept into practical language. It gave the definition of safety culture, presented its concept, universal features, main components and requirements, and provided a big list of questions to judge the effectiveness of Safety Culture in organizations. Safety Culture was defined as "that assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organizations and individuals which establishes that, as an overriding priority, nuclear plant safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance". The report underlined that Safety Culture is a question of personal attitude and organizational structure, and refers to both organizations and individuals.

Since then, lots of documents were published about Safety Culture, its relations with organizations and individuals, its enhancement, and main requirements.

IAEA publication “Developing Safety Culture in Nuclear Activities” № 11, Safety Reports Series explains that Safety Culture is a subset of the wider organizational culture, while the latter contains a combination of shared values, attitudes, and behaviors, which gives its specific character to this organization. In plain words, this is "our way of doing business".

Based on ideas described in INSAG-4, INSAG-13 Report “Management of Operational Safety in Nuclear Power Plants” added the set of universal features for an effective safety management system, which forms the basis of a high safety culture.  INSAG–15 Report “Key Practical Issues in Strengthening Safety Culture” was published in 2002, and it was written to translate the safety culture concept into everyday language so that operators and regulators not only had framework for understanding the subject but could measure performance against clearly stated and universally applicable criteria.
INSAG–15 described the following key practical issues in strengthening safety culture:
-    Commitment to safety;
-    Use of procedures;
-    Conservative decision making;
-    A reporting culture;
-    Challenging unsafe acts and conditions;
-    Learning organization;

In addition to the specific issues discussed earlier there are three prerequisites which underpin all of these issues:
-    Communication,
-    Clear priorities;
-    Organization

Safety Culture Committee

In 2007, KhNPP Safety Culture (SC) Committee was formed with safety culture management purposes, and it functions in line with “Regulations for Safety Culture Committee”, №0.UP.2943.PL-15.  
The SC Committee goal is to ensure effective management of KhNPP activities related to enhancement and development of safety culture, which is a fundamental safety principle.
In order to attain the above goal, the SC Committee is entrusted with organization and control of the following main objectives:
-    Establish goals and objectives for development and enhancement of KhNPP safety culture;
-    Assess SC level achieved by KhNPP;
-    Identify systematic problems in implementation of SC principles by KhNPP, take  adequate decisions related to corrective actions intended to fix such problems;
-    Take decisions related to strategic / key areas for SC development in KhNPP;
-    Adopt Action Plans aimed at SC development in KhNPP and evaluate the status of their implementation;
-    Approve decisions to allocate / distribute resources required for development of safety culture in KhNPP and control if they are efficiently used;
-    Evaluate efficiency of KhNPP administrative and engineering personnel in ensuring and developing safety culture;
-    Submit SC issues for consideration of NNEGC Energoatom’s Safety Culture Board, which need to be decided at the Company level, and organize implementation of its decisions by KhNPP.

SC Committee is a collegial body. The Chairman of SC Committee is KhNPP General Director, and Deputy Chairman is KhNPP Chief Engineer. The membership of SC Committee is determined by KhNPP order. The Committee shall include KhNPP senior managers responsible for:
-    Operations;
-    Maintenance;
-    Radioactive waste management;
-    Nuclear fuel management;
-    Nuclear safety;
-    Radiation safety;
-    Industrial safety;
-    Supervision and oversight;
-    Human resources management;
-    Personnel qualification management;
-    Engineering, scientific and technical support;
-    Quality management.

Also, the above order assigns Committee member responsible for organizational support, and a secretary.    Roles are distributed among the Committee members and recorded in the minutes of the Committee meetings.
The Committee activities involve regular meetings based on the Committee annual plans. KhNPP line managers can be invited to the Committee meetings depending on issues to be discussed. All Committee members have the right to vote. Decisions are taken by simple majority of votes. Invited participants have consultative vote. The Committee decisions are documented in the minutes of the meeting.