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SafetyPerceptionSurvey-A Case Study

SafetyPerceptionSurvey-A Case Study

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Published by Pillai Sreejith

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Published by: Pillai Sreejith on Sep 01, 2008
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Pillai Sreejith
Safety Perception Survey –
 A Refinery Case Study 
A grass-root refinery (certified ISO 9002, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001) decided to carry outSafety Perception Survey (SPS) of their employees, totaling to around 1723. SPS, worldover is conducted as part of Culture Change Management (CCM). SPS results will be usedto effectively design the CCM programme. The trends / indicators revealed by SPSanalysis will be used as foundation blocks, on which the CCM programme is built upon.
Why SPS?
Generally, few employees voice strong opinions and managements have no way of knowing how widespread and important the raised issues are. Keeping this in mind, thegeneral objective of SPS was to complete a thorough evaluation of the safety perceptionof the client’s employees. To summarize, the objective was to:
To evaluate the safety perception and safety culture of employees withreference to occupational health & safety issues
To assess employee involvement level in the existing safety programme
To assess the employee perception regarding the existing safety management system
All over the world, SPS is being seen as a measure of the “organizational health andsafety culture”. It is also generally agreed that culture of the organization plays a leadrole in why employees behave the way they do. For proactive organizations who are onthe constant lookout for safety development (beyond international safety certification(OHSAS 18001, ISRS, British Safety Sword of Honour, etc.), SPS is logically the next step.SPS also helps managements to understand whether their safety programmes areeffective, their safety policies are functional as expected by the management- a kind of reality check! Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD), India also recommends SPS.Moreover, the proactive client management also believes that the safety perception of the employees is of paramount importance as it is a lead indicator of the safetyperformance of an organization.
Scope and Approach of Safety Perception Survey
 The process by which this perception study was conducted is consistent with the generalstate of safety management and the best professional judgment of the survey team.Figure in the next pagedepicts the key steps in the survey process. SPS was conducted by 4 surveyors(experienced risk management engineers) for nearly 8 days. The survey team had used customized questionnaires, which were evolved inconsultation with the executives from Fire & Safety department of the client. There were four main components in the approach to this evaluation:
Safety Management Systems
Human Factors
Safety Culture
Safety Perception Survey – A Refinery Case Study
Pillai Sreejith
Employee Participation
 The survey was intended to address the following:
Management and Line Organization Commitment to Safety 
Personal Involvement in Safety 
Training, Competence and Awareness of Responsibilities
Perception towards Accidents / Incidents and their reporting system
Efforts were made towards sampling major facets of safety management, but it isimportant to recognize that this method is intended to uncover major systemdeficiencies and the evaluation may not have identified all potential strengths andweaknesses.
Key Steps in the Safety Perception Survey Process:
Pre Survey Activities Onsite Survey ActivitiesPost Survey Activities
SPS Elements:
After extensive deliberations (internal and with the client), 17 elements were included inthe SPS questionnaire, under 4 broad categories:
Safety Perception Survey – A Refinery Case Study
Defining the scope andmethodology of the surveyDiscussion with client to identifythe key elements, categories of employees and the samplingpercentageEvolution of Questionnaire for various categories of theemployeesPre Survey meeting with client tofinalize the questionnaireSurvey Kick off meeting with theHODsof various Departments toexplain the objective andmethodologyGrouping of Survey team –Focuson various departmentsPersonal Interaction with theemployees across all the categoriesto gather information detailed in thequestionnaireDaily briefing of the personalinteractionsDevelopment of customizedsoftware to capture the datagathered during the surveyScientific Analysis of the structureddataInterpretation of data anddocumentation of findings as DraftReport –For comments from clientClose out meeting to brief clientTop management on surveyfindingsFinal Report incorporatingsuggestions / comments
Pillai Sreejith
Employee Categorization:
 The refinery employees were grouped based on their cadre / nature of operations so thatthe developed SPS questionnaire were relevant in consultation with the clientmanagement. This grouping helped the survey team to develop specific questionnairefor each of the categories.
Category 1
(Top Management)
Category 2
(Senior and middleManagement)
Category 3Category 4
Executive Director 
General Manager 
Dy. General Manager 
Chief Manager 
Senior Manager 
Deputy Manager 
Senior Engineer 
Field Operators
Contractor Employees
SPS Questionnaire Development:
After agreeing on the main and sub elements of the questionnaire, the survey team drafted thequestionnaire, one for each category. Various sub elements for each of the 17 elements weredeveloped based on survey team’s expertise & client’s operations. Although questionnaires weredesigned separately for each of the categories, the sub elements were kept same to have overallparity. The SPS also recorded the employee comments / suggestions in the questionnaire assuggested by the client. The following employee details were also recorded in the employeequestionnaire to help during the process of data analysis:
Designation / Cadre:
Number of years of experience:
Date & Time of Survey:
Selection of sub-elements for SPS elements can be best understood by the following example:
SPS Element: Emergency ManagementSub-Elements:
Emergency Communication
Updation of Emergency Management Plan
Confidence in emergency preparedness
Mock drill participation
Safety Perception Survey – A Refinery Case Study

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