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UNSAFE ACT AUDITING

PTS 60.2003
Rev 1

JUNE 2006

PREFACE
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PTS 60.2003
JUNE 2006

Amendment Record Sheet

Chapter
No.

Section
No.

Description

Issue
No.

Date

Revision
No.

Date

Approve
by :
(initial)

All

All

PTS 60.062
Unsafe Act
Auditing

October
04

IGA

Chapter
No.

Section
No.

Description

Issue
No.

Date

Revision
No.

Date

Approve
by :
(initial)

All

All

Renumbering
from PTS
60.062 to
PTS 60.2003

June 06

June
06

IGA

PTS 60.2003
JUNE 2006

CONTENTS
1. Introduction
2. Objectives
3. Technique
4. Implementation
APPENDIX 1

UNSAFE ACT AUDIT REPORT FORM

APPENDIX 2

OUTLINE OF UNSAFE ACT AUDITING


TRAINING WORKSHOP

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1.

INTRODUCTION
The Enhanced Safety Management (ESM) guidelines, issued in November 1985,
contained guidance to PETRONAS managements on the structure of a
comprehensive system of safe working, designed to assist in achieving significant
and sustained improvements in safety performance. One component of this system is
the auditing of standards and practices, both by formally scheduled audits, and by
audits limited to observation and correction of unsafe acts and conditions.
Experience with ESM highlights:

A very high proportion of accidents result from individuals' unsafe acts.

Existing audit programmes focus almost entirely on facilities and systems rather
than on individuals' working practices.

In many cases safety management efforts are reactive, driven by poor accident
statistics rather than aimed at accident prevention.

The need is therefore seen to be pro-active in removing the basic causes of accidents,
and to supplement the existing audit and inspection procedures with the structured
implementation of unsafe act auditing.
Unsafe act auditing requires a positive safety culture and should not be introduced in
isolation from the other aspects of ESM.
This Guide to Unsafe Act Auditing covers:
Objectives.
Technique.
Implementation.
Its contents are applicable to all those exposed to risk by or through Company
activities i.e. Company employees, the employees of contractors, distributors and
agents, visitors and customers.
2.

OBJECTIVES

To reduce significantly the potential for accidents in the individual's working


practices, both the unsafe acts committed and the unsafe conditions created.

To reaffirm and improve the accepted standards of safety.

To improve communication and understanding, and so contribute towards more


effective use of the total resources of the business.

To provide a more sensitive indication of safety performance than is given by


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accident statistics.

To change the cultural attitude towards safety, from one where:




Unsafe practices are condoned.

Safety management is reactive, concentrating on statistics.

Safety is seen as an extra and not as an integral part of the business.


Safety is seen as 'someone else's' responsibility to one where:

Unsafe acts and conditions are observed, identified and eradicated.

Safety management is preventive, concerned with people.

Safety management is an integral and cost-effective part of business


management.

Safety is accepted as a personal responsibility by each member of


management, supervision and workforce.

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3.

TECHNIQUE
The technique depends on an open discussion of individuals' performance in a blame
free atmosphere, in order that they should recognise their own unsafe acts and
commit themselves to safer working environment. Good results depend on the
understanding and trust of those being audited as well as the skills and attitudes of
those making the audits.
The five basic steps are:
Preparation
Select a suitable area for the audit. Whilst first line supervisors will often audit on
their own, higher levels of supervision should involve a subordinate with
responsibilities on the selected site.
Observation
At a worksite stop for a few' minutes and observe people's activity, looking both for
unsafe acts and conditions and for good safety practices.
Discussion
Discuss with the people doing the work how the job could be done more safely.
Encourage them to identify the hazards and to volunteer improvements in their
working practices. Ensure that all the unsafe acts and conditions observed are
discussed, and good safety practices commended.
Recording
After the audit, list the unsafe acts and conditions observed and the category of
person involved.
Follow-up
The worksite supervisor retains or is sent the list of observations for follow-up. A
copy is sent to the Safety Department for analysis.
These basic steps are covered in more detail in the following sections.

3.1

PREPARATION

3.1.1 Communication
It is important that the objectives and methodology of the unsafe act auditing process
have been fully discussed with Company and contractor employees before the
programme is started. They should be told that work practices will be observed for
their safety content, that ways of improving safe working will be discussed with them
and that their ideas will be welcomed.
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3.1.2 Audit Team Composition


Audits are carried out by all members of management and supervision in a process
cascading from top management through the organisation. Ideally the time spent by
all levels should be the same.
The responsibility for maintaining a safe working environment and the detailed
knowledge of the site operations rests with the site supervision. It is therefore
desirable that one of them accompany any 'outside' auditor.
3.1.3 Time Allocation
Audits should be carried out frequently and regularly, aiming for a total of one to two
hours per week per person.
This time should be devoted solely to safety inspections and not combined with other
activities.
3.1.4 Structure
All areas of a worksite, or each of a group of sites, should be covered over a
reasonable period; do not attempt to cover the whole operation in one audit.
Concentrate on known problem areas first and on areas, which have a high level of
activity.
3.1.5 Review of previous audit findings
Prior to starting the audit, spend a few minutes reviewing previous audit findings and
recommendations for the area to be audited.
3.1.6 Set an example
The auditor should comply with the safety rules and procedures for the area being
audited e.g. wear the required protective clothing and obtain the required admission
approval.
3.2

OBSERVATION

3.2.1 What to look for


During the audit look for unsafe practices. These may be unsafe acts, violations both
of the written and the unwritten common sense safety rules and procedures, or unsafe
conditions.
3.2.2 How to observe

At the worksite stop for a few minutes and observe the work activity.

Concentrate on people working, not on things.


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Be alert for unsafe practices that are corrected as you enter the area.
Categorise activities systematically. Consider:

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Actions of people
Positions of people
Personal protective equipment
Use of tools
Suitability of equipment
Procedures

3.3

Question 'Why?' and 'What if .... ?'Keep an open mind.

Recognise good as well as poor working practices.

Do not take notes whilst observing activities; it can create distrust.

DISCUSSION

3.3.1 Objective
To have employees participate in improving performance through recognising and
correcting their own unsafe acts, and the unsafe conditions they cause.
To inculcate the safety culture and thinking to employees in line with OSHA 1994
regulations.
3.3.2 Method
Ways to achieve this objective will depend on individual situations and personalities,
but some suggested points to consider are:

Do not rush. Take time to put employees at ease and in a friendly mode.

Be open and direct, but not confrontational.

Question and discuss, do not lecture; keep listening. Allow employees themselves
to identify the hazards and to volunteer improvements in their working practices.

Guide discussions by prompting questions; do not manipulate.

Commend good performance.

Make it a mutual learning experience for both line management and employees.

Help, do not blame. Audits should not normally result in disciplinary action; an
exception being where conduct consistently violates safety rules.
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3.4

Be aware that the auditor's reactions, and the standards shown to be acceptable,
will be critical to the continued raising of standards.

Encourage employees to discuss their safety concerns and offer ideas.

Write down their concerns and ideas and ensure that they are followed up and the
outcome communicated to the employees. This will give the employees a
comforting feeling that they have been successful in highlighting the issues that
need to be resolved.

Do not leave an area without discussing your observations with the employees, as
such an omission is certain to generate unease and distrust.

Thank employees for their participation and co-operation.

RECORDING
After the audit, the unsafe acts and conditions observed should be discussed by the
observers, the further action items agreed and the findings recorded. An example of a
Report Form to be used for follow-up by the site supervision and the Safety
Department is shown in Appendix 1.

3.5

FOLLOW UP

3.5.1 Supervision
Report Forms provide supervisors with feedback on safety performance trends in the
area for which they are responsible and specific items to be followed-up. They will
show where the weaknesses are, where procedures require strengthening and where
training is needed.
They will help to form the basis for developing an action plan to improve
performance at the worksite.
The findings, performance trends, action in respect of employees' suggestions and
action plan should be discussed in safety meetings.
3.5.2 Safety Department
The Safety Department should receive copies of audit Report Forms, for analysis to:
Monitor the audit process.
Identify performance trends.
Assess overall strengths, weaknesses and training needs.
4.

IMPLEMENTATION
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Unsafe act auditing is an extremely powerful tool for stimulating positive action to
prevent accidents and for improving the two-way flow of communication on safety
matters at all levels.
Used negatively in a blame or disciplinary environment its power can be damaging,
provoking strong negative reactions from the work force.
It is therefore vital that the implementation plan provides for uniform
communication, training and verification, backed by a high level of visible
management involvement. Training in the technique requires practice in small groups
under the direct supervision of an expert. Providing the resources for this will be one
of the major challenges of implementation.
An outline of the steps needed, which can be adapted to local circumstances, is given
below.
4.1

4.2

COMMITMENT

Brief the management team and obtain their commitment to provide high-calibre
supervisors for an implementation task force, to make themselves and their staff
available for training and to involve themselves in implementation.

Discuss objectives of the implementation plan, ideas, potential barriers and


solutions with all levels of employees through the safety committees.

Select a cadre of high-calibre supervisors, one from each of the Line


Departments, together with Safety and Training staff, to carry out the initial
implementation phase.

TRAINING

This cadre is then trained in the technique directly by outside experts, either by
attending outside courses or in an in-house course.

The cadre develops training material for in-house workshops to cascade the
technique down the Company. All members of the cadre can then run training
workshops, with the line supervisors providing the additional training required
for their more specialised operations. An outline-training workshop is shown in
Appendix 2.

Each Department develops its implementation plan, covering not only the release
of staff for training but also requiring those trained to practice the skills straight
away, with follow-up on progress by their supervisor.

Each of the supervisor groups going through the initial in-house courses should
include a Manager or Department Head, to ensure the effectiveness of the
training, and to demonstrate management support as well as to acquire the
technique.
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4.3

APPLICATION

Application of the unsafe act auditing process is via the management line.

The first line supervisor is the key figure in the process being the direct interface
between management and the work force, but it is also essential that all levels of
management visibly support and participate in the elimination of unsafe practices.

Reports (see Appendix 1) are required for each audit completed, providing a
motivator by measurement of the success in reducing unsafe acts, to indicate
implementation progress, and to identify areas where line action is needed.

The ultimate implementation objective will be self-auditing by all employees.

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APPENDIX 1

UNSAFE ACT AUDIT REPORT FORM

List unsafe acts and/or unsafe conditions which could cause accidents

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APPENDIX 2

OUTLINE OF UNSAFE ACT AUDITING

TRAINING WORKSHOP Objectives


To provide supervision with the skills to carry out unsafe act auditing effectively.
To motivate them to use these skills to achieve and maintain high levels of safety
performance in the areas for which they are responsible.
Participation
Classroom sessions would involve groups of about 15 to 25. For the site training to be
effective, the Practical Audit sessions should be carried out by one instructor with 3 or 4
trainees.
Material
In Sessions 2 and 3 photo and/or video material should be used for demonstration and
discussion of unsafe acts and conditions that may have the potential for accidents. This
material is best prepared locally so as to be relevant to the Company's operations and
environment.
Programme
The detailed timing will depend on Company organisation and logistics. The subjects to be
covered would include:
Session Aims
1

Introduction
To discuss the Company's safety philosophy, policy and aims, and the key elements of
safety management. To discuss who is responsible for safety. To illustrate that auditing
for unsafe acts is a key element in achieving success.

2 The principles of unsafe act auditing


To detail and discuss the key elements in carrying out an unsafe act audit.
3 Deciding what and where to
In discussion with participants to decide what needs to be looked
4

Deciding what and where to audit audit


In discussion with participants to decide what needs to be looked for in specific worksite
areas. To plan and prepare for the audit.

A practical audit.
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Groups of three or four, accompanied by the instructor to carry out an unsafe act audit in
a worksite location. Depending on the number of participants several locations can be
audited participating, several locations can be audited simultaneously by different
groups.
6 Review of practical audit.
To discuss what has been seen and develop specific action plans for managers and
supervisors for elimination of the types of unsafe acts and conditions observed,
7 Review of the workshop
To review what has been learned during the workshop. To motivate participants to
implement unsafe auditing in their work areas.
If possible, sessions 3, 4 and 5 should be repeated in a different work situation. Indeed, it
is preferable to practice the techniques as much as possible in various working
environments.
Where highly specialised work practices are involved it is essential that the initial basic
site workshop be followed by an exercise with a specialist instructor at an appropriate
worksite.
The minimum basic workshop would take one day, preferably extended to two days by
additional practical exercises.

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