BHP reduced their all injury Frequency Rate (AIFR)* by 58%, absenteeism by 28%, and improved the commitment to quality and professionalism with the simple introduction of an attitude-based development program.
Report compiled by Geoffrey Needham, Superintendent, BHP Rail Operations
* AIFR is the reported injuries per million hours worked
History and Background
For many years BHP has had a strong focus on safety with excellent results. The benefits of these programs however had plateaued and the results were not improving. One of the difficult areas was Rail Operations. Rail Operations consisted of 200 employees who had an AIFR of 328, an absenteeism rate of 9.6 days per person per year and a perceived reputation of being a difficult department with which to deal.
Advanced Safety & Quality Awareness Program
BHP became aware of the Advanced Safety & Quality Awareness Program (AS&QAP) which was developed in Australia by PAQS People and Quality Solutions Pty Ltd.
The AS&QAP is divided into three parts or phases:
Phase I consists of an Accident Risk Management (ARM) questionnaire and a personal one-on-one debriefing that focuses the individual employee on their personal responsibility for and their ability to control safety in their environment.
Phase II consists of participation in a one-day training session to develop and reinforce individual responsibility into a group context of interaction and commitment on-the-job. These factors are:
Phase III consists of reassessment and further individual debriefings as a follow-up to the training day to gain permanent attitude change.
The AS&QAP was seen as unique and different to other systems and behavioural approaches to safety improvement previously implemented by BHP. VVhile very structured it was found to be highly flexible, adaptable and synergistic with all current safety and quality management systems and procedures.
Accident Risk Management Profile
The foundation of the AS&QAP was the personal Accident Risk Management questionnaire providing each individual with a profile of safety awareness and areas of personal risk.
Psychologists in the US throughout the 1980s identified three primary and two supplementary attitudinal factors that contribute to most human error accidents and injuries.
These factors are:
- Safety Control - a measure of a person's willingness to accept personal responsibility for there own behaviour and results.
- Risk Avoidance - a measure of a person's willingness to avoid dangerous risk taking and follow safety procedures.
- Stress Tolerance - a measure of a person's ability to handle and cope effectively with stress.
- Driver Attitude - a measure of a persons: care, courteousness and commitment to safe and professional driving of all motor vehicles.
- Quality Orientation - a measure of a person's willingness and ability to take personal responsibility for their performance.
Research in Australia, New Zealand and the US, across many industries, had overwhelmingly demonstrated the ability of the ARM questionnaire to identify the 113 of the population responsible for, on average, 75% of accidents and 85% of lost-time due to injuries.
The ARM profile had proven itself as an essential tool in the area of recruitment, particularly for safety sensitive positions.
However, its primary value was viewed by its advocates as its ability to identify the specific factors (beliefs) underlying unsafe behavior that could be targeted and trained, thus the development of the AS&QAP.
While there were some reservations about whether attitude could be changed, BHP decided to trial the AS&QAP utilising stringent research controls.
As a first stage, to test the ARM questionnaires ability to identify the attitudinal factors contributing to injuries, a study was conducted where 100 employees completed the questionnaire.
Results were then correlated with the previous 12 months injury data for those employees.