White Paper – The Value Of Open Reporting In A Just Culture
Offical PDF: REVA – White Paper – Just Culture – 20180107
To create an environment where REVA has done everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees in the workplace, and where the employees are confident in our plan.
Discerning between a system that works smoothly to maintain workplace safety and employee satisfaction and one that fails to minimize risk by utilizing a reactive rather than proactive approach.
Set simple goals, monitor performance, evaluate outcomes and allow employees to assume an active role in creating a safe environment.
The REVA Method
At first glance, the two goals seem at odds. On one hand, companies pride themselves on good safety records; on the other, employees desire an environment that readily accepts blemishes on that record.
They need not be mutually exclusive. A business with a sparkling safety record can be home to employees who feel comfortable reporting injury and illness. It takes a proactive, rather than reactive, approach by management, and an honest, responsible approach by employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the goal of any safety and health program should be to “prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers.”
Creating a culture conducive to creating confidence in the freedom to report accidents begins with safe equipment. There is never a time when skimping on quality of equipment is a good idea. A printing business needs a well-maintained press not only to produce the product but to keep operators safe. A medical air-ambulance service needs aircraft kept tuned to fly at a moment’s notice. It’s common sense.
A company may have the best, safest equipment in the world, but – let’s face it – accidents happen. It is essential that a punitive culture, one that inhibits employees from reporting accidents, not prevail. An example is the well-intended safety scoreboard. Many companies keep track of their safety record by displaying statistics on a conveniently-placed, easily-read visual display. A fireworks company might hang “Accidents reported through July 4 – 0” on the wall. No employee wants to change that zero to one. The intent of the scoreboard might not be punitive; management may see it as a reward system. However, it is as inhibiting as a boss saying to an employee: “Why did you go and break your arm?” Or, “You fool!”
A blind-eye culture also can drive a lack of reporting. Employees need to understand the company wants to know what’s happening on the assembly line, that punishment will not be meted out for getting hurt, and that steps will be taken to not only care for the injured worker, but to ensure the accident doesn’t happen again.
A Just Culture is a culture in which front-line operators and others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are commensurate with their experience and training and in which gross negligence, willful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated. Just culture is neither a “blame” nor “no-blame” culture. The goal is to build a culture in which employees feel comfortable reporting issues. Nobody wants to tell on his colleague, but if that “don’t-tell-the-teacher” pressure doesn’t exist, then reporting becomes a necessary step rather than a threat of “I’m going to get you in trouble.” That comes with the feeling company management is looking out for workers, not looking over their shoulders while tapping feet. That’s a just culture.
Traditional approaches, OSHA goes on, are often reactive. Problems are “addressed only after a worker is injured or becomes sick, a new standard or regulation is published, or an outside inspection finds a problem that must be fixed.”
At REVA, an air-ambulance service that employs more than 300, workplace safety focuses on the fields of aviation and medicine. “Most of our employees are on aircraft,” Emma Roberts, its Director of Safety, said.The company uses a three-tiered system to ensure safety and create a comfortable atmosphere for reporting: regular training, a management system that follows Federal Aviation Administration and International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines, and a proactive approach to safety issues.
“Reporting injuries and illnesses is important,” Roberts said. “What we really value most is reporting hazards. If people don’t feel comfortable with a certain situation, they may report something that could happen as a result of what they’re seeing or what they’re working with. We like to be proactive: ‘How do we stop it from happening?’”
REVA offers multiple ways to report: online, a telephone hotline and email. “The most important piece is trust in the system,” Roberts said. “People have to know they’re in no jeopardy when reporting. We do everything we can to maintain confidentiality. And we get back to them. We let them know they’re making a difference.”
Those are vital elements to the free exchange of safety information between employee and management.
“For me, responding in a nonpunitive way to someone, once they give a report, makes a big difference,” Roberts said. “It’s important for an employee submitting a hazard to know their concerns are taken seriously.”
In other words, a pact is reached. The company’s safety agenda is clear: a basic program with simple goals and a focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance, and evaluating outcomes. The level of responsibility accepted by employees also must be clear, with a focus on high performance, pride, and the knowledge that an accident unreported is an accident that will happen again.
Together, they describe a path the workplace can take toward higher levels of safety and health. If both management and employees are invested in the policy, a strong reporting policy can strengthen the Just Culture, which will then in turn increase participation in the open reporting programs.
About EMMA ROBERTS
Emma Roberts joined the REVA management team as Director of Safety in April, 2017. Prior to joining REVA, Emma spent the last nine years at Spirit Airlines working in several different positions within Flight Operations and Safety, gaining experience in Voluntary Safety Programs, OSHA Compliance, Risk Management, and Safety Management System implementation. Emma received her Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Lynn University and an MBA in Aviation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Emma is passionate about implementing a comprehensive Safety Management System at REVA, and truly believes in the benefit of a positive safety culture at an organization.
REVA, Inc., owner-operators of a fleet of 20 medically-configured aircraft, including small and mid-size jets, employs over 300 air-ambulance-service professionals who deliver caring, efficient, fully-accredited medical care from bases throughout North America including the Caribbean. REVA, Inc., has completed more than 25,000 medical transports that include time-sensitive organ deliveries, trauma response, and intensive-care connections in addition to private charters associated with medical tourism, cruise-line passenger emergencies, and philanthropic efforts. REVA, Inc. has earned over a dozen top industry honors and recognitions from NAAMTA, EURAMI, International Assistance Group, ARGUS Platinum as well as the AAMS Fixed Wing Award of Excellence, ACE Safety Award, ITIJ 2015 Air Ambulance Provider of the Year Award and ITIJ 2016 Air Ambulance Provider of the Year Award Finalist.
REVA, Inc. and its air-ambulance services are licensed by U.S. and international agencies including U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (Certificate #O2JA595N Operated by REVA, Inc.), Canadian Transportation Agency International; EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) Approved Third Country Operator, TCO Code USA-0042; and U.S. Treasury Cuban operation authorization. Through individual and corporate affiliations, the staff and fleet uphold professional performance standards.
Offical PDF: REVA – White Paper – Just Culture – 20180107