Best Safety Moment Awards Entry: Forth Ports (2)

Award Nomination:

Forth Ports has utilised a safety culture measurement tool developed for the oil and gas industry by the writer to measure its safety culture maturity on a five category scale.  This toll uses a simple 20 question survey scored on a 5 point Leichardt Scale followed by a face to face conversation with up to a third of the employees to garner the subjective view behind the quantitative scoring of the survey.

The results are then analysed by the writer who has over 20 years’ experience in safety culture improvement work to develop a forward action plan.  The survey was conducted in October 2023 with conversations taking place through November and December.  The report was then issued to the Executive Board for review and approval of the plans. The main action points are to focus efforts on two locations with the lowest maturity scores through increased presence of senior leaders and localised

action plans, a hi-impact psychology of safety intervention across the group, launch and support for our internal Visible Felt Leadership Programme and Stand Down for Safety events and increased leadership of safety training.

The Visible Felt Leadership programme and Stand Downs have been our flagship interventions which have benefited the organisation by raising the profile of our leadership involvement with safety outcomes.

Additional Information

We embarked on the work as a result of recognising our safety performance had plateaued over the last few years and whilst good, was not good enough.  I was hired four years ago to specifically address this and brought the tool with me. 

The survey was issued via Survey Monkey and in paper forms to ensure we did not exclude people form responding particularly based on the age profile of the workforce with significant numbers of them over 50 not wanting to use technology and preferring paper as an option.  A big marketing campaign was initiated to provide sufficient visibility to the activity and again ensure responses where maximised.  Over 50% of the workforce completed a survey giving us a statistically accurate picture.

The interviews took place over several weeks with managers requested to make employees available for a one hour long conversation session.  All attendees were assured of confidentiality and that nothing was off the table in so far as the discussion was concerned.  Notes were taken rather than verbatim responses and then themed or clustered before entering in the report.

The analysis looked at individual questions and groups of questions that make up seven factors of safety culture as below:

  1. Commitment and leadership visibility – measured by statements 1 to 5;
  2. Employee communication, education and training – measured by statements 6 to 8;
  3. Involvement of people in the safety improvement process – measured by statement 9;
  4. Employee responsibility – measured by statements 10 and 11;
  5. Risk-taking Behaviour – measured by statements 12 to 15;
  6. Measurement and reinforcement – measured by statements 16 to 18; and
  7. Continuous improvement – measured by statements 19 and 20.

Comparisons were also made between the assets the group operates as shown in the graph below.

These results have driven the suggested improvement plan. Which in detail is

26 Berth – Scoring low in all areas – it is suggested that a focused workshop be conducted with all levels of the operation to review these results and develop a plan for the short, medium and long term.  Potential further organizational changes should be considered when planning the activity to avoid the repeat of the LCT situation mentioned above.

LCT – scoring low in all areas –   Consideration should be given to revisiting the LCT working culture project and considering the outputs again.  Improvements are needed in delivering feedback on observations and fault reporting.

Port of Leith – genuine concerns over the short to mid-term security of work.  This impacts the view people there hold in relation to management leadership and care for employees. Whilst the team understand the longer term prospects through the Green Port initiative the short to mid-term is the issue.