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Supervisors and Mid-Managers at the Center of Safety

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    March 28, 2017
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • PDHs:

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Supervisors and Mid-Managers at the Center of Safety

We believe no one has more power to improve safety than our supervisors and mid-managers. Our paper shows how we are reaching them with new communication supporting their efforts to lead safety on the front line.

We were inspired by research from Professor Sicco van As working with eight Dutch chemical plants and finding a correlation of -0.64 between informal supervisor communication and the likelihood of serious process safety accidents. Taking this insight to heart, we are building communication making it easier for supervisors and mid-managers to understand and talk about our safety policies and procedures.

When we looked at our existing safety communication, we found our content was mostly accurate and up to date. On the other hand, the communication of this content was something from the 1950s. Our policies and procedures looked like they were written on a typewriter. A typewriter is 1950s technology. None of the advances in communication that have occurred in the last 70 years are evident in our old safety communication.

We are building new safety communication using the latest research:

  • reducing writing complexity by 50% (measured by Flesch-Kincaid grade levels)
  • graphical layout (associated with increased comprehension between 100% and 600%)
  • line length of 9 centimeters (correlated with highest reading accuracy)
  • fonts specifically designed for reading online (Verdana & Georgia)
  • color (increases time spent on page by 20%)
  • clear and precise information to reduce the potential of human error
  • pictures of incidents (increases compliance by 50%)

Our paper will highlight “before” and “after” examples of safety communication while showing the measured improvements in frontline comprehension.

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