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Safety Opinion Survey - know what is really going on

I started doing safety management audits in 1975 with a predecessor of the ISRS (International Safety Rating System) and after 1978 I used the ISRS. Before the audit, I liked to carry out (safety) opinion surveys with the questionnaires that you will below.

The advantage of doing an opinion survey prior to the audit is that I would have substantial information available so I already knew what people were thinking about the management system of their organization. Since the survey included subjective and open questions, I would also have an idea of how they would feel about the subject - in my case: safety.

My experience was that I never found much or any conflict between the survey results and the results of the audit.  

The opinion surveys were done at three levels in the organization:

  • Top and middle management
  • Supervision
  • Operational employees

The surveys were carried our anonymously and given to persons selected by me from the personnel list. The number of selected people per level depended on the number present on that level. In principle, this meant that the number of interviewees increased moving from top management to operational employees.

A number of questions were the same or similar at each level while other questions were more specifically directed at the particular group.

In total about 60 questions were asked. Those questions were:

  • objective
  • subjective
  • open

Go through the documents and you will see what I mean.

After getting the opinion surveys back, I combined the responses into one report highlighting the issues of agreement as well as the issues of disagreement. Obviously, if the management system would be working well you would find a high degree of agreement while otherwise you could find substantial disagreement. The results of the survey also gave important in formation to the people in the organization. This information was particularly important to management, for example in the situation where management gave 8 out of 10 point to the quality of their safety efforts while the same efforts did not get more than 4 out of 10 on the shop floor.

So here are the three documents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
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