Project: Management of safety rules and procedures

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 22/01/2014, published on 28/11/2012 by IOSH, and peer reviewed by IOSH

A review was conducted of the literature on the management of rules and procedures that affect safety, concentrating on rules at the workplace level. A literature search in the scientific and grey literature revealed 180 key references for study. The literature fell into two contrasting paradigms. The first is a relatively static, rationalist, top–down view of rules as the one best way of working, devised by experts distant from the workplace, imposed on operators as a way of constraining incorrect or inadequate behaviour, where violations are seen as aberrations to be suppressed. The second is a relatively dynamic, bottom–up view of rules as local, situated, socially constructed, devised by those at the sharp end, embodying their tacit knowledge from their experience of diverse reality. The report explores these two paradigms, the evidence from theory and field studies which supports or fills them out, and their consequences for procedure management. It proposes a model of procedure management that attempts to draw the lessons from both paradigms and combine their strong points. This is a nine-step dynamic cycle, driven by the central task of monitoring rule and procedure use in order to optimise it through a combination of learning and procedure modification, rule scrapping and rule enforcement. This framework forms the basis for the stand-alone ‘Notes of guidance’,* including a summary intervention plan to review and improve practice in organisations.

Human factors & behavioural safety, Leadership, Policies, Regulation (OSH), Risk management
Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, Environmental and Waste management, Finance, Fire, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Local Authorities, Manufacturing, Media, Nuclear, Offices, Offshore, Other, Public Sector, Quarrying / Mining, Railway, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport

Organisation: HASTAM UK

Private Organisation
Suite 729 10 Sovereign Court,
8 Graham Street,
B1 3JR,
0844 561 0434

Principal Investigator: Professor Andrew Hale (HASTAM UK)

Other Researchers: Dr David Borys and Professor Dennis Else (University of Ballarat)

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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK

t +44 (0)116 257 3100

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