Working in nuclear silos? Time to integrate your management system.

09 March 2016

80% of all safety events are caused by human errors, and of these, 70% result from organisational weaknesses rather than individuals’ mistakes1.

In the nuclear sector and elsewhere, hand-over points between different teams and functions are the major point where these failures occur, particularly where teams work in ‘silo’s without collaborating. Organisations that adopt a cross-functional, integrated approach to process management, explicitly dealing with cross-over points and collaboration, improve their safety performance, while also achieving the financial and efficiency benefits of reduced process waste.

(For discussion of methods to reduce individual mistakes, see here).

The principal nuclear industry standard on management systems, GS-R-3 is due to be replaced with a wider reaching document on Leadership and Management for Safety (DS456). This new document specifically reinforces the commitment from GS-R-3 to integrate different aspects of management into one combined system:

“Requirement 6: The management system shall integrate all elements in the management system, including safety, health, environmental, security, quality, human performance, societal and economic elements, so that safety is not compromised.”2 Nuclear table

Combining each of these elements into one Integrated Management System (IMS) is closely linked to the concept of a ‘process centric organisation’, one that focusses on end-to-end processes rather than individual teams with specific remits.

Organisations that recognise, address and successfully overcome the challenges involved with implementing an IMS can deliver substantial business benefits. Primarily, it embeds compliance within the day to day work of front-line staff and reinforces each individual’s personal responsibility for safety, security, sustainability and quality.

However, many organisations have not implemented this integrated approach. Organisations have remained with existing separate management systems, or have partially integrated, but left elements such as safety and environment in their own defined areas rather than truly embedding them in front-line procedures.

Despite this, in our experience, the nuclear industry is one of the sectors with the most to gain from using a process centric approach. The benefits that can be delivered by an IMS are uniquely aligned with the requirements for doing business in the nuclear sector, e.g. personal responsibility for safety and the need for cross-discipline collaboration.

The upcoming release of Leadership and Management for Safety provides a catalyst for organisations in the nuclear sector to reconsider their approach to management systems.

To find out more, please click here

1IAEA NG-T-2.7 Managing Human Performance to Improve Nuclear Facility Operation

2 IAEA DS456 Leadership and Management for Safety Draft 17 March 2015

Mat Leedham, Director

Ben Haden, Consulting



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