Holistic safety macrotool

The Holistic Safety MacroTool is designed to help you improve the overall safety of your operations Diagram depicting of Holistic Safety

The MacroTool (see also MicroTools)

How does the MacroTool work?

The MacroTool comprises a rating system, which can be used to assess the adequacy of holistic safety in your operations across a range of attributes. Each attribute contained within the Holistic Safety Guidelines is listed in the tool e.g. ‘personnel selection’ and ‘personnel training’, are listed within the overarching characteristic of ‘Human Factors’. The Holistic Safety Guidelines - Sample Questions set out a range of questions that can be used to probe each attribute listed in the table. Information to answer these questions can be obtained through staff discussions and responses, or analysing current procedures and practices and recorded in the table. The rating system allows each attribute to be rated (from low to high between 1 and 5) and justified (justification of why the rating was given). The final score will help direct attention to, and prioritise areas that are considered weaker and highlight the strengths of other areas where good performance is observed. This scoring system provides a quick visual cue to the areas that may need improvement. As part of a continuous improvement process, it is important any issues identified are monitored to ensure changes have been successfully implemented.

Is the MacroTool mandatory?

The tools are not mandatory and do not negate requirements under the ARPANS Act or individual licence conditions. However, ARPANSA encourages licence holders to use the tools as a way to help licence holders improve the safety of their operations. ARPANSA Regulators may also use the tools as the basis for discussions with licence holders and applicants.

Can the tool be adapted and modified?

Yes. A graded approach should be adopted when using the tool. Licence holders should adapt the tool (the questions, rating system, design, etc.) to suit the unique risks and operations of their organisation. There are several ways the tool can be adapted and tailored to your operations including:

RATING SYSTEM: The rating system which currently uses a 5-point scale from high to low. can be changed to be simpler or more complex, to give greater resolution. A greater grading will enable greater resolution and may be better suited for larger licence holders.

ATTRIBUTES: The tool currently uses the main attributes of the Holistic safety guidelines e.g. for Characteristic 2 (non-technical skills) the main attributes of non-technical skill of communication, leadership, team-working, etc., is used. This can be modified to target more detailed attributes or can be broaden using attributes that provide an overall indication for the characteristic.

Six key things to help you use the tool

1. Get management support

Ensure you have management or leadership support and commitment before you start. This will help ensure that any shortfalls in results obtained can be used to make changes and improvements to your organisation.

2. Identify area to analyse

Decide which area(s) you wish to analyse using the MacroTool (e.g. a particular operation, section, department, or even the entire organisation). It is helpful if this is done in consultation with management and staff. You might like to consider the following when deciding which area to examine:

  • What areas do incident reports, inspections, staff reports or audits, suggest are areas which need closer examination than others?
  • What is the relative risk of the area under control?

3. Communicate the purpose

Communicate with staff the purpose of the exercise in using the MacroTool. Staff should be clear that it is about identifying weaknesses and areas for improvement, not about blame. Notify staff of the purpose and what will happen early, before the analysis begins. This will help promote staff participation in the exercise.

4. Sources of information

You need information and data to feed into the MacroTool to help you identify areas where you can improve. The following are a non-exhaustive list of things you can use:

  • Discussions and information from staff and operators. This could be done in a group, such as a section or team meeting, or individually.
  • Documents such as procedures, policies, work instructions, checklists, reports, etc.
  • Observation of work practices and operations such as analysing practices (such as a particular operation or function from start to finish).
  • Analysis of equipment and barriers and controls.
  • Results from using the MicroTools.

5. Documents to help you

The Holistic safety guidelines and Holistic safety guidelines - sample questions can help you. The MacroTool contains the holistic safety attributes of the Guidelines, helping you analyse which areas of holistic safety you can improve in. Answers to the questions outlined in the Sample Questions will help you understand how well you meet the principles of the Guidelines. You should modify and tailor the questions to your organisation – include relevant questions and discard questions that may not apply. The purpose of the questions is to enable you interrogate your system and find weaknesses and strengths in holistic safety, promote discussions and get people thinking about safety.

6. Self-awareness and self-management

When asking questions of staff, it is important to note that the way you ask questions (tone, body language) is just as important as what you ask. Be self-aware and manage the way you ask questions, so that you promote discussions with staff, not discourage them.

Three things to do once you’ve completed the analysis

1. Look at overall results and patterns

Certain patterns in performance are likely to emerge once you have completed the MacroTool analysis. For example, the area examined may have excellent training with regard to safety and security but be weak in other areas such as maintaining records and event reporting. Thus it may be that improvements are needed in record keeping and documentation, that may resolve both issues, promoting event reporting and better records of training. Understand and analyse these interdependent patterns and factors to know where best to address your weaknesses.

2. Start an action plan

Draft an action plan once you have identified the weaknesses and strengths in your operations. Whatever action plan you make should link to your analysis showing which aspects should be improved. The rating system used in the analysis will help prioritise the actions you need to take.

3. Results should promote action and continuous improvement

Results from the MacroTool and the action plan should be used to inform an action plan to improve. It is important you have leadership support to ensure these actions are implemented. As part of continuous improvement, it is important to review any changes made to ensure that they are successful.

Need help or assistance?

Contact ARPANSA’s Safety Analysis Section if you have any questions or need help with using tools.

ARPANSA Safety Analysis Section
03 9433 2338
03 9541 8350