Reflections on Sensemaking at Fukushima Daiichi

September 10, 2012

This post is contributed by Cindy Caldwell, ES&H Senior Technical Advisor, Environment Health Safety & Security, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. With a strong technical and operations background Cindy has immersed herself in seeking to understand the human and organizational dynamics that shape culture and organizational behaviors. She has been an active contributor and practitioner in the DOE human performance and safety culture improvement activities, the technical lead in the laboratory enterprise risk management initiative, and is pursuing a Phd in organizational science. My thanks to Cindy for these thoughtful and sensitive insights on the Fukumshima Daiichi catastrophe and what we may gain from a greater understanding of sense making and resilience. Read the rest of this entry »


Models, methodologies and meanderings

January 19, 2012

For this the first posting of 2012, here’s wishing you a safe, healthy and joyous year.  In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a while.  That’s because I’ve been fully occupied with safety culture assessments. But you’ve still been reading which seems to indicate that it’s time for some more reflections. Read the rest of this entry »


Understanding Culture (and organizations) for the rest of us —

October 7, 2011

Greetings. I’ve been away for a while (for those of you who might have noticed) engaging in the practical issues of ideas introduced in my last couple of postings.  A frequent reader suggested it was about time for me to pick back up on the discussions where I left off.  So what to do?  Read the rest of this entry »


Optimism run amok?

August 9, 2011

Before continuing with discussions of assessment in highly reliability organizations I want to share some thoughts prompted by meeting recently with one of the leading HRO researchers. Read the rest of this entry »


Assessment of high reliability seeking organizations – an off shore petroleum perspective

July 12, 2011

The first document we will examine in this series on assessment of high reliability seeking organizations is from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.  It is their Interim Report on the Effectiveness of Safety and Environmental Management Systems for Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Operations. The report was commissioned by the Minerals Management Service (MMS)-now the Bureau of ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BoEMRE).

The report begins by summarizing the history and purpose for undertaking this review:  Read the rest of this entry »


Assessing high reliability seeking organizations

July 10, 2011

“Organizations, concerned with their level of safety and/or with their public image, want to become HROs and maybe more importantly they want to be described as HROs. The HRO term has somehow become a label of excellence …”1   What began in the mid-1980’s by a multidisciplinary group of scholars at U.C. Berkeley has become a de facto standard of reference for high hazard science and technology organizations world- wide.  Read the rest of this entry »


High Reliability – an experiment in collaborative content development

April 14, 2011

This is an experiment in collaborative content development.  A High Reliability community of interest has emerged within DOE.  Members of this community have volunteered to collaborate in developing a description of what high reliability means in their science and technology contexts.  Cindy Caldwell, the High Reliability Champion at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory volunteered to take the lead in developing a first draft; our thanks to Cindy for bravely leading the way.  Those of you not in the DOE community are welcome and encouraged to contribute your comments.  Here’s Cindy’s opening offering: Read the rest of this entry »


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