Research conducted in a cross-section of predominantly heavy-asset industries reveals what distinguishes high-reliability organizations (HROs) from the rest. The mission of many is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid. High-reliability organizations operate in high-risk, high-temp, and high-stakes environments but have an accident rate far lower than would be expected.
It is important to recognize high reliability organizations, but also that other organizations and systems can be highly reliable yet still unduly expose workers to risk. Operations having a high consequence of failure at any step should be managed as a high reliability organization in order to have well-founded risk decision making, as it is essential to share the risk in HROs.
Despite their efficiency, these efforts can open the door to data errors, incomplete or missing information, or outdated data sets – all of which increase the potential for missed opportunities in the risk decision making process. A high-reliability organization depends upon buttoned-up processes that rely on a single source of shared information and communicates effectively to all parties. The requirement that you do that as institutions places you into the same category high reliability organizations. To maintain high reliability, it is a prerequisite that you commit to an unquestionable path of maintaining public trust in your work, as building a safety culture is considered an essential party of becoming an HRO.
Whereas situational awareness refers generically to the big picture that any operator forms, having the bubble refers to an effortful achievement of a high level of situational awareness and a fair, balanced approach to event reporting, as well as learning from past mistakes and holding persons and your organization accountable. Reliability engineering deals with the estimation, prevention, and management of high levels of lifetime engineering uncertainty and risks of failure.
There is an assumption that high reliability organizations must have standardization to minimize the risk of system failure. By examining the relationship between organizational reliability (and its converse, organizational catastrophe) and the legitimacy of organizations, organizational forms, and technological systems, it becomes clear that at the core of high reliability organizing is a set of principles embodied in processes and practices that enable organizations to focus attention on emergent problems and deploy the right set of resources to address those problems.
Operationally, focusing on company turn-around also involves focusing on change management and taking the organization to the next phase of growth with strong lead generation efforts, work processes, customer journey mapping and work-process mapping. With the growing awareness that the quality of final products and services is a strategic competitive variable, organizations have recognized also that the concept of high quality must be applied to production processes to generate quality products while minimizing costs and addressing unison and uniqueness of reliability and safety for better integration.
Once the leadership group of your organization has grasped the concept and leaders buy in to the philosophy, you can begin to incorporate it into the work you do every day. High-reliability organizations nearly always achieve error-free operations due to strong operational discipline, but organizational chaos, media, pressure, stress, and inaccurate information are only a few of the factors that make it very hard for crisis leaders to make sound decisions.
Want to check how your High Reliability Organization Processes are performing? You don’t know what you don’t know. Find out with our High Reliability Organization Self Assessment Toolkit: