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Analysis of the IRS at All Levels of the Organization

  • Final Report: The Trial Audit & Recommendations
  • Revised: Steering Committee 23 October 2000 (September 2000; 31 July 2000)
  • Ian M. Plummer, Peter W. Strahlendorf, Michael G. Holliday
  • Content last reviewed: June 2009
  • PDF VersionPDF [ 88 kb / 24 pages | Download Adobe Reader ]

In analyzing the "structural" aspects of the IRS , we had two fundamental questions for each group in the IRS . First, does the group understand the IRS? Second, is the group committed to doing what's necessary under the IRS? Leadership is not something that just the most senior people should be doing. In health and safety we talk about leadership at all levels.

Corporate Level:

Six questions were in the cluster asking about senior-executive understanding of the IRS , and seven in the cluster asking about Directors' understanding. [ 1 ] At this highest level of the IRS we did not find correlation between the answers given (either considered as a whole, or as individual answers) and OHS performance. So, a good score or a bad score doesn't tell us anything since neither are connected to OHS performance. We tended to get the same good answers regardless of whether the mine in question had a good or bad track record on accidents.

The corporate commitment (leadership) cluster-which contained 56 questions in total--consisted of questions for both executives and Directors, and questions about executives and Directors asked of other members of the IRS . There was no significant correlation between responses to the cluster, taken as a whole, and OHS performance of the mine. Part of this lack of correlation may have been due to the fact that there was considerable homogeneity in the responses from the corporate respondents, irrespective of the mine they were responding about.

Mine Managers:

The responses to questions regarding mine managers' understanding of the IRS (a cluster of eight questions) showed some correlation with OHS performance. However, the responses to questions regarding mine managers' commitment to the IRS (36 questions) showed no correlation with OHS performance. Part of the problem may that there was considerable homogeneity in the answers given by the mine managers, irrespective of the mine, and their questions formed nearly half of the questions that made up this cluster. The manager's position in the central core of the IRS is between the middle managers and the executives. There were six questions that asked middle managers about their interaction with the manager. And there were three questions asking senior executives about the manager's performance. The managers themselves had 16 questions that essentially asked them to assess their own performance. Only one question in this cluster was directed to workers and only one was directed to front-line supervisors.

Middle Managers:

The middle-manager understanding cluster (seven questions in all) did not show correlation with OHS performance. There was, however, only one corroborative question and that was asked of front-line supervisors. There were 18 questions in the cluster asking about middle managers' commitment to the IRS . Half of the questions were asked directly of the middle managers. Seven questions were asked of the middle managers' immediate subordinates (the front-line supervisors), and mine managers were asked two questions about their immediate subordinates (i.e., the middle managers). Workers, the internal auditors, and the most senior people were not asked anything about the middle managers. The responses to this cluster, taken as a whole, did not correlate with OHS performance--again, probably, because there was fair amount of homogeneity in the responses given by middle managers, irrespective of the mine.

Front-line Supervisors:

There were six questions in the cluster dealing with front-line supervisors' understanding of the IRS , and four were asked of the supervisors themselves. The responses to the questions, taken as a whole, correlated with OHS performance. The cluster dealing with the "leadership" of front-line supervisors in the IRS comprised 21 questions, with eight questions being directed at the front-line supervisors themselves and 10 to workers, the remainder were directed to the front-line supervisors' own supervisors or to the "internal auditors". The responses to the questions in this front-line-supervisor cluster, taken as a whole, also correlated with OHS performance.

Workers:

There were eight questions that comprised the cluster of questions that dealt with the understanding workers had of the IRS . Four of these were questions asked of the workers themselves, and four asked other levels of the IRS for their assessment of the workers' understanding. There was a good correlation between workers' understanding of the IRS (as measured by this eight question cluster) and whether the mine was a good OHS performer. The cluster dealing with worker commitment and leadership (a small group of only four questions) were not correlated with OHS performance. There were too few of them. In fact, there was only one question aimed directly at workers.

JHSC Members:

The cluster investigating JHSC members' understanding of the IRS comprised 12 questions, all but two of which were asked of Committee co-chairs and certified members themselves. There was moderate correlation between the answers from this cluster, considered as a whole, and OHS performance. There are 19 questions in the cluster dealing with JHSC commitment in the IRS , 11 of which were asked of the co-chairs and/or certified members themselves. There was no significant correlation between the responses to these questions, taken as a whole, and OHS performance.

OHS Co-ordinator:

Of the nine questions investigating the OHS co-ordinators' understanding of the IRS , eight were asked of the OHS co-ordinators themselves. There was no correlation between responses and OHS performance. Perhaps OHS co-ordinators have a pretty good idea of what the right answers should be, regardless of the mine they work for. OHS co-ordinators are few in number and they do not normally have direct authority over others regarding OHS . Their understanding of the IRS could only have an impact on a mine's OHS performance if they have influence on the mine manager's and the supervisory personnel's understanding of the IRS . The cluster dealing with the OHS co-ordinator's commitment to the IRS consisted of seven questions; only two were corroborative, and none was aimed at workers or front-line supervisors. There was no correlation between responses to the questions, taken as a whole, and OHS performance.

MOL Inspectors:

There was no correlation between the inspectors' questions and OHS performance of the mines they were personally involved with. And, realistically, we would not expect there to be a correlation. The inspector's commitment should be consistent across workplaces, regardless of the OHS performance of the site.

[ 1: For two of the six mines, we were unable to include Directors in the survey.]

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