Staff Safety Perceptions Survey

This time I would like to share a challenging but professionally satisfying experience with a new Client.

iFluids Engineering is a name well known in the market for our Process Safety related activities with Oil & Gas industry and other Chemical Process Industries for quite some time.

But the work order that we had just recently completed was for the first time in our chequered growth profile. An internationally well-known intermediate chemicals manufacturing company having its presence throughout the globe wanted us to analyze and come out with our interpretations and recommendations based on more than 1000 Staffs’ perceptions feedback about prevailing safety culture in their organization.

This was for the first time that we had accepted to take up this new assignment with a different agenda.

No assignment can be assumed to be taken for granted as per lessons learnt in our previous completed projects. This project also revealed its own intricacies as days progressed and that’s why it deserves to be shared.

To start with,

  • All Staff numbering over 1000, participated in this massive exercise. Normally a sample survey would have been thought to be enough, say 25% of the total Staff for example.
  • The Staff who had participated in the survey were stationed at Thane (Mumbai), New Delhi, Jhagadia (Gujarat), Nagda (Madya Pradesh) and Chennai. So one can imagine the logistics involved in organizing the intended survey scope.
  • The survey questionnaire was prepared by the Client based on their policies and operation facilities’ existing safety philosophies. So as a Consultant, we didn’t have any say on it.
  • Another surprise which we from Chennai didn’t anticipate at all, was about the languages used for the survey questionnaire. The survey feedback forms were printed in English, Hindi and Gujarati languages to ensure that the employees understand and answer correctly.
  • Instead of a typed version, the entire feedback forms were returned to us in Staffs’ own handwritten manuscripts.
  • Considering all the above stated facts, it became clear that in a nutshell, we at iFluids had to read at least 20,000 pages of feedback sheets as each staff will have to answer 20 sheets having the selected questions and statements.

All above details were unknown at the stage of accepting the assignment which made us to burn litrally so called “midnight oil” as they say in order to ensure timely delivery of our final report.

There was a desperate search to find translators who can do the job with a clear understanding of the terminology used in industry and not to miss the essence of Staffs’ feedback.

Going through the handwritten manuscripts revealed to be very cumbersome in view of lack of clarity in communication, legibility issues and views expressed in their own style which is not in accordance with what we might normally expect in our professional work.

Collating all those data from different centers was another issue in order to present a common view on each and every questions in the survey.

We had to sort out the answers in terms of facilities location, Staff’s role in the organization in addition to other Third parties who are part of the Company’s business activities.

To summarize, the final report was prepared effectively utilizing available resources at iFluids and referring to so much literature on the specific subject before submitting to the Client recently.

It took almost 3 months to complete this particular challenging assignment and the ultimate reward was the satisfying feeling, I got, after reading those 1000 Staff’s feedbacks and the role played by me in highlighting their perceptions to the higher Management so that they can see some major improvements by effective implementations of recommendations given by us in due course of time.