It’s been said that in any industry, safety is everybody’s responsibility. No place is this truer than in the nuclear power industry. The importance of safety and safety communication is critical, not only to those working but to the community as a whole. A mistake in the energy industry often has wide-sweeping consequences. That’s why communication is key. This post will detail the importance of communication and hiring workers who are good communicators to help maintain a safe and effective nuclear power facility.
Communicate that Safety Is Priority #1
Safety is far and away the highest concern of each and every nuclear facility. Managers need to hire staff with knowledge of and respect for safety protocol, but they also need to communicate transparently how important safety is to them as a business priority. As public concerns overpower plant safety and environmental impact spike periodically, the reputation of a nuclear facility is balanced on successful facility safety programs. The development of a strong corporate safety culture is critical to avoiding accidents or even near-misses and maintaining positive public opinion, both on a local scale as well as industry-wide.
Foster a Safety Culture
A Safety Culture is an organization’s values and behaviors—modeled by its leaders and internalized by its members—that serve to make nuclear safety the overriding priority. In addition to a healthy organizational culture, each nuclear station, because of the special characteristics and unique hazards of the technology—radioactive byproducts, concentration of energy in the reactor core, and decay heat—needs a strong safety culture.
The strength of a facility’s safety culture depends on the degree to which the attributes of safety culture are embraced. Even though safety culture is a somewhat intangible concept, it is possible to determine, based on observable attributes, whether a station tends towards safety culture or away from it. Each action or communication can indicate which direction a facility is moving toward. A safety-conscious work environment (one which provides for the freedom to raise concerns without fear of retribution) is one important element of a strong nuclear safety culture. However, that’s not enough on its own.
Balancing the Triple Bottom Line
Commercial nuclear electric generating plants are designed, built, and operated to produce electricity. Safety, production, and cost control are necessary goals for the operation of such a plant. These outcomes are complementary, and most plants today achieve high levels of safety, impressive production records, and competitive costs, reinforced by decisions and actions made with a long-term view. This perspective keeps safety as the overriding priority for each plant and for each individual who works there. Nuclear safety is a collective responsibility. No one in the organization is exempt from the obligation to ensure that safety is their first priority.
For more support building a team of nuclear professionals who exemplify the safety culture that your business depends on, connect with the energy staffing experts at ESGI today.