The Firebird Forum

The Firebird Forum firebirdis published by William R. Corcoran, Ph.D., P.E.21 Broadleaf CircleWindsor, CT 06095-1634Tel: 860-285-8779e-mail: firebird.one@alum.MIT.edu ; LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/williamcorcoranphdpe Bill Corcoran

His motto is: “Saving lives, assets, pain, and careers through thoughtful inquiry“.

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NuclearSafety.Info has no contribution to the development of The Firebird Forum but aims at providing easier access to valuable information that would be of use to nuclear safety professionals. For this purpose, we introduce the following issues of The Firebird Forum, with a short commentary:

A Disruptive Paradigm, Transparency: Should you let it out of the bag?
“Transparency is doing activities in such a way that it is easy to tell what’s wrong and/or hazardous.” “Transparency is a barrier that protects certain vulnerable items from the harm of the continued unattended existence of harmful conditions, behaviors, actions, and/or inactions.”
“The harmful factors of every adverse event to date have included insufficient transparency”.”The easiest, quickest, cheapest way to improve safety is to make safety problems transparent.To promote poor safety make it easy to cover up safety problems”.Dr. William R. Corcoran
Commentary: This article provides arguments, including lessons learned, for using transparency to improve safety. It is applicable to all industries, including the nuclear industry.

Oversight, Regulation and Self-Assessment
“The essence of good oversight including regulatory oversight is the consistently relentless uncompromising insistence upon good self-assessment on the part of those people, organizations, and activities being overseen. This is because most, if not all, tragic, consequential, game-changing events involve problems that were not found at earlier better, cheaper, safer stages.” “In this context self-assessment is just people and organizationsfinding their own problems. It’s that simple” “No amount of oversight or regulation can make up for an organization that is blind to its own problems.” “Competence, integrity, and transparency support effective self-assessment.” Dr. William R. Corcoran
Commentary: This article makes the case for the self-assessment, as an effective tool in identifying problems before they lead to failures in safety related systems and processes. Sound self-assessment is essential for maintaining and improving safety in all industries, including the nuclear industry. One of the signs of poor self-assessment is that outside organizations (e.g. regulators) find problems before they are identified by the operating organization. This article motivates people to give self-assessment the importance it deserves.

The Significance of the Chilling Effect
“Without a chilling effect conditions adverse to quality and/or safety would be promptly identified and corrected on the first pass. Furthermore, their underlying causal adverse conditions, behaviors, actions, and inactions would have been identified and corrected on the first pass. Each chilling effect exists because management wants it to exist, because management tolerates its existence, or because management is unaware of its existence.” Dr. William R. Corcoran
Commentary: A chilling effect is an effect that reduces, suppresses, discourages, delays, or otherwise retards reporting concerns of any kind. This article provides examples of chilling effect manifestations and their consequences and prompts the readers to recognize the potential for chilling effect and take action before it gets in the way of problem identification and resolution.

Ethics in High Hazard Industries
“Ethics is more than just avoiding intentional misconduct. Ethics includes building competency, integrity, and transparency into all processes affecting public trust. Processes affecting quality and safety inherently affect public trust.” “If you want safety, peace, or justice, work for competency, integrity, and transparency.” Dr. William R. Corcoran

2 Responses to The Firebird Forum

  1. drbillcorcoran says:

    There’s always more to it.

    There’s always another legitimate way of looking at it.

    If your environment, your safety, your life, your job, your investments, or the like depend on nuclear power you are at the mercy of individuals and organizations that fall short in competence, integrity, compliance, and/or transparency.

    Look at the list of nuclear plants that have been shut down for good.

    How come?

    What should we be working on?

  2. drbillcorcoran says:

    Quality is performing satisfactorily in service and being suitable for its intended purpose.

    If this includes performing safely and/or suitability includes being safe, then the Safety Management System is included in the Quality Management System.

    One can’t deliver safety without delivering quality.

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