The concept of «Safety Culture» first appeared in 1986 during analysis of the causes and consequences of the Chernobyl accident, conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was recognized that exactly its absence was one of the causes of the tragedy.
The International Advisory Group on Nuclear Safety subordinated to the IAEA Director-General offers the following definition of this concept (which is also set out in the regulatory document «General Provisions of Nuclear Power Plants Safety», НП 306.2.-141-2008):
The NPP operating experience shows that the causes of accidents and incidents are somehow connected with behaviour of people (human factor), and their attitude to safety issues. Therefore, the NPP management is foremost focused on human resources, style and methods of management, socio-psychological climate in the work teams. All personnel are involved in the process of establishing the Safety Culture, including the senior management level. The plant permanent Safety Culture Committees (which are the collegial bodies) coordinate the activities of the structural units at NPP in terms of maintaining and improving the personnel Safety Culture.
Special attention is given to formation of personal responsibility and commitment to safety of all people, whose work affects safety of nuclear power plants. The plant policy makes emphasis on the staff critical attitude to their actions and prevention of complacency in safety matters. The NPP administration tends to create conditions in which employees are not afraid of reporting their errors. This will prevent their recurrence in the future. NPP has implemented and successfully applied the «OKO» system to identify and eliminate the inconsistencies. It gives each employee not only a right but also a practical opportunity to directly participate in establishing the performance excellence, by writing comments and suggestions in the central database.
The training programs of mail personnel include sections on Safety Culture. The training materials have been developed and training of different categories of employees is regularly conducted. The newly employed personnel receive mandatory training on Safety Culture.
In the structural units the nuclear power plants organized the peer reviews. Self-assessment is regularly conducted in the NPP departments on the Safety Culture Program, which was developed on the basis of the IAEA recommendations. The assessment results demonstrate the state of safety culture in the departments and, if needed, the corrective actions are developed and implemented.
The NPP specialists actively participate in the international conferences on Safety Culture, that SE «NNEGC «Energoatom» conducts every two years. Their main objective is to share experience, determine activities in order to improve the safety culture level and identify areas for further improvement.