NEA/IAEA Workshop

Maintaining Oversight of Licensee Safety Culture – Methods and Approaches

Chester, United Kingdom, 21-23 May 2007

Organised by UK Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
In co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The general objective of the workshop is to exchange and disseminate information about the methods and approaches used by regulators to maintain oversight of licensee safety culture. The workshop will examine methods that are currently in use or being developed, and will seek to identify both good practices and knowledge gaps. A principal aim is to share experience in this rapidly developing area and to inform the future work in this area of the NEA CSNI, the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA) and the IAEA.

It is expected that the results will aid participants to understand the advantages and challenges of different methods and approaches to gathering information about licensee safety culture. This should help them to design methods and approaches which can be considered for use as part of a regulatory intervention strategy.

Weaknesses in safety culture have contributed to a number of high profile events in the nuclear and other high hazard sectors. The nuclear industry also faces challenges such as deregulation, outsourcing and phase-out which, if not properly planned and implemented, have the potential to make a negative impact on safety culture. These factors have fostered an increasing awareness of the need for licensees to develop a strong safety culture to support successful and sustainable nuclear safety performance.

Regulatory bodies are taking a growing interest in this issue, and several are actively working to develop and implement approaches to gather information about licensee safety culture. However, these approaches are not well-established, and it is prudent to share experiences and intentions in order to disseminate good practices and avoid potential pitfalls.

In 1999, a CNRA senior task group issued a publication "The Role of the Nuclear Regulator in Promoting and Evaluating Safety Culture", and it was followed by another publication "Regulatory Response Strategies for Safety Culture Problems" in 2000. The IAEA Technical Meeting on "The Role of Governments and Regulators in Fostering a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture" in September 2003 identified the need for guidance for regulators on how to monitor a licensee's safety culture and for work to develop criteria and indicators for safety culture evaluation. The CSNI SEGHOF (predecessor of WGHOF) State-of-the-Art Report on Systematic Approaches to Safety Management, NEA/CSNI/R(2006)1 describes the relationship between safety management and safety culture. The need for technical guidance was supported by a CNRA Working Group on Inspection Practices (WGIP) workshop in May 2006 which also recognised the need to involve human and organisational factors specialists in the design and implementation of inspection oversight programmes.

It is timely, therefore, to provide a forum for gathering and sharing international experience in this area with a view to drawing out essential elements of various approaches and identifying good practice and learning points. A sound technical basis underpinning methods and approaches that can be used to support oversight and inspection of safety culture needs to be established to benefit both regulators and licensees.


The CSNI Working Group on Human and Organisational Factors (WGHOF), is tasked to improve the understanding and treatment of human and organisational factors within the nuclear industry in order to support the continued safety of nuclear installations, and improve the effectiveness of regulatory practices. One means by which this is achieved is through providing a forum for exchange of information and experience about safety-relevant human and organisational issues in Member countries, thereby promoting co-operation and maintaining an effective and efficient network of experts. This workshop is one such means for exchanging experience and is intended to contribute towards furthering the WGHOF objectives.

The IAEA has recently published new safety standards in the area of management systems, including nuclear safety culture. Based on these standards, the Agency is promoting the assessment and enhancement of safety culture, through workshops and by offering special safety review services upon request of member states. This workshop is in line with the Agency efforts to promote good practices and a good understanding of recent developments in the area of management of safety and safety culture.


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Last updated: 3 December 2006