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62 Improving Safety-Related Rules Compliance in the Public Transportation Industry Stakeholder "Buy-In" A strong foundation for a safety reporting system begins with encouraging a cooperative environment for the reporting system's stakeholders, otherwise known as obtaining "buy-in." By getting the interested parties to agree up front about the goals and objectives of the safety reporting system, deadlock and dispute may be minimized as the system evolves. All of the safety reporting programs reviewed were successful in getting "buy-in" from their respective regulators, industries, management, and labor unions. None had a formal process for encouraging stake- holder "buy-in"; however, there were activities the stakeholder representatives engaged in that facilitated cooperation. One of these activities involved assembling a planning committee or implementation group with representation from each of the stakeholder groups. The members of these committees worked toward the common goal of creating a safety reporting system. In doing so, trust developed over time. A second successful activity included having exploratory workshops whereby stakeholder representatives invited safety leaders from other industries to discuss and present the merits of their approaches to safety reporting systems. Stakeholder attendees then had the opportunity to discuss the benefits and limitations of these safety reporting systems for their own industry. This provided a means for these individuals to express concerns and issues prior to the imple- mentation phase. System Assurances Barriers to a reporting culture include fear of individual or organizational retribution, the incorrect assumption that human error is a measure of competence, and the legal complications associated with discovery of error reports. There are three necessary assurances that minimize these barriers and encourage employees to report. The most successful systems are voluntary, nonpunitive, and confidential. Mandatory safety reporting systems require an individual to file a report. However, most errors have many underlying causes and may involve more than one individual, which makes it unclear who should file a report. As such, reporting responsibility for mandatory systems often places the reporting burden on the supervisor. Because the supervisor did not experience the event and is only reporting it secondhand, the fidelity of the information may be lacking and not reveal sig- nificant information regarding the root cause(s) of the event. Voluntary systems encourage the employees who experienced the events firsthand to report them. A culture of blame will most certainly deter widespread safety reporting. Many reporting systems offer reporting incentives that minimize or eliminate any disciplinary action for an incident except for the most egregious violations. The nonpunitive aspect of these systems eliminates any fear of retribution. Last, confidentiality is a hallmark feature of a successful safety reporting system. However, this assurance may be one of the most difficult to implement. In blame-ridden organizational cultures, management may resist keeping the information confidential. The rationale in a culture of blame is that those committing errors and violations are inherently inadequate employees in need of punishment. A cultural shift is necessary and requires educating middle management that it is more important to identify the root cause(s) of errors and violations than to assign blame and punish. Root causes can be mitigated; however, punishing someone for something he or she could not prevent is not an effective practice. Because this last assurance is key to a successful safety reporting system, the stakeholders of the systems reviewed took great care to ensure this feature. The reports from many of the systems