Co-construction of a Safety Culture model at SNCF

What are the key HOF issues?

In 2020, SNCF became a unified public group composed by several anonymous companies. Given the status change, it was important to provide a common and unique definition of Safety Culture for the entire SNCF group. By officialising its own definition and Safety Culture model, SNCF group set in stone its ambition in terms of safety excellence.

What did you do?

To carry out this work, a participative methodology has been chosen. It was composed by differents steps:
– State of the art and review of existing (inside SNCF’s texts but also in our authorities’ references)
– Working groups (composed by experts from all the different companies of the SNCF group) to build SNCF’s safety culture definition and model
– Co-writing (by the same group of experts) of a reference text
– Wide sharing for feedback

What were the results?

SNCF has succeed in having its own Safety Culture definition for the whole group: “The ways of doing and thinking, shared by all the actors of an organisation, to control risks. It results from the requirements of the regulatory framework, how people make sense of them, based on their perception, and what they actually do and behave”.
The working group also developed an SNCF’s specific Safety Culture model composed of 7 characteristics with the same degree of importance:
o Commitment and involvement in a common vision of safety
o Safety Leadership
o Just & Fair culture that encourages feedback
o Learning organisation and interrogative culture
o Balance between prescription and adaptation
o Shared risks awareness
o Consideration given to technical barriers, Safety Management System (SMS) and Human and Organisational Factors (HOF) at all stages of the organisation’s processes.

These 7 characteristics composing the model were also detailed in a reference text applicable throughout the SNCF group. The working group ensured to write a concrete and simple text, by giving some examples and illustrated situations for each characteristic. The goal was to be as understandable as possible and thus encourage a shrared vision of Safety Culture.

Author: Florence Magnin-Lot (SNCF)