What are UGRs?

UGRs stands for unwritten ground rules. They are people’s perceptions of ‘this is the way we do things around here’.

UGRs we have come across in the mining sector include:

  • Around here, safety is something that is observed when it doesn’t affect production.
  • Around here at our meetings it isn’t worth complaining because nothing will get done.
  • Around here, when I give my opinion it is politely heard and then discarded.

UGRs drive people’s behaviour yet incredibly they are seldom talked about openly.

We’ve learned that UGRs have a huge impact on safety and production in mines.

What’s this safe mining cultures project about?

This is a world-first project where we are tapping into the UGRs in mining companies that impact on safety. Each company will see how they compare with five other participating companies, made anonymous of course.

To understand how this structured, you first need to understand the concept of “key cultural attributes”. A question we have asked ourselves over the years is this:

What are the key cultural attributes we need in place to ensure a safe working environment?

We’ve learned that there are 4 key cultural attributes that ensure a safe working environment. These are:

  • Safety commitment
  • Leadership commitment
  • What happens when things go wrong
  • People displaying initiative

So what we’re doing in this study is finding out what the UGRs are in relation to each of these key cultural attributes. In essence what we are doing is finding out what the real culture is like with regard to each of these important attributes.

We do this by setting up what we call a UGRs stock take where we get people to complete the sentence to what we call “lead in” sentences linked to each of these key cultural attributes. For example, linked to the safety commitment attribute, we’ve created two lead in sentences that your people would complete:

  • Around here, when it comes to following safety rules and procedures
  • Around here, when an unsafe act occurs

We have created two lead in sentences for each of the four attributes.

So what happens if we sign up to this project?

Once you commit to being involved in this project, we will be talking with you to help you decide on the demographics you would like included. This can include for example the person’s level of seniority, the discipline, or the Department. This is important as we analyse results to explore the differences based on whatever demographics we collect.

Once that’s settled, we are ready to begin.

After the Stock Take we will schedule a webinar with the senior management team to walking through the results including a comparison with the other participating companies. The webinar technology enables us to talk freely and for us to share results onscreen. The webinar will also provide guidance on how you can use these results to improve the safety culture at your company.

What in this for us?

This project promises to provide unique insights into the real culture at your mine. You will learn what is driving your people, where the flaws are in your safety approach, and what you can do – specifically – to address those issues.

We believe there has been no other comparable approach to safety.

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