Safety culture

2022: Icsi’s main safety culture projects

7 minutes
2022: Icsi’s main safety culture projects 2022: Icsi’s main safety culture projects

With the new year, Icsi is setting out a new roadmap! 2022 will see a rich variety of new projects, focused on 3 axes: building safety culture through discussions and sharing; cultivating plurality through actions that are relevant to all of the association’s stakeholders (trade unions, local authorities, VSEs and SMEs); and finally, formalizing the know-how that is generated, and making it operational.
Interview with Ivan Boissières, Icsi’s Director General.


This year, Icsi plans to diversify how it engages with its community. Can you tell us more?

Ivan Boissières : Yes, of course. A key part of Icsi’s identity is to build and spread safety culture through discussions and sharing. It seems essential during the current health crisis, to recreate the close links between our different members.

We plan to do this, first of all, through our discussion groups. These groups have been part of Icsi’s activities since the Institute was founded, and they are very close to our heart. This year, the social dialogue and safety culture and risk management and Covid-19 groups will conclude their work, and the work of the Alert processes and crisis management group is ongoing. Finally, we will launch a new working group on leadership under uncertainty, which will provide input for a new public prevention campaign on the topic of safety leadership.

But that’s not all. We want to go further, and expand our community to include company directors and opinion formers. Last year, a new method, the learning expedition was tested and approved. This took the form of a visit by the Air France Executive Committee to the Total Energies refinery at Gonfreville. The idea is that a team of managers from one of our members makes a field visit to another member’s site, so that they can meet peers from another sector and compare their views about safety issues. We would like to do more of this in the future. We plan to set up a circle of senior managers—the idea is to spread the word about safety culture at the highest level in companies, and provide fuel for debates on future strategies.

You mentioned a prevention campaign on the topic of safety leadership. Can you tell us more about it? And why this theme in particular?

You could say that safety leadership is our headline theme for this year! We’ll be saying more about it on our website, and our LinkedIn page, and we plan to add to our Essentials series. There will also be two events on the topic: the Safety Culture Observatory in July, and the Safety Culture Meetings in November.

Safety leadership isn’t a new subject – we’ll be looking again at the fundamentals, and the 7 principles of managerial leadership – but it’s time to think again about how they can be enriched and updated. We have to give some thought to the new context that companies are operating in, in particular, the ongoing crises, new trade-offs, and the high degree of uncertainty. This will extend our analysis of the lessons learned regarding the impacts of the health crisis on risk management. What form should leadership take if we want to make organizations that have to operate in this context more resilient? We’ll be looking at these questions together with our members, via the leadership under uncertainty working group.

Finally, our members have very high expectations in this domain: many are actively working on the topic of leadership. Icsi’s role is to support them, and last year we developed an e-learning course dedicated to managers. We tested it with Air France and GRDF, and it has been widely deployed. It was added to our training catalogue at the beginning of the year, and it has already been a great success. 

The 2022 roadmap also includes many other activities with trade unions, local authorities, VSEs and SMEs... can you say a bit more about this?

Yes, absolutely! Icsi is a multi-faceted association, we serve all of the stakeholders in the safety industry, and our teams are committed to working in the general interest of everyone.

Regarding the trade unions, the social dialogue and safety culture discussion group will publish a summary of its work this year, in a new Industrial Safety Report. But it doesn’t stop there! A high-level group of volunteer trade unionists is going to help us to better-integrate the outcomes into the rest of our work. And we will develop a training course dedicated to union activists and members of the personnel representative’s committee. A pilot project will be developed with the Confédération française démocratique du travail [the French Democratic Confederation of Labor] Chemicals and Energy Federation, which will then be made available to all trade unions.

As for local authorities, this year marks a new partnership with the Métropole Rouen Normandie. Here, the challenge is to launch a new citizen consultation process – inspired by the Feyzin residents’ conference, but on a larger scale – in Rouen. This will include industry, the Métropole, citizens, and associations. This ambitious project will begin with a sociological study that will establish a broad, representative group of citizens, and then Icsi will facilitate the definition of the roadmap. The Institute will also be a new partner of the Resilience Forum at October 2022 in Rouen, along with the Métropole and Le Monde.

We are also continuing the work of the alert processes and crisis management discussion group, which is co-hosted with the association Amaris. The group will conduct a large-scale experiment with new alert systems for the population, working with national services. Here again, this project will be rolled out in Rouen, which has agreed to host the pilot study.

All of these activities at the local level converge on the same idea: to feed into thinking at the national level. Our aim is to be part of the Ministry of Ecological Transition’s action plan Everyone resilient in the face of risks and to contribute to work that seeks to raise awareness among the population. To achieve this, we plan to work with our partners, notably Amaris, the Association des Ingénieurs Territoriaux de France, the Irma, etc.

Finally, we have been working with the MASE network for over 2 years to meet the needs of VSEs and SMEs. Specifically, we are co-developing the training platform known as the MASE Academy. Our teams are providing their expertise, along with our current educational resources, and the creation of new ones. This is a way for Icsi to make its know-how and the experience we have gained with large companies available to VSEs and SMEs free of charge. You could call it a form of solidarity between large companies and the smallest, which are all seeking to improve safety culture. It is, after all, Icsi’s philosophy!

To conclude, what about innovation and operationalization?

This is clearly an important axis for Icsi’s future: our ability to innovate and operationalize our concepts, and develop practical tools and methods that can be widely deployed in companies.

We are therefore building a new area of expertise: socio-organizational and human analyses. In concrete terms, this involves helping companies to analyze the impact of strategic changes, and major organizational transformations on safety. The aim is to support decision-makers. Our expert teams have been restructured to respond to this demand, which currently makes up nearly half of the requests companies make to Icsi. We plan to formalize this new field of expertise, both in terms of the method and best practices.

Another important way forward is the creation of practical, operational tools. This approach has been fueled by the innovations that have emerged from the Foundation for a Safety Culture, particularly on briefing/ debriefing and trade-offs. We will also be working on a guide to the deployment of a just culture, to help industrial facilities implement this type of approach. It’s a subject that Icsi has paid a lot of attention to in recent years, and this project will be coordinated by our team based in Latin America, in collaboration with their French colleagues; the goal is to gain an international perspective, and to compare our experiences.

This year, as before, we have a great program and big challenges lie ahead! And, as every year, Icsi’s teams are fully committed to building and supporting safety culture with all of the members of our diverse community.


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