How many times have you as a PSM manager had to present to operators or management some new understanding of the requirements of PSM? Maybe it’s a new IIAR standard, or some other RAGAGEP requirement.
Individuals don’t like to change. Organizations REALLY don’t like to change. There is always some resistance and many years ago, I noticed that it resembled the Kübler-Ross stages of grief that people go through when losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a terminal disease.
Here’s a humorous take on the stages of policy acceptance we deal with from our coworkers:
- Denial: “There is no way I am doing that. We’ve been doing it this way for 25 years. They can’t be serious. You must have misunderstood the requirement.”
- Anger: “You’re an idiot. Why are you putting us through this – this will never work. I’ll tell those OSHA/EPA/IIAR guys what for!”
- Bargaining: “Fine, I’ll just pencil whip it and ignore the policy as soon as you turn your back. My buddy at another place says they just ignore this so we should too. It’s not like we’ll ever get caught anyway.”*
- Depression: “They’re serious! We’re actually going to have to follow this new policy. This is insane! We’ll never have time to get our work done now.”
- Acceptance: “You know. This isn’t as bad as I thought. On balance, it might actually be a little bit better than the old way.”
*Note: It’s possible to stop at this stage – and still be compliant – if you actually create an alternative means of addressing the issue that the new requirement does. It’s difficult to prove that your alternative solution is as safe or safer than the RAGAGEP, but it is possible. In most cases, it’s just easier to move on to Acceptance and implement the new RAGAGEP!