At the 2018 National Council of Self-Insurers Annual Meeting, Ivan Diaz from Walt Disney Company talked about their safety efforts.
Safety has always been a core part of Disney’s culture at their theme parks. If you look back at the letters that Walt Disney himself sent to new employees at Disneyland back in the 1950s, it included a mention of the importance of safety. The Safety Charter at Disney is that “no one gets hurt”.
Your safety program needs to focus on more than just compliance with regulations. While it is very important to comply with safety regulations, your safety program needs to go far beyond that.
Companies that manage safety should focus on four things:
- Fixate on where the next failure will happen.
- Strive to reduce complicated operations.
- Respond to low level signals seriously
- Respond to events deliberately.
- (Source: Todd Conklin, Pre Accident Investigations, Asgate Publishing 2012)
The Swiss cheese model of safety means you have different layers of controls so that there are no holes that go all the way through. There are always layers to catch the hazards. For example, their rides have redundant brakes in case the initial braking system fails and there are dual ride-control systems in the event one system fails.
They have an auto maintenance verification system where a technician updates the tasks they perform in real-time on an app. These updates are monitored in a data collection interface that verifies all needed maintenance is completed. There is a ride control system above that that verifies no rides are in operation that should not be.
No matter controls you have in place, there will always be someone that tries to get around the safety precautions. People will ignore common sense to see if something can be done (and they usually have friends filming them trying). When this happens it is important to respond quickly to make the necessary changes to prevent the incident from happening in the future.
Some of their safety protocols require two different people to sign off on them before they are put into operation. This second set of eyes is yet another redundancy they build in to ensure their rides are as safe as possible.
New technology brings new challenges. With some of the advanced rides they are developing they are starting training for operators a year in advance, while the rides are still being built. They work with the designers and the operators to get a thorough understanding of the ride and identify any potential safety issues well before the ride goes into production.
The use of AED technology is a big part of their safety efforts. They have 1136 units in their Florida parks that have lead to over 200 lives saved over the last 10 years. Their employees are also being trained with “stop the bleed” which is a newer training in response to mass shooting incidents.