Firm hired by NASA finds improved safety

February 19, 2005|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A firm hired to improve NASA's flawed safety culture in the wake of the shuttle Columbia accident issued an interim report yesterday showing progress at three of the agency's field centers.

A survey conducted in September by Behavioral Science Technology Inc., a California company training NASA employees to communicate and make decisions better, found positive change across the board when compared with a survey a year ago. The report focused primarily on the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

So far, only the Kennedy Space Center's safety and mission assurance department has been surveyed, primarily as a base line for future studies.

At Johnson, Glenn and Stennis, improvement was seen in all of the 11 categories measuring safety performance and how the organizations function.

Even so, the survey found that some NASA employees haven't noticed any change.

"Management at all levels still emphasizes schedule considerations above all else related to projects," a Glenn employee said in an anonymous survey response. "When presented with solutions to problems, they are summarily rejected unless that is what they want to hear."

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