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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It appears there are genuine rally-specific claim issues that are causing the current crisis. The problems are real and whether the SCCA or Rally America or NASA are the sanctioning body, safety must improve.

A few things jump out at me:

1. It's obvious that folks didn't really see this coming -- it's possible that Pete Lyons himself didn't have a good idea of how bad the claim situation was. If he did, he wasn't very effective in communicating the problem until it was too late.

2. Folks want to solve the problem with new technical and operational rules. There are a lot of suggestions. Some have been tested, a lot of them haven't, and there seems to be little solid data and research to guide us. I think if we head down this road, we won't improves safety much, but we'll sure waste a lot of time, money, goodwill, and unity.

3. The situation has been badly controlled, and I don't see a mechanism going forward to substantially improve that control. We can excuse ourselves by saying that Pete Lyons is incompetant and give the rosy prediction that we can do better, but I don't see a path opening that looks like it will be substantially different.

When attempting to control a situation, feedback is vital. Control-feedback loops are vital to any successful modern endeavor. Setting up a race car requires setting the variables, seeing how it works, and adjusting. Building widgets involves setting specifications, creating procedures, running the people and the tooling on that system, monitoring the results, and adjusting or reformulating as necessary.

In industrial safety, one of the most important tools is a reporting and feedback system. In rally, we have a reporting system, but no real feedback. All we retain, really, are the fatalities. Injuries and non-injury foulups tend to be forgotton within a few weeks.

We need the institutional memory and communication that a feedback system can give us.

My first suggestion in implementing this is that we get a feedback loop up and running. We should figure out what lies within the confidentiality umbrella and what doesn't. We take as much safety incident information out from under the umbrella as we can. We find a way to compile, present, and report that information to each license-holder, each rally chair (with extra copies for their helpers) and each steward. For reference, we also post them publicly. We attach incident reports (or references to incident reports) to the record of all involved license-holders and events. We choose metrics to maintain and try to improve on, and we reformulate them as necessary. This would be far more useful to our sport than SportsCar. There is a danger that the reports would get too bulky or esoteric, but I think that the spirit of the community would be able to shame the process into being reasonable.

Getting this process up and running, keeping it going, and finding trends and exposures to address should be the job of our next Risk Manager. My belief only. I honestly hate the idea of our Risk Manager having any relationship with our insurer. The RM should be focused on incident reporting and communication -- the membership and their activities. If the company wants a part-time rep to deal with the account, fine. Somebody from Marketing.

My second suggestion is that the PRB or future equivalent holds quarterly teleconference safety reviews. These should be dedicated events lasting at least a full day. Each safety incident from the quarter should be reviewed and a determination made as to the significance of contributing factors and what kind of corrective action be taken.

I have to say that these are the kinds of procedures most modern organizations take when managing risk. I'm just a peon in my little contractor niche here at HP in Corvallis, but we get exposed to this kind of thing all the time. Navy and Air Force incident reviews, the SubSafe program, the stuff Dow and other big companies have done, these are all in the safety trade journals. Does Pete Lyons actually ever keep up on this? In the future, we will certainly have to.

andy
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Viva la ProleRalliat!
 

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Your point is well taken, Andy, but you should know that SCCA has been collecting and documenting incident reports for several years now - when we can get competitors to fill them out. And the safety committee meets much more often than quarterly by email and/or conference call. This is not to say that the process couldn't be improved...

Bruce
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>>1. It's obvious that folks didn't really see this coming --
>

I don't think you can include the BOD in the "folks" you reference. I can only hope for the sake of the remaining programs in SCCA that you are wrong about this. If this was in fact a knee-jerk reaction by the BOD to "new" information from Pete Lyon, then they certainly aren't living up to their responsibilities to the membership. I would certainly hope that if the BOD has been doing its duty, that they have been studying and planning this for a long time. It's just that they obviously don't want nor need any input from those affected by their decisions.

Kent Gardam
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The people who can make the sport safer are the people in the cars who determine the risk they take, the organizers who design and operate the events, the marshalls and sweep crews who see the pieces and should be writing reports, and the Risk Manager who signs the sanctions and processes claims. There has been no systematic loop through these folks. There are some elements in place, but overall it has proven ineffective.

Given that the vital reason for the SCCA's existence is to manage risk in motor racing, Steve Johnson himself could take on the role of Risk Manager. Given his willingness to communicate and be positive, he'd probably do a good job. Let Pete be the company rep. The buck should stop inside the club.

At any rate, the reins are now out of Mr. Lyons' hands.

andy
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