The Woolworths Experiment

The most pressing question for many people who are already ‘sold’ on Safety Differently is ‘how do you do it?’ How do you enable and empower people and their organization to develop and implement Safety Differently? This is what micro-experiments help you do. If you’ve seen Safety Differently, the Movie, you will know about ‘The Woolworths Experiment.’ And if you’ve read the book The Safety Anarchist, you will have come across a more … Continue Reading ››

I am not a policy wonk

I coined the term ‘Safety Differently’ in 2012. It was the header of an email I sent to a motley group of company representatives—from Laing O’Rourke, Sunstate Cement, Queensland Rail, Origin Energy and others. I had newly arrived in Australia and had been approached by them to help critically examine the sense of safety ‘getting stuck,’ of a pervasive compliance culture that no longer generated much progress. In the email to invite them to a new round of … Continue Reading ››

Turning Apples into Bananas: How Big Data undermines safety and what can be done about it?

An able seaman has been ‘reprimanded’ for leaving the gangway hanging out while the vessel was shifting berth. Root cause – ‘lack of awareness’; corrective action – ‘risk assessment’. A third officer has been served a warning letter for missing out on monthly checks on a fire extinguisher resulting in non-conformance during a safety audit. Root cause – ‘complacency’; corrective action – ‘follow the procedures’. A crew member trips over an obstruction on deck and hurts himself. Root … Continue Reading ››

Why Safety Differently is like outstanding customer service

Over the last month have I become more familiar with the concepts of Safety I and Safety Differently and I must admit that after watching several of Professor Sidney Dekker’s videos I am hooked. What has really grabbed me is the emphasis on people providing solutions, with autonomy and engagement in what happens, and building on success rather than dwelling upon failure. For over 20 years I worked for John Lewis and Partners … Continue Reading ››

Updates and Resources

Hello everyone in the Safety Differently community! I just wanted to take a few minutes of your precious time to update you on the happenings over here at SafetyDifferently.com and draw your attention to a few resources you might find interesting and useful. Updates So, as some of you may know already, I have taken over ownership of the site from Daniel Hummerdal. Daniel’s still around and will always be involved with the site to a … Continue Reading ››

Why do things go right?

Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash
In his 2014 Safety I and Safety II: The past and future of safety management, Erik Hollnagel makes the argument that we should not (just) try to stop things from going wrong. Instead, we need to understand why most things go right, and then ensure that as much as possible indeed goes right. It seems so obvious. Yet it is light years away from how most organizations … Continue Reading ››

Rush to judgment

In our rush to judgment we rarely intend to do harm. Often, we react to incomplete or even scant information, fit it into our own mental model of how things should be and then jump to conclusions that could inflict harm. Last week, CBS Morning News showed a film clip of a man snagging a baseball from a kid who was sitting directly in front of him. The less than 10 second clip resulted in the vilification of … Continue Reading ››

Oil and gas safety in a post-truth world

I spoke at the Oil and Gas Task Force Zero conference 2018 not long ago. Taking the motto of the conference, “Face the Facts,” to heart, I walked the audience through a bunch of recent data from a range of industries on the relationship between injuries/incidents and fatalities. As we have long known (and as has been confirmed by Macondo, Texas City and other disasters in the industry), there is of course no meaningful relationship between … Continue Reading ››

A Short Introduction to Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) and Learning Teams

A Convenient Story  “Well, that’s a convenient story,” the company CEO bleared at me through his watery spectacled eyes.   This man was tired.  Not “I didn’t sleep enough last night” tired; he was “I haven’t slept well in 20 years” tired.  Those eyes had seen too many cross faces in the board room, too many hours of a flickering computer screen, too many blurry digital displays reading 3AM, and now they were pointedly fixed on me. “You’re trying to prove … Continue Reading ››

Innovative and critical safety thinking