Safety as its own worst enemy

file4761295255522Safety is defined in terms that may not support its achievement. The term implies, ultimately, a condition of 'perfection' that defies natural laws and logic. Previously, safety referred to the absence of accidents, and essentially as an unwanted loss for the organization, and a rational construct. At some point the construct became an issue of value and of righteousness and evolved into a moral imperative. Linking rationality and morality in a management model leads inevitably to a … Continue Reading ››

Safety on the edge

In mid-2013, some insightful and very radical safety thought-leaders will visit three Australian cities. During a two day workshop, they will present their thoughts on how people and organisation can relate to safety in a novel and more functional way. They will provide you with alternative viewpoints, with new ways to intervene and improve safety, on topics such as: Human error, Zero Harm, Risk management, Safety Culture and Black swans.. If you are curious, or if you are serious, about doing safety differently, this is a … Continue Reading ››

Behaviour Based Safety

file000684519545For those who have been under a rock for the last near decade or so, Behavioural Based Safety (BBS) is an approach to safety that focuses on workers' behaviour as the cause of most work-related injuries and illnesses. I consider that people that swear by BBS programs are under a similar rock just a few metres away. Over the last quarter of a century we have learnt much about the roots of human failure. There are many of … Continue Reading ››

Behind the scenes

file000577928669The words 'risk taking' and 'safety professional' aren't often used together. Sure, we have heard the story of the safety professional who failed a site drug and alcohol test. The safety professional who didn't follow the working at heights procedure. Well, I'm not talking about these people or this type of risk taking. I think that we should be taking risks in safety. Safety is not going to improve if we keep doing the same things. How can we expect change if we aren't prepared … Continue Reading ››

Darwinian Safety

file0001003212816There is something absolute about accidents. The loss, the destruction, and the irreversibility of it all – it’s clearly not what was intended. This unwanted character of accidents allows, affords, or even encourages a binary understanding of safety. Either things are safe, or they are not. So when bad things happen, it makes sense to pull back, to constrain, to establish tighter control over what has failed. As if we only stay away from danger, if we use … Continue Reading ››

It’s not what, but who you know

file000912049364It has been some 20 years since I was in the dating scene. And I am sure that in that time things have changed. But some things must have stayed the same. Sometimes you are lucky enough to meet an interesting person. Someone that you would like to spend time with, see where it leads. This is where you have a few options. One is to try to impress them, dazzle them with your personality, wow them … Continue Reading ››

Happy New Year

file000670714310250 individuals, from 20 countries, across 6 continents visited safetydifferently.com during its first month online (December 2012). In the week leading up to Christmas the site had 70-80 visitors per day. While the site at first was intended as a blog to share my personal contemplations and frustrations from working with safety, it quickly found a more functional form as a website to exchange critical and innovative safety thinking from a range of authors. This is also the … Continue Reading ››

The appification of safety

circuitryDuring a dinner with friends the other evening, the topic of conception was raised with one, who was pregnant, and ended up being a funny story around an iPad app. The app was used to track her menstrual cycle after going off the pill, where the cycle was mapped and would advise of ovulation and fertility periods. As the story goes, the app was tracking the cycle pretty well, but she still fell pregnant outside … Continue Reading ››

Safety is in the making

Are you easily bored?Creative material Are you willing to take risks? Don’t like rules? Do you ask “what if”? Do you make lots of mistakes? Do you collaborate? Are you generous? Are you independent? Do you experiment? Do you motivate yourself? Do you work hard? Are you passionate about safety? Okay, I changed the last one.  The above list has been adapted from the 12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People compiled by Kim Phillips.  But I think that it should be a list of the 12 Most … Continue Reading ››

Safety culture: Facts, fiction and faith

We know that safety cultures are not just created at the sharp end. For safety culture, we need to look deeper inside an organization—at its procedures, work practices, design, supervision, management, governance. This has been a very empowering idea, shifting our focus onto the context surrounding people's work. But it has also been accompanied by burgeoning safety bureaucracies. In pursuit of safety culture, we now expect organizations to deploy vast systems—loss prevention systems, safety management … Continue Reading ››

Innovative and critical safety thinking