Tag Archives: bottom-up

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 ››

A case for host leadership

If organisations want great performance, their people are the solution. Research consistently shows that improved performance comes from increased engagement with the people doing the work (see for example Gallup, 2012Harter, Schmidt, and Hayes, 2007Nahrgang, J, Morgeson F. & Hofman, 2011). The benefits are across the board - productivity, safety, retention, customer satisfaction and even profitability - ranging from 10% to 50% … Continue Reading ››

If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway

Ring Spanners-Can you tell me about a situation when work is difficult around here? The group of construction workers at first seemed startled by the question, but clearly interested in engaging. Somewhat hesitantly one of them disclosed that they had problems with the availability of tools on site. It wasn’t perhaps that work was difficult to perform, but it was frustrating to spend ‘hours every day’ looking for tools. Some of the other participants joined in and explained … Continue Reading ››

Safety Third? – New Video from Mike Rowe

We posted a new video for your viewing pleasure (in addition to the other great videos that are already there that you should check out). This video, from Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame, shows a number of themes that jump out at me as interesting. First, the idea gap between how work is imagined and work is performed (as exampled in the sheep castration story) strikes me as classic and novel at the same time. Second, and most directly related to the focus of this site, … Continue Reading ››

A Day In The Life Of

Sneakers on a Pier3Recently I was at a chemical plant doing an assessment of the management system and “culture” of the site. The corporate safety group was alarmed by a spike in injuries at the plant over the last year and wanted an outside opinion as to what was wrong that was leading to all these injuries. This mindset is common. After all, failure must be caused by bad inputs – i.e. all these injuries mean that … Continue Reading ››

Moths to a Flame

DSCF4945In a land far, far away a very long time ago someone had an idea and tried to do something different with safety.

For my sins I started my career in safety working for the UK government. To be fair this was back in the 70s and 80s when the 1974 Robens inspired Act was starting to be felt and the proposed legislation on major hazard sites would see the end of the prescriptive nature … Continue Reading ››

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the right to speak up

8985496669_8dd78af2ca_kSix months before the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated over Florida in 1986, engineer Roger Boisjoly wrote a portentous memo. In it, he warned that if the weather was too cold, O-rings in the solid rocket boosters could fail. It was the job of these O-rings to seal the joints between the segments of the SRB’s—two huge, towering silos of rockets made by contractor Thiokol in Utah, that helped lift the Shuttle into space. The memo was, in … Continue Reading ››

Safetydifferentlydifferently?

Ron Gantt and I recently exchanged some emails with questions and ideas about what safety differently is. I post part of the conversation below, hoping to hear from readers about their take on what safety differently means are at and might go.   On 3 Dec 2014, at 12:54 am, Ron Gantt wrote: Hi Daniel,   I’ve been thinking about a potential post after an email discussion with Zinta about change and how much easier it is to define what we’re changing from than it is to define what we’re changing … Continue Reading ››

Wylfiwyf

file0001149983473“Go up there and spend some time.” The rather underspecified work assignment was exactly what I had been hoping for. For me, it was a chance to do safety differently. A month earlier I had carried out an incident investigation on the same site. I had used ICAM (Incident Cause Analysis Method), which is commonly used investigation methodology in the Australian construction industry. But using a tool designed to find holes in barriers had left me troubled. The … Continue Reading ››

Walk or talk?

P4010080I’m not sure whether it was my presence as a corporate representative, but the group ended up unusually large. It comprised our site safety manager, the client’s safety manager, the client’s client’s safety manager, and the site superintendent. We must have reached a critical mass because the site manager joined as well, and so did two other visitors from corporate. The task ahead was to do a Safety Walk. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a … Continue Reading ››