Tag Archives: critical

A Choice to Punish or To Learn from Parkland

After the Parkland, Fl., school shooting February 14, 2018 the nation’s anger focused for a while on then-school resource officer Scot Peterson, who appeared to freeze outside the school while the gunman was firing. That focus has returned with a vengeance!

Peterson said in a TV interview six months later "It's easy to sit there for people to go, 'Oh, he should have known that that person was … Continue Reading ››

When does a reduction in injury numbers become statistically significant?

By Dr. Marloes Nitert and Dr. Sidney Dekker

Those who’ve been around safety (and particularly safety differently) long enough, know that LTI (Lost Time Injuries) is a lousy safety measure. LTI, after all, was once instituted as a productivity measure, not a safety measure. But LTI is actually quite a silly measure too. This blog shows just how silly it gets, and how foolish (or statistically meaningless) any claims about LTI … 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 ››

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 ››

The Safety Profession can be like a Priesthood

Lincoln Eldrige, who probably wouldn’t want to be called a ‘safety professional,’ suggested to me some years ago that the safety profession is like a priesthood. I have always considered this an intriguing assertion, and finally decided to dig into it a bit more. What I found was fascinating parallels between belief systems that manage anxieties and hopes even a post-secular world, and the credentialism of a new priesthood that is (self-)ordained to assuage and inspire those … Continue Reading ››

The original hearts and minds campaign, and the dereliction of behavior-based safety

In 1960, shortly after his election, President Kennedy asked Robert McNamara to become secretary of defense in his new cabinet. McNamara, known as a star and a whiz-kid, had been president of the Ford Motor Company for all of five weeks, so it took a bit of cajoling. But he eventually joined the administration in 1961, taking with him the modernism of Ford’s production lines. A few years into his tenure, with Vietnam taking up ever more resources and … Continue Reading ››

Thinking differently about safety investigations

file000704919536Systems exist and function within diverse societal environments reflecting numerous societal constructs that have evolved over time in all societies. Societal constructs about justice, personal rights, behavioral norms, education, economics, governance, and others influence safety program and investigation perceptions, constructs and practices. Those societal constructs and their influences need to be incorporated by academics and practitioners into a new and broader “societal” socio-technical vision horizon for both safety programs and safety investigations if existing concerns, issues and … Continue Reading ››

The safety-fication of everything

3431203874_d0ec158204_zSome time ago, I noticed the safety-fication of everything. I noticed that otherwise fairly ordinary words have been co-opted to give a specific safety meaning. Once I noticed this, I couldn't stop noticing it. So a few months ago, I started to log two-word safety terms (and a few three-word terms) that I encountered when reading and communicating with others.  The log literally led to an A-Z of terms, which I have included below.

The terms are very different in terms of … Continue Reading ››

A kitchen safety fable

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREOnce upon a time researchers found that many injuries in the home were due to kettles being left to boil dry.  Analysis of the accidents, that often lead to burns and fires, revealed that there were very small instances of malfunction of the kettles or the stoves and indeed the water usually behaved appropriately too.  Investigators have found that an unsafe act (leaving the kettle unsupervised) was the cause of the injuries in 88% of the cases.

The success story … Continue Reading ››