Tag Archives: just culture

Just culture: Who are we really afraid of?

When we think about just culture, we usually think about accidents and incidents, associated ‘honest mistakes’ and ‘negligence’ (by whatever name), as well as official responses to these, at company and judicial level. The notion of just culture is driven partly by fear; fear of being judged and blamed, especially fear of being blamed unfairly. The fear is felt most strongly by operational staff, who are at the sharp end of organisations and have sometimes faced disciplinary … Continue Reading ››

Making it Safe: The Importance of Psychological Safety

Editor’s Note – Following a post from Gary Wong’s post on Should We Do a Safety Audit or Do Safety Differently, Tim Austin commented in the Safety Differently LinkedIn group about the important role of psychological safety in making such a different auditing approach successful. So we asked Tim to share his thoughts on what psychological safety is and how to create it in an organization. Enjoy!

A worker in a high pressure manufacturing plant notices … Continue Reading ››

3 Realities for Second Class Industries

class systemThe safety advancements in industries like aviation, nuclear power and healthcare have been nothing short of extraordinary. In many ways, these industries have become the shining examples of what safety should be. These areas are by no way perfect and have room for advancement but there is a tendency for progressive and innovative thinking to be specific to these industries. However, we have lost our way in thinking that these are the only agencies where innovation can occur. … 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 ››

Systems Thinking for Safety: Ten Principles (A White Paper)

10principlesIn September, a EUROCONTROL Network Manager White Paper was released, entitled Systems Thinking for Safety: Ten Principles. The White Paper was a collaboration of EUROCONTROL, DFS, nine other air navigation service providers and three pilot and controller associations. The purpose is to encourage a systems thinking approach among all system stakeholders to help make sense of – and improve – system performance. The Executive Summary of the … Continue Reading ››

The use and abuse of ‘human error’

"Oh my God. I told those guys at safety that it was dangerous and one day we would lose concentration and pay for it. I already told those guys at safety that it was very dangerous! We are human and this can happen to us. This curve is inhuman!" These are the distressed words of the injured train driver moments after the train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain on 25 July 2013. The driver can be heard pleading in sorrow, hoping for the safety … Continue Reading ››

Heraith

file0001090917330I am just about to publish a book on safety. Many of my volunteer reviewers around the globe have commented that is very little about me in it and ask why I write the way I do. I will dodge the requests for an in depth analysis of my psyche and answer with one word ‘heraith’ (pronounced ‘here-eye-th’). Heraith is a Welsh word that originally meant a longing for one’s mother country but has come to mean a … Continue Reading ››

4 ways to embrace uncertainty

file0001342045157How can we know that we are safe? Facing complex situations and an undefined future requires an idea about the mechanisms that keep harm at bay. However, the ambiguity of the present and uncertainty of the future leaves wide latitude for interpretations and inferences. Consequently, people rely on a variety of understandings and ways of being in relation to safety. The groups below are not mutually exclusive, nor is it an exhaustive list. My preference will be obvious, … Continue Reading ››

Respect is not just for the dojo

file000218346564I have close friends who study and teach Taekwondo. Variously they talk about ‘respect’. “The reason you bow to your opponent is that without him you would not have about” One relates a tale. One evening he had been taught by a Grand Master and, quite correctly, had bowed before and after his lesson. Later he had passed the Grand Master in the corridor without bowing. His immediate tutor reprimanded him with the words “Respect is not just for … Continue Reading ››

Safety without borders

file000926134998Communication has become a catch cry for both the safety profession and regulators, yet it seems that significant barriers exist from multiple stakeholders to prevent or discourage real communication. Professor Sidney Dekker challenged us with his writings on “Just Culture”, to build organisational practices that encourage and foster open communication both for success and failure, that foster broad and honest information exchanges. The computer industry has been a leader in building active participation in information sharing, most prominently … Continue Reading ››