Tag Archives: language

Safety Perspectives and Running

UntitledDuring a running training with 15 fellow runners, we had a half hour work-out on stairs that ran along the fire station of my hometown (see picture). The question that arose, after having done this intense but fulfilling training, was about safety. Was this a safely performed training exercise? And this depends a lot on your definition of safety. I will approach this question using the two perspectives Safety I and Safety II. Safety as the absence of … Continue Reading ››

Once Were Explorers

image003A few months ago I attended the very interesting Safety Differently conference on the gold coast. Toward the end of the conference the organisers asked the audience of safety people to write a letter to themselves one year from the conference describing the safety future they want for their workplaces. A future without the constraints of the past that if present would inspire us every day to come to work. At the time I didn’t think much about … Continue Reading ››

Is it 1947 yet?

broken_iceNeither Lieutenant Nathan Poloski’s body, nor his F/A-18 Hornet were ever found in waters almost three miles deep. All that was located in the Western Pacific after his fighter jet collided with another from the same aircraft carrier were his helmet and some pieces of debris. The pilot of the other jet ejected safely and was rescued shortly after. The Navy accident report, all of eight pages long, was acquired by the New York Times under a Freedom … 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 ››

Déformation professionnelle: How profession distorts perspective

167418602_4467a7bdd7If you work in a health and safety role, there is one question that can make for an awkward conversation: "So, what do you do?" I was asked this question at passport control on entering the UK on my Australian passport. I considered my options: safety specialist, ergonomist or psychologist. All three come with baggage; they trigger different preconceptions. As he was an immigration officer in the border security business, I replied "I'm a safety officer", modifying … 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 ››