At a recent conference I attended, there was a paper describing an attempt to “manage” the risks involved in rock climbing. This highlighted the desire of climbers to push the boundaries to demonstrate mastery over evermore seemingly “unsafe” situations. (Solo unaided, unsupported climbs reliant only on the courage, skill and wit of the individual climber?). This was a somewhat paradoxical example of a person deliberately putting themselves “at risk” and … Continue Reading ››
I hear lots of people saying how much they like the principles of safety differently, but just do not know how, or where to start with this as none of the books tell you how to do it.
As my time at London Luton Airport draws to a close, I’m going to try to summarise the journey from a traditional approach into embracing a new focus based on the safety differently framework.
When I first started at Luton, there … Continue Reading ››
Over the last 6 months two things have really grabbed my attention and made me think how I, as a safety practitioner, can try to influence and have a part in creating a safer environment for all those who are employed in the organisation I work for.
These two things are the Safety Differently approach and Lean Safety thinking. This in turn led to many conversations on whether these two subjects actually work together or are they opposing … Continue Reading ››
The most pressing question for many people who are already ‘sold’ on Safety Differently is ‘how do you do it?’ How do you enable and empower people and their organization to develop and implement Safety Differently? This is what micro-experiments help you do. If you’ve seen Safety Differently, the Movie, you will know about ‘The Woolworths Experiment.’ And if you’ve read the book The Safety Anarchist, you will have come across a more … Continue Reading ››
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 ››
In our rush to judgment we rarely intend to do harm. Often, we react to incomplete or even scant information, fit it into our own mental model of how things should be and then jump to conclusions that could inflict harm.
Last week, CBS Morning News showed a film clip of a man snagging a baseball from a kid who was sitting directly in front of him. The less than 10 second clip resulted in the vilification of … Continue Reading ››
A Convenient Story
“Well, that’s a convenient story,” the company CEO bleared at me through his watery spectacled eyes. This man was tired. Not “I didn’t sleep enough last night” tired; he was
“I haven’t slept well in 20 years” tired. Those eyes had seen too many cross faces in the board room, too many hours of a flickering computer screen, too many blurry digital displays reading 3AM, and now they were pointedly fixed on me.
“You’re trying to prove … Continue Reading ››
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 ››
We have long struggled with trying to capture the facts associated with an accident in order to prevent the next one. This has been largely effective when applied to machines. In mechanical systems things are measurable, observable and more objective.
The information we get from people is always subjective. There are always issues of memory, shame, fear and politics that influence the ever-changing stories we tell. If you think about it, you have probably altered a story to … Continue Reading ››