Tag Archives: practice

Why focus on conditions?

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 ››

Speaking Truth to Power

  “They tell us to do these things, but they don’t want to know how we get them done.” Others in the focus group nodded in agreement. Myself, I was taken a bit aback by the statement. I was facilitating the focus group with the intention of learning about the organization and how it manages safety. We had been speaking with many of the line employees who expressed varying degrees of frustration with different aspects of the work environment, … Continue Reading ››

Safety Differently @ Laing O’Rourke

treesfrombelowWhat have you done to enable safety differently in your organisation? In Laing O’Rourke we were very fortunate to have a leadership team that acknowledged our organisation’s health and safety performance had plateaued and were willing to explore and test new ways of working.   This was against the current industry approach to health and safety which we recognised as high in bureaucracy and overly controlling and sceptical in its approach to building trust amongst all … Continue Reading ››

Safety audits differently

auditSafety audits have become central to safety management and governance. However, many organisations have noted that safety audits may have limited usefulness and some problematic consequences. People I’ve spoken with have raised concerns that:
  • audits may not get a ‘true picture’ of what is going on
  • some projects suffer from audit overload
  • audits may damage cultures of trust
  • audits may drive a commitment to creating acceptable images of work, rather than improving the primary process that the audits are supposed to … Continue Reading ››

Coaching Differently

Basketball Tree 1 I have the great opportunity to coach my sons’ youth basketball teams and have done so now for about 6 years. As my sons age, the various age groups present new and interesting challenges and opportunities. In the early part of each season I search around on-line for advice and try to read about things to do and things not to do. While that is good, I’m realizing the best learning opportunity is right … 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 ››

The Exploration

file000541344089Recently I was leafing through a magazine while waiting patiently for my  morning caffeine hit and noticed that  nearly every second page seemed to contain advertising for the latest, most stylish designer wristwatches. It struck me that they  all fulfilled one basic need, that is to inform the wearer of the time of day. They can also provide a plethora of information to the user from fitness to entertainment. So what started as a basic need to be … 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 ››

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 ››

From the road less travelled

file000555565239-Analysis showed that 82-94% of our accidents and incidents were caused by ‘unsafe acts’. So the question was ‘how can we get our workers more motivated to do the right thing?’ Phil Stephenson, the Vice president for Health, Safety, Loss prevention & Security at Newmont Mining Corporation, had just started describing their journey to improving safety. For a few years Newmont Mining had noted that they were unable to take their safety records to the next level. They … Continue Reading ››