Tag Archives: redefining

Love safety

normal_Love-locks_on_Arts_brige_in_Paris_-_03As a symbol for their unbreakable love, couples began attaching so called ‘love locks’ to the bridge Pont des Arts, in Paris. They would write their initials on the lock, fasten it to the railing, and throw the key into la Seine flowing underneath. Over time, the number of locks on the bridge became in the tens of thousands, with as many keys slowly dissolving at the bottom of the river. Last year, one of the railings couldn’t … Continue Reading ››

Safety Third? – New Video from Mike Rowe

We posted a new video for your viewing pleasure (in addition to the other great videos that are already there that you should check out). This video, from Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame, shows a number of themes that jump out at me as interesting. First, the idea gap between how work is imagined and work is performed (as exampled in the sheep castration story) strikes me as classic and novel at the same time. Second, and most directly related to the focus of this site, … Continue Reading ››

Wylfiwyf

file0001149983473“Go up there and spend some time.” The rather underspecified work assignment was exactly what I had been hoping for. For me, it was a chance to do safety differently. A month earlier I had carried out an incident investigation on the same site. I had used ICAM (Incident Cause Analysis Method), which is commonly used investigation methodology in the Australian construction industry. But using a tool designed to find holes in barriers had left me troubled. The … Continue Reading ››

Humans – The strongest link

file000155942936The typical focus in safety is that the human being is our weakest link in safety. But they are indeed the strongest: naturally equipped to deal with risks dynamically, and with incredible risk skills... We just need to unleash that capability... The traditional focus on the human, in the context of safety, is that the human being is the weak link, the hazard, the ‘error maker’. A safety conference where the human being is not pointed out as the key … Continue Reading ››

Step toward collaboration

DSC_0390_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorgueFileLast year I attended a safety conference. The content was traditional: a heart wrenching accident story, a government representative showing statistics and explaining accident reduction goals, legal experts clarifying the latest regulatory advancements, and a corporate achiever informing about their program to get the workforce to comply. Celebrating this managerial top-down approach, there were moral undertones and an air of scientific precision. The problem was ‘out there’. Clearly. It was possible to measure it, and to manage it by … Continue Reading ››

Don’t walk the talk

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASafety does not exist. At least not in itself. There are no ‘from above’ given signs that inform us what safety is, how it works, where the boundaries are or will be, or how safety should optimally be understood. Whatever ‘safety’ is, it must be a human construction - a social convention on how to see and talk about certain aspects of reality. This is not to deny the often tragic reality of ‘accidents’, … Continue Reading ››

Overcoming Cowered Dog Syndrome

file0001874622666We have all heard the old adage "spare the rod and spoil the child". Well here is a new one: "use the rod and cower the dog". You do not train or teach a dog new tricks by punishment, you do it with loads of affection and reward. Fear of punishment cowers a dog in the same way as fear of punishment creates covert OHS culture. A dog is reacting to a negative action from its owner … Continue Reading ››

Iron fist in velvet glove

file0001768912771Many companies and consultants selling Occupational Health and Safety systems and culture believe in what they call "the iron fist in the velvet glove" approach to safety. The "iron fist" is based on the premise of four strikes and you're out. Four safety indiscretions and the punishment is dismissal. After the first offence a commitment is gained from the employee not to digress again in the future. Catch the person again and a written warning is issued. … Continue Reading ››

Compliance paralysis

file000704919536Recently, a friend of mine visited a construction site. The site was in the middle of nowhere, in the Australian outback, and my friend was there for a one day boardroom meeting. After the 1 hour site induction in a building near the gate, a group of six visitors left the building with their host. Walking over to the meeting room, the group had to cross a road. The host took out a form and said: -I don’t see any … Continue Reading ››

Safety as its own worst enemy

file4761295255522Safety is defined in terms that may not support its achievement. The term implies, ultimately, a condition of 'perfection' that defies natural laws and logic. Previously, safety referred to the absence of accidents, and essentially as an unwanted loss for the organization, and a rational construct. At some point the construct became an issue of value and of righteousness and evolved into a moral imperative. Linking rationality and morality in a management model leads inevitably to a … Continue Reading ››