Tag Archives: safety culture

The original hearts and minds campaign, and the dereliction of behavior-based safety

In 1960, shortly after his election, President Kennedy asked Robert McNamara to become secretary of defense in his new cabinet. McNamara, known as a star and a whiz-kid, had been president of the Ford Motor Company for all of five weeks, so it took a bit of cajoling. But he eventually joined the administration in 1961, taking with him the modernism of Ford’s production lines. A few years into his tenure, with Vietnam taking up ever more resources and … Continue Reading ››

Should we do a safety audit or do safety differently?

This is a continuation of Daniel Hummerdal's 2016 April 06 "Safety Audits Differently" posting. Universe made of stories Imagine you work in a company with a good safety record. By "good",  you are in the upper quartile as per the benchmarking stats in your industry.  Things were rolling along nicely until this past year. There was a steep increase in failures which has led to concerns over the safety culture. Historically there have 2 safety-related events but last year there … Continue Reading ››

Safety Culture, the Movie

SWForceIt’s the holiday season. One terrific way to celebrate as a family is to see a movie together. Our pick? Star Wars: the Force Awakens.
Well, that was an easy decision. The next one is harder though…what sort of experience do we want? Will it be UltraAVX, D-Box, IMAX, 3D, VIP, Dolby ATMOS or Surround sound, or standard digital? While sorting through the movie options, for some reason I began thinking about safety culture and had an epiphany. Safety … 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 ››

Good Leaders or Good Followers

file0001711615790Not a day goes past without me being reminded about the traits of good leaders. We are bombarded by photos and quotes of so called good leaders on social media. Human Resource Departments thrive on leadership and aspirational programs. But we all can’t be leaders, there has to be a disproportionate number of good followers. If we didn’t have this discrepancy the corporate, industrial and political world would cave in under the strain of everyone wanting to … Continue Reading ››

Goats in sheep pens

file0001763601813When I was younger, my family had a smallholding with a few animals including chickens, ducks, geese, and few goats - one or two billies and several nannies. Thinking back to these goats made me think about what they can teach us about work in command-and-control organisations. The characteristics of goats, especially curiosity, independence and foraging behaviour, highlight to me how command and control organisations need goat thinkers - constructive rebels including systems thinkers, design thinkers, and humanistic … Continue Reading ››

Tinker, Taylor, Culture, Failure

file9001254174340 -When are managers and supervisors going to sign their commitment? The above question was raised when 30 or so workers were asked to read and sign their commitment to the organisational Safety Culture values. It happened during one of their fortnightly safety meetings. My presence was merely as an observer. -Well, we started with this level, and then we'll do supervisors' and managers' responsibilities as the next step, the safety supervisor replied. Individuals are different. By definition. Any one organisation … 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 ››

Accountability up, or responsibility down?

file0001652481771A few years ago, I learnt of a woman who was slightly injured at work. She told her supervisor, showed the injury, and went to see the doctor that same afternoon. While in the waiting room, she got a call from school. Her son had fallen ill and been sent home. After her appointment and having her gash cleaned and glued by a nurse, she rushed home to take care of her boy. She later informed her … 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 ››