Category Archives: Daniel Hummerdal

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 ››

0 to 100 in 2.5 years

file000703909240In the beginning, Zinta Satins suggested that I should start a safety website. “Because more people could and should be part of these discussions” she explained. She and I used to have daily debates and discussions, in particular about safety in design. We were both fed up with the available boring, lifeless compliance based approaches. So we discussed, refined, disagreed, drew on paper and dreamt of a world in which safety methods enabled people to achieve great outcomes. … Continue Reading ››

If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway

Ring Spanners-Can you tell me about a situation when work is difficult around here? The group of construction workers at first seemed startled by the question, but clearly interested in engaging. Somewhat hesitantly one of them disclosed that they had problems with the availability of tools on site. It wasn’t perhaps that work was difficult to perform, but it was frustrating to spend ‘hours every day’ looking for tools. Some of the other participants joined in and explained … Continue Reading ››


Ron Gantt and I recently exchanged some emails with questions and ideas about what safety differently is. I post part of the conversation below, hoping to hear from readers about their take on what safety differently means are at and might go.   On 3 Dec 2014, at 12:54 am, Ron Gantt wrote: Hi Daniel,   I’ve been thinking about a potential post after an email discussion with Zinta about change and how much easier it is to define what we’re changing from than it is to define what we’re changing … Continue Reading ››

Stop start cards

IMG_2658A mechanic once burnt his hand so badly he had to seek hospital care. While at the hospital, two managers from his workplace showed up. They wanted to find out if he had completed a ‘start card’. Fortunately, he had filled one out so all was good. As he retold me the event, it was clear that their request had upset him. The managers had been interested in the paperwork, and not the state of his hand. Or … Continue Reading ››

New reading resources

file0001746673147People: a problem or solution? In a newly crafted paper, Sidney Dekker describes two opposing ways of thinking about humans at work: Are employees a problem to be controlled, or a solution to be harnessed? Outlining the evolution of these two perspectives, as well as their respective consequences for how we see and manage safety, this paper is a handy and accessible primer for starting a safety differently conversation.  The paper is available under the resource tab above, … Continue Reading ››

What’s in a name?

safety differently picOn 1 December 1862, Abraham Lincoln addressed the US congress. His message was controversial  - it was about the emancipation of the enslaved workforce. He said: “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our … Continue Reading ››

Causalism, and the will to power

file000601579788The discussion was about pre-start meetings. A couple of workers had spoken up about the meetings as ineffective and confusing: After the pre-starts people could spend considerable time trying to figure out what they were supposed to do, and where, that particular day. What could be done to improve the effectiveness of these gatherings? As I listened to a group of 5-6 employees, I learned about the limited time available, the quantity of information to be transmitted to … Continue Reading ››

Safety journeys: Are we there yet?

file0001207248003There is a lot of talk about safety journeys these days. During a recent conference workshop, attendees were asked to mark where their organisations were along a ‘safety culture maturity scale’. Equipped with this ‘knowledge’ from asking ‘where are we now?’ and ‘where do we want to be?’ people could allegedly analyse the gap. But also, many managers and decision-makers make frequent use of ‘safety journey’ in explaining current and future developments. The journey is of course … Continue Reading ››

The cost of behavioural transactions

SONY DSCSome workplaces I have visited use so called ‘scratchies’ to encourage and reward ‘safe behaviours’. Managers typically hand out such lottery tickets to employees who report hazards, come up with improvement ideas, or have filled out a risk assessment card in an exemplary way. Some workplaces have been known to give out rewards to drive more generic performance, such as giving everyone a toaster when passing 500 days without a Lost Time Injury. Reward schemes like … Continue Reading ››