I would like to tell a story. The story is not in itself unique and I suppose many persons have seen or experienced similar. There are two ways to tell this story with two very different outcomes for both the organisation and individuals involved.
Let me set the scene, a difficult project is under pressure to produce, machinery is not in one hundred percent working order, operatives … 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 ››
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 ››
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The above quote, allegedly from psychologist Viktor Frankl*, highlights that while we cannot control what happens to us, we can still direct and influence what and who we become through our subsequent actions and decisions. It reminds us that who we are is not fixed - we … 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 ››
For the last century, the evolution of accident investigation can be tied to research and the scientific advancements in how we view our work systems. Three major lenses of scientific research emerge as we begin to examine key influences on accident investigation processes: Classic mid-century faith in engineering was termed, Scientific Management, which was followed by Systems Thinking and, ultimately, an emerging understanding of Complex Adaptive Systems.
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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 ››
Systems exist and function within diverse societal environments reflecting numerous societal constructs that have evolved over time in all societies. Societal constructs about justice, personal rights, behavioral norms, education, economics, governance, and others influence safety program and investigation perceptions, constructs and practices. Those societal constructs and their influences need to be incorporated by academics and practitioners into a new and broader “societal” socio-technical vision horizon for both safety programs and safety investigations if existing concerns, issues and … Continue Reading ››