Tag Archives: information

Rush to judgment

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 ››

Danger in The Guise of Safety, Today

In his seminal book The Limits of Safety, Scott D. Sagan contrasted two schools of thought to assess the safety performance of the United States nuclear weapon system during the era of the Cuban Missile Crisis: High reliability theory and complexity theory. One of the basic tenets regarding high reliability organizations is that they are able and willing to learn from events. Sagan, however, found that oftentimes, the U.S. military failed to learn from the incidents they … Continue Reading ››

Making it Safe: The Importance of Psychological Safety

Editor’s Note – Following a post from Gary Wong’s post on Should We Do a Safety Audit or Do Safety Differently, Tim Austin commented in the Safety Differently LinkedIn group about the important role of psychological safety in making such a different auditing approach successful. So we asked Tim to share his thoughts on what psychological safety is and how to create it in an organization. Enjoy!

A worker in a high pressure manufacturing plant notices … Continue Reading ››

There’s no IP in safety – Yet…

14678529062951616575918For years the safety profession has espoused that there is no intellectual property in safety. This was seen a positive side-effect of the black and white ethical stance of the zero harm movement.  It has also been the most over-used excuse by safety professionals for adopting their previous employer’s methods in their next organisation, along with ‘why re-invent the wheel?’ and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.   As safety professionals move through our relatively small industry, … Continue Reading ››

The found art of safety

file000884974361There is a growing movement in safety.  It is one that recognises that we need to approach safety differently if we are to make advances as a profession.  It is therefore inevitable that the discussion turns to education.  What should we be teaching safety professionals (old and new)?  Do we need different safety training for a different approach to safety?  For what it is worth I don't think that better, more or different education for safety professionals … Continue Reading ››

The lost science of risk and safety

file5011249338919I embarked on my career in Health, Safety and Environment 30 years ago when it was just safety, no environment. It was a back water of the Human Resources Department tucked in behind Medical Services. There was no undergraduate degree in safety and I had to study the pure sciences and the social sciences. Environmental management was just emerging from the primeval swamp, ergonomics and occupational hygiene were these weird esoteric sciences that had little place in … Continue Reading ››

Unplugging from The Matrix: the pattern of a brave new world

Matrix Pattern WorldThe Risk Matrix is everywhere. In every procedure about risk management, in JSEA and HAZOP documents and on Start cards. The only way, apparently, in which risk is able to be identified at all levels in an organisation is to use the risk matrix to do it. The world is very complex, and the future nigh unknowable. So, I use The Matrix to simplify how I make a decision, so that I'm able to make a … 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 ››

The quality of quantity

file000401942226As a scientist, Francis Galton had two main interests. Mental abilities, and breeding. He was convinced that both were needed to maintain strong societies. His studies made him realise: ‘Stupidity and wrong-headedness of many men and women being so great as to be scarcely credible’. The solution was, according to Sir Galton, to give control to a selected few, but brilliant individuals. The hope for society was to keep the degenerate stock at bay. One day in … Continue Reading ››