Let’s go back some 18 years in time. The local time was 03.10. I was standing my watch as a Second Officer on a large container vessel, bound for Irago Pilot Station in Japan in the next 90 minutes. On a container ship bound for a Japanese port, the concept of ‘estimated time of arrival’ actually means Continue Reading ››
At a recent conference I attended, there was a paper describing an attempt to “manage” the risks involved in rock climbing. This highlighted the desire of climbers to push the boundaries to demonstrate mastery over evermore seemingly “unsafe” situations. (Solo unaided, unsupported climbs reliant only on the courage, skill and wit of the individual climber?). This was a somewhat paradoxical example of a person deliberately putting themselves “at risk” and … Continue Reading ››
Over the last 6 months two things have really grabbed my attention and made me think how I, as a safety practitioner, can try to influence and have a part in creating a safer environment for all those who are employed in the organisation I work for.
These two things are the Safety Differently approach and Lean Safety thinking. This in turn led to many conversations on whether these two subjects actually work together or are they opposing … Continue Reading ››
OK, I relent. I said in “I am not a policy wonk” that I wouldn’t turn Safety Differently into a checklistable, to-do algorithm or procedure. Well, now I have. Or at least in small part.
As most of you know, there are so many ‘Just Culture’ algorithms and flow charts out there, yet all they do is recycle a counterproductive retributive justice paradigm. They always boil down to: who broke the rule, how … Continue Reading ››
The most pressing question for many people who are already ‘sold’ on Safety Differently is ‘how do you do it?’ How do you enable and empower people and their organization to develop and implement Safety Differently? This is what micro-experiments help you do. If you’ve seen Safety Differently, the Movie, you will know about ‘The Woolworths Experiment.’ And if you’ve read the book The Safety Anarchist, you will have come across a more … Continue Reading ››
In his 2014 Safety I and Safety II: The past and future of safety management, Erik Hollnagel makes the argument that we should not (just) try to stop things from going wrong. Instead, we need to understand why most things go right, and then ensure that as much as possible indeed goes right. It seems so obvious. Yet it is light years away from how most organizations … 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 ››
“Well, that’s a convenient story,” the company CEO bleared at me through his watery spectacled eyes. This man was tired. Not “I didn’t sleep enough last night” tired; he was
“I haven’t slept well in 20 years” tired. Those eyes had seen too many cross faces in the board room, too many hours of a flickering computer screen, too many blurry digital displays reading 3AM, and now they were pointedly fixed on me.
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 ››