Adaptation and complexity in safety

I was listening to David Woods this morning on Todd Conklin’s podcast discussing his early work on emergency response in nuclear power stations. The most effective responses occurred as operators changed their perspective based on new data as the situation progressed – i.e. they were adaptive. This included test scenarios that were deliberately designed toContinue reading “Adaptation and complexity in safety”

What is Capacity, Anyway?

There has been much talk about capacity in safety over the last couple of years – even using it to define what safety is, such as ‘the capacity to deliver successful work under varying conditions’ or ‘the capacity to fail safely.’ I prefer the former to the latter. We can build capacity into our workContinue reading “What is Capacity, Anyway?”

Stop making people hate their jobs

I found the above picture on-line a few years ago (*see below for attribution). I like it because it takes the Daniel Pink autonomy, mastery, purpose recipe for motivation a bit further and puts a really stark emphasis on the outcome of whether those motivating factors are present or not. There is little that makesContinue reading “Stop making people hate their jobs”

Pruning your safety system

This was a LinkedIn article from a little while ago I’m just pulling into the blog. Commenting on a recent LinkedIn post, I used pruning as a metaphor for reduction of unnecessary documentation and procedures. You cut back to remove the deadwood and encourage new growth to give an overall better crop. You may haveContinue reading “Pruning your safety system”

Will AI take your safety job? Probably, unless . . .

I get exceptionally frustrated by safety policy documents. They always seem to be an exercise in stating the obvious. A list of things we’ll do for safety (or won’t do), but often without any real reasoning as to why the company chose those particular items. Or things that are so bland, they’re worthless – “we’llContinue reading “Will AI take your safety job? Probably, unless . . .”

Dodgy risk assessments

Why do so many safety people not understand risk matrices? I know they’re a very blunt tool and many people would rather not use them at all, but you would at least think we would understand the basics. So many businesses have their own matrix, but who designs it? Who decides what boxes are whichContinue reading “Dodgy risk assessments”

Addicted to Statistics

So, you’ve decided to remove accident rates from your H&S reporting. Great idea – especially the mess that is lost time injury rates (see here). On making the proposal, you’re immediately met with the question, “So what will we replace them with?” For some reason your preferred answer, “Nothing, they’re just not adding any valueContinue reading “Addicted to Statistics”

Safety Wars

The US election is currently stumbling towards some sort of eventual conclusion with accusations flying around based far more on existing, entrenched positions than on any set of rational observations and facts. If this sounds familiar to safety people, it may be because the whole world seems to be moving in that direction, or itContinue reading “Safety Wars”

Schrodinger’s Safety

There has been criticism recently of the decision made by emergency services in response to the tragic eruption on Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand. Some local pilots returned to the island to attempt rescue, while emergency services didn’t because of the risk involved. While the local pilots showed undoubted bravery, was the criticism of emergencyContinue reading “Schrodinger’s Safety”