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  • Assessing the Influence of “Take 5” Pre-Task Risk Assessments on Safety” by Jop Havinga, Mohammed Ibrahim Shire, and our own Andrew Rae. The paper was just published in “Safety,” - an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal of industrial and human health safety published quarterly online by MDPI.

    The paper’s abstract reads:

    This paper describes and analyses a particular safety practice, the written pre-task risk assessment commonly referred to as a “Take 5”. The paper draws on data from a trial at a major infrastructure construction project. We conducted interviews and field observations during alternating periods of enforced Take 5 usage, optional Take 5 usage, and banned Take 5 usage. These data, along with evidence from other field studies, were analysed using the method of Functional Interrogation. We found no evidence to support any of the purported mechanisms by which Take 5 might be effective in reducing the risk of workplace accidents. Take 5 does not improve the planning of work, enhance worker heedfulness while conducting work, educate workers about hazards, or assist with organisational awareness and management of hazards. Whilst some workers believe that Take 5 may sometimes be effective, this belief is subject to the “Not for Me” effect, where Take 5 is always believed to be helpful for someone else, at some other time. The adoption and use of Take 5 is most likely to be an adaptive response by individuals and organisations to existing structural pressures. Take 5 provides a social defence, creating an auditable trail of safety work that may reduce anxiety in the present, and deflect blame in the future. Take 5 also serves a signalling function, allowing workers and companies to appear diligent about safety.

    Discussion Points:

    Drew, how are you feeling with just a week of comments and reactions coming in?If people are complaining that the study is not big enough, great! That means people are interestedIntroduction of Jop Havinga, and his top-level framing of the studyWhy do we do the ‘on-off’ style of research?We saw no difference in results when cards were mandatory, or optional, or bannedPerplexingly, some cards are filled out before getting to the job, and some after the job is complete, when there is no need for the cardOne way cards may be helpful is simply creating a mindfulness and heedfulness about proceduresThe “Not for Me” effect– people believe the cards may be good for others, but not necessary for selvesResearch criticisms like, “how can you actually tell people are paying attention or not?”The Take 5 cards serve as a protective layer for management and workers looking to avoid blameMain takeaway: Stop using Take 5s in accident investigations, as they provide no real data, and they may even be detrimental– as in “safety clutter”Send us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “You always get taken by surprise when people find other ways to criticize [the research.] I think my favorite criticism is people who immediately hit back by trying to attack the integrity of the research.” - Dr. Drew

    “So this link between behavioral psychology and safety science is sometimes very weak, it’s sometimes just a general idea of applying incentives.” - Dr. Drew

    “When someone says, ‘we introduced Take 5’s and we reduced our number of accidents by 50%,’ that is nonsense. There is no [one] safety intervention in the world where you could have that level of change and be able to see it.” - Dr. Drew

    “It’s really hard to argue that these Take 5s lead to actual better planning of the work they’re conducting.” - Dr. Jop Havinga

    “What we saw is just a total disconnect – the behavior happens without the Take 5s, the Take 5s happen without the behavior. The two NEVER actually happened at the same time.” - Dr. Drew

    “Considering that Take 5 cards are very generic, they will rarely contain anything new for somebody.” - Dr. Jop Havinga

    “Often the people who are furthest removed from the work are most satisfied with Take 5s and most reluctant to get rid of them.” - Dr. Drew

    Resources:

    Link to the Paper

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • The authors’ goal was to produce a scoring protocol for safety-focused leadership engagements that reflects the consensus of a panel of industry experts. Therefore, the authors adopted a multiphased focus group research protocol to address three fundamental questions:

    1. What are the characteristics of a high-quality leadership engagement?

    2. What is the relative importance of these characteristics?

    3. What is the reliability of the scorecard to assess the quality of leadership engagement?

    Just like the last episode’s paper, the research has merit, even though it was published in a trade journal and not an academic one. The researchers interviewed 11 safety experts and identified 37 safety protocols to rank. This is a good starting point, but it would be better to also find out what these activities look like when they’re “done well,” and what success looks like when the safety measures, protocols, or attributes “work well.”

    The Paper’s Main Research Takeaways:

    Safety-focused leadership engagements are important because, if performed well, they can convey company priorities, demonstrate care and reinforce positive safety culture.A team of 11 safety experts representing the four construction industry sectors identified and prioritized the attributes of an effective leadership engagement.A scorecard was created to assess the quality of a leadership engagement, and the scorecard was shown to be reliable in independent validation.

    Discussion Points:

    Dr. Drew and Dr. David’s initial thoughts on the paperThoughts on quality vs. quantityHow do the researchers define “leadership safety engagements”The three key phases:Phase 1: Identification of key attributes of excellent engagementsPhase 2: Determining the relative importance of potential predictorsPhase 3: Reliability checkThe 15 key indicators–some are just common sense, some are relatively creepyThe end product, the checklist, is actually quite usefulThe next phase should be evaluating results – do employees actually feel engaged with this approach?Our key takeaways:It is possible to design a process that may not actually be validThe 37 items identified– a good start, but what about asking the people involved: what does it look like when “done well”No matter what, purposeful safety engagement is very importantAsk what the actual leaders and employees think!We look forward to the results in the next phase of this researchSend us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “If the measure itself drives a change to the practice, then I think that is helpful as well.” - Dr. David

    “I think just the exercise of trying to find those quality metrics gets us to think harder about what are we really trying to achieve by this activity.” - Dr. Drew

    “So I love the fact that they’ve said okay, we’re talking specifically about people who aren’t normally on-site, who are coming on-site, and the purpose is specifically a conversation about safety engagement. So it’s not to do an audit or some other activity.” - Dr. Drew

    “The goal of this research was to produce a scoring protocol for safety-focused leadership engagements, that reflects the common consensus of a panel of industry experts.” - Dr. David

    “We’ve been moving towards genuine physical disconnections between people doing work and the people trying to lead, and so it makes sense that over the next little while, companies are going to make very deliberate conscious efforts to reconnect, and to re-engage.” - Dr. Drew

    “I suspect people are going to be begging for tools like this in the next couple of years.” - Dr. Drew

    “At least the researchers have put a tentative idea out there now, which can be directly tested in the next phase, hopefully, of their research, or someone else’s research.” - Dr. Drew

    Resources:

    Link to the Research Paper

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

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  • We will discuss the pros and cons of “Golden Safety Rules” and a punitive safety culture vs. a critical risk management approach, and analyze the limitations of the methods used in this research.

    The paper’s abstract introduction reads:

    Golden safety rules (GSR) have been in existence for decades across multiple industry sectors – championed by oil and gas – and there is a belief that they have been effective in keeping workers safe. As safety programs advance in the oil and gas sector, can we be sure that GSR have a continued role? ERM surveyed companies across mining, power, rail, construction, manufacturing, chemicals and oil and gas, to examine the latest thinking about GSR challenges and successes. As we embarked on the survey, the level of interest was palpable; from power to mining it was apparent that companies were in the process of reviewing and overhauling their use of GSR. The paper will present key insights from the survey around the questions we postulated. Are GSR associated with a punitive safety culture, and have they outlived their usefulness as company safety cultures mature? Is the role of GSR being displaced as critical control management reaches new pinnacles? Do we comply with our GSR, and how do we know? Do our GSR continue to address the major hazards that our personnel are most at risk from? How do we apply our GSR with contractors, and to what extent do our contractors benefit from that? The paper concludes with some observations of how developments outside of the oil and gas sector provide meaningful considerations for the content and application of GSR for oil and gas companies.

    Discussion Points:

    There isn’t a lot of good research out there on Golden RulesMost of the research is statistics on accidents or incidentsMost Golden Rules are conceived without frontline or worker inputGolden Rules are viewed as either guidelines for actions, or a resource for actionsSome scenarios where workers should not/could not follow absolute rules– David’s example of the seatbelt story in the AU outbackIf rules cannot be followed, the work should be redesignedDiscussion of the paper from the APPEA Trade JournalAnswering seven questions:Are life-saving rules associated with punitive safety cultures?Have life-saving rules outlived their usefulness?Has the role of life-saving rules been replaced by more mature risk management programs?Do we actually comply with life-saving rules?How do we know there is compliance with life-saving rules?Do life-saving rules continue to address major hazards?How do we apply life-saving rules to our contractors?There were 15 companies involved in the research and a one hour interview with a management team member for each companyOur conclusions for each of the questions askedKey takeaways -If we’ve got rules that define key roles, they may continue to be relevantThere are a lot of factors that influence the effectiveness of the rules programIt’s difficult, if not impossible, to divorce a life-saving rule program from the development of a punitive safety cultureCritical control management needs to be developed in partnership with your workforceSo the answer to this episode’s question is – this paper cannot answer itSend us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “People tend to think of rules as constraining. They’re like laws that you stick within that you don’t step outside of.” Dr. Drew

    “Often the type of things that are published in trade associations are much closer to the real-world concerns of people at work, and a lot of people working for consultancies are very academically-minded.” - Dr. Drew

    “One way to get a name in safety is to be good at safety, another way to get a name in safety is to tell everyone how good you are at safety.” Dr. Drew

    “They’re not just talking to people who love Golden Rules [in this paper]. We’ve got some companies that never even wanted them, some companies that tried them and don’t like them, some companies that love them. So that’s a fantastic sample when it comes to, ‘do we have a diverse range of opinions.’” - Dr. Drew

    “In many organizations that have done life-saving rules, they saw this critical risk management framework as an evolution, an improvement, in what they’re doing.” Dr. David

    “I think that’s the danger of trying to make things too simple is it becomes either too generic or too vague, or just not applicable to so many circumstances.” Dr. Drew

    Resources:

    Link to the Golden Safety Rules Paper by Fraser and Colgan

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • The paper results center on a survey sent to a multitude of French industries, and although the sampling is from only one country, 15 years ago, the findings are very illustrative of common issues among safety professionals within their organizations. David used this paper as a reference for his PhD thesis, and we are going to dig into each section to discuss.

    The paper’s abstract introduction reads:

    What are the training needs of company preventionists? An apparently straightforward question, but one that will very quickly run into a number of difficulties. The first involves the extreme variability of situations and functions concealed behind the term preventionist and which stretch way beyond the term’s polysemous nature. Moreover, analysis of the literature reveals that very few research papers have endeavoured to analyse the activities associated with prevention practices, especially those of preventionists. This is a fact, even though prevention-related issues and preventionist responsibilities are becoming increasingly important.

    Discussion Points:

    The paper, reported from French industries, focuses heavily on safety in areas like occupational therapies, ergonomics, pesticides, hygiene, etc.The downside of any “survey” result is that we can only capture what the respondents “say” or self-report about their experiencesMost of the survey participants were not originally trained as safety professionalsThere are three subgroups within the survey:High school grads with little safety trainingPost high school with two-year tech training program paths to safety workUniversity-educated levels including engineers and managersThere were six main positions isolated within this study:Prevention Specialists - hold a degree in safety, high status in safety managementField Preventionists - lesser status, operations level, closer to front linesPrevention Managers - executive status, senior management, engineers/project managersPreventionist Proxies - may be establishing safety programs, in opposition to the organization, chaotic positionsBasic Coordinators - mainly focused on training othersUnstructured - no established safety procedures, may have been thrown into this roleSo many of the respondents felt isolated and frustrated within the organizations– which continues to be true in the safety professionThere is evidence in this paper and others that a large portion of safety professionals “hate their bosses” and feel ‘great distress’ in their positionsOnly 2.5% felt comfortable negotiating safety with managementTakeaways:Safety professionals come from widely diverse backgroundsTraining and education are imperativeThese are complex jobs that often are not on siteRole clarity is very low, leading to frustration and job dissatisfactionSend us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “I think this study was quite a coordinated effort across the French industry that involved a lot of different professional associations.” - David

    “It might be interesting for our readers/listeners to sort of think about which of these six groups do you fit into and how well do you reckon that is a description of what you do.” - Drew

    “I thought it was worth highlighting just how much these different [job] categories are determined by the organization, not by the background or skill of the safety practitioner.” - Drew

    “[I read a paper that stated:] There is a significant proportion of safety professionals that hate their bosses …and it was one of the top five professions that hate their bosses and managers.” - David

    “You don’t have to go too far in the safety profession to find frustrated professionals.” - David

    “There’s a lot to think on and reflect on…it’s one sample in one country 15 years ago, but these are useful reflections as we get to the practical takeaways.” - David

    “The activity that I like safety professionals to do is to think about the really important parts of their role that add the most value to the safety of work, and then go and ask questions of their stakeholders of what they think are the most valuable parts of the role, …and work toward alignment.” - David

    “Getting that role clarity makes you feel that you’re doing better in your job.” - Drew

    Resources:

    Link to the Safety Science Article

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • We will go through each letter of the amusing and memorable acronym and give you our thoughts on ways to make sure each point is addressed, and different methodologies to consider when verifying or assuring that each element has been satisfied before you cite the source.

    Sarah Blakeslee writes (about her CRAAP guidelines): Sometimes a person needs an acronym that sticks. Take CRAAP for instance. CRAAP is an acronym that most students don’t expect a librarian to be using, let alone using to lead a class. Little do they know that librarians can be crude and/or rude, and do almost anything in order to penetrate their students’ deep memories and satisfy their instructional objectives. So what is CRAAP and how does it relate to libraries? Here begins a long story about a short acronym…

    Discussion Points:

    The CRAAP guidelines were so named to make them memorableThe five CRAAP areas to consider when using sources for your work are:Currency- timeliness, how old is too old?Relevance- who is the audience, does the info answer your questionsAuthority- have you googled the author? What does that search show you?Accuracy- is it verifiable, supported by evidence, free of emotion?Purpose- is the point of view objective? Or does it seem colored by political, religious, or cultural biases?Takeaways:You cannot fully evaluate a source without looking AT the sourceBe cautious about second-hand sources– is it the original article, or a press release about the article?Be cautious of broad categories, there are plenty of peer-reviewed, well-known university articles that aren’t credibleTo answer our title question, use the CRAAP guidelines as a basic guide to evaluating your sources, it is a useful toolSend us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “The first thing I found out is there’s pretty good evidence that teaching students using the [CRAAP] guidelines doesn’t work.” - Dr. Drew

    “It turns out that even with the [CRAAP] guidelines right in front of them, students make some pretty glaring mistakes when it comes to evaluating sources.” - Dr. Drew

    “Until I was in my mid-twenties, I never swore at all.” - Dr. Drew

    “When you’re talking about what someone else said [in your paper], go read what that person said, no matter how old it is.” - Dr. Drew

    “The thing to look out for in qualitative research is, how much are the participants being led by the researchers.” - Dr. Drew

    “So what I really want to know when I’m reading a qualitative study is not what the participant answered. I want to know what the question was in the first place.” - Dr. Drew

    Resources:

    Link to the CRAAP Test

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • An excerpt from the paper’s abstract reads as follows: The proposition is based on theory about relationships between knowledge and power, complemented by organizational theory on standardization and accountability. We suggest that the increased reliance on self-regulation and international standards in safety management may be drivers for a shift in the distribution of power regarding safety, changing the conception of what is valid and useful knowledge. Case studies from two Norwegian transport sectors, the railway and the maritime sectors, are used to illustrate the proposition. In both sectors, we observe discourses based on generic approaches to safety management and an accompanying disempowerment of the practitioners and their perspectives.

    Join us as we delve into the paper and endeavor to answer the question it poses.We will discuss these highlights:

    Safety science may contribute to the marginalization of practical knowledgeHow “paper trails” and specialists marginalize and devalue experience-based knowledgeAn applied science needs to understand the effects it causes, also from a power-perspectiveSafety Science should reflect on how our results interact with existing system-specific knowledgeExamples from their case studies in maritime transport and railways

    Discussion Points:

    David has been traveling in the U.S. for much of January seeing colleaguesThis is one of David’s favorite papersDiscussion of the paper’s authors being academics, not scientistsHow does an organization create “good safety” and what does that look like?The rise of homogenous international standards of safetyCan safety professionals transfer their knowledge and work in other industriesThe two case studies in this paper: Norwegian railway and maritime systems/industriesThe separation between top-down system safety and local, front-line practitionersOur key takeaways from this paperSend us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!

    Quotes:

    “If you understand safety, then it really shouldn’t matter which industry you’re applying it on.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “I can’t imagine, as a safety professional, how you’re impactful in the first 12 months [on a new job] until you actually understand what it is you’re trying to influence.” - Dr. David Provan

    “It feels to me this is what happened here, that they formed this view of what was going on and then actually traced back through their data to try to make sense of it.” - Dr. David Provan

    “I have to say I think they genuinely use these case studies to really effectively illustrate and support the argument that they’re making.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “Once we start thinking too hard about a function, we start formalizing it and once we start formalizing it, it starts to become detached from operations and sort of flows from that operational side into the management side.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “I don’t think it's being driven by the academics at all and clearly it’s in the sociology of the profession's literature all the way back to the 1950s and 60s.” - Dr. David Provan

    “We’re fighting amongst ourselves as a non-working community about whose [safety] model should be the one to then impose on the genuine front line practitioners.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Link to Paper in JSS

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • Wastell, who has a BSc and Ph.D. from Durham University, is Emeritus Professor in Operations Management and Information Systems at Nottingham University in the UK. Professor Wastell began his academic career as a cognitive neuroscientist at Durham, studying the relationships between brain activity and psychological processes. His areas of expertise include neuroscience and social policy: critical perspectives; psychophysiological design of complex human-machine systems; Information systems and public sector reform; design and innovation in the public services; management as design; and human factors design of safe systems in child protection.

    Join us as we delve into the statement (summarized so eloquently in Wastell’s well-crafted abstract): “Methodology, whilst masquerading as the epitome of rationality, may thus operate as an irrational ritual, the enactment of which provides designers with a feeling of security and efficiency at the expense of real engagement with the task at hand.”

    Discussion Points:

    How and when Dr. Rae became aware of this paperWhy this paper has many structural similarities to our paper, ”Safety work versus the safety of work” published in 2019Organizations’ reliance on top-heavy processes and rituals such as Gantt charts, milestones, gateways, checklists, etcThoughts and reaction to Section I: A Cautionary TaleSection II: Methodology: The Lionization of TechniqueSection III: Methodology as a Social DefenseThe three elements of social defense against anxiety:Basic assumption (fight or flight)Covert coalition (internal organization protection/family/mafia)Organizational ritual (the focus of this paper)Section IV: The Psychodynamics of Learning: Teddy Bears and Transitional ObjectsPaul Feyerabend and his “Against Method” bookOur key takeaways from this paper and our discussion

    Quotes:

    “Methodology may not actually drive outcomes.” - David Provan

    “A methodology can probably never give us, repeatably, exactly what we’re after.” - David Provan

    “We have this proliferation of solutions, but the mere fact that we have so many solutions to that problem suggests that none of the individual solutions actually solve it.” - Drew Rae

    “Wastell calls out this large lack of empirical evidence around the structured methods that organizations use, and concludes that they seem to have more qualities of ‘religious convictions’ than scientific truths.” - David Provan

    “I love the fact that he calls out the ‘journey’ metaphor, which we use all the time in safety.” - Drew Rae

    “You can have transitional objects that don’t serve any of the purposes that they are leading you to.” - Drew Rae

    “Turn up to seminars, and just read papers, that are totally outside of your own field.” - Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Wastell’s Paper: The Fetish of Technique

    Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994)

    Book: Against Method by Paul Feyerabend

    Our Paper Safety Work vs. The Safety of Work

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • While this paper was written over half a century ago, it is still relevant to us today - particularly in the Safety management industry where we are often responsible for offering solutions to problems, and implementing those solutions, requires decisions to be made by top management.

    This is another fascinating piece of work that will broaden your understanding of why organisations often struggle with solving problems that involve making decisions.

    Topics:

    Introduction to the research paper: A Garbage Can Model of Organisational ChoiceOrganised anarchies Phenomena explained by this paperExamples of the garbage can modelsStandards CommitteesEnforceable undertakings processHow to influence the processDeciding on who makes decisionsConclusion - most problems will get solvedPractical takeawaysNot to get discouraged when your problem isn’t solved in a particular meetingBeing mindful of where your decision-making energy is spentProblems vs Solutions vs Decision-making Have multiple solutions ready for problems that may come up - but don’t force them all the time.

    Quotes:

    “Decisions aren’t made inside people’s heads, decisions are made in meetings, so we’ve got to understand the interplay between people in looking at how decisions are made.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “Incident investigations are a great example of choice opportunities.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “It’s probably a good reflection point for people to just think about how many decisions certain roles in the organization are being asked to be involved in.” - Dr. David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work LinkedIn

    [email protected]

    A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice (Wikipedia Page)

    Administrative Science Quarterly

  • We will review each section of Leveson’s paper and discuss how she sets each section up by stating a general assumption and then proceeds to break that assumption down.We will discuss her analysis of:

    Safety vs. ReliabilityRetrospective vs. Prospective AnalysisThree Levels of Accident Causes:Proximal event chainConditions that allowed the eventSystemic factors that contributed to both the conditions and the event

    Discussion Points:

    Unlike some others, Leveson makes her work openly available on her websiteLeveson’s books, SafeWare: System Safety and Computers (1995) and Engineering a Safer World: Systems Thinking Applied to Safety (2011)Drew describes Leveson as a “prickly character” and once worked for her, and was eventually fired by herLeveson came to engineering with a psychology backgroundMany safety professionals express concern regarding how major accidents keep happening and bemoaning - ‘why we can’t learn enough to prevent them?’The first section of Leveson’s paper: Safety vs. Reliability - sometimes these concepts are at odds, sometimes they are the same thingHow cybernetics used to be ‘the thing’ but the theory of simple feedback loops fell apartSumming up this section: safety is not the sum of reliability componentsThe second section of the paper: Retrospective vs. Prospective Accident AnalysisMost safety experts rely on and agree that retrospective accident analysis is still the best way to learnExample - where technology changes slowly, ie airplanes, it’s acceptable to run a two-year investigation into accident causesExample - where technology changes quickly, ie the 1999 Mars Climate Orbiter crash vs. Polar Lander crash, there is no way to use retrospective analysis to change the next iteration in timeThe third section of the paper: Three Levels of AnalysisIts easiest to find the causes that led to the proximal event chain and the conditions that allowed the event, but identifying the systemic factors is more difficult because it’s not as easy to draw a causal link, it’s too indirectThe “5 Whys” method to analyzing an event or failurePractical takeaways from Leveson’s paper–STAMP (System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes) using the accident causality model based on systems theoryInvestigations should focus on fixing the part of the system that changes slowestThe exact front line events of the accident often don’t matter that much in improving safetyClosing question: “What exactly is systems thinking?” It is the adoption of the Rasmussian causation model– that accidents arise from a change in risk over time, and analyzing what causes that change in risk

    Quotes:

    “Leveson says, ‘If we can get it right some of the time, why can’t we get it right all of the time?’” - Dr. David Provan

    “Leveson says, ‘the more complex your system gets, that sort of local autonomy becomes dangerous because the accidents don’t happen at that local level.’” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “In linear systems, if you try to model things as chains of events, you just end up in circles.’” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “‘Never buy the first model of a new series [of new cars], wait for the subsequent models where the engineers had a chance to iron out all the bugs of that first model!” - Dr. David Provan

    “Leveson says the reason systemic factors don’t show up in accident reports is just because its so hard to draw a causal link.’” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “A lot of what Leveson is doing is drawing on a deep well of cybernetics theory.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Applying Systems Thinking Paper by Leveson

    Nancy Leveson– Full List of Publications

    Nancy Leveson of MIT

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • We will discuss how other safety science researchers have designed theories that use Rasmussen’s concepts, the major takeaways from Rasmussen’s article, and how safety professionals can use these theories to analyze and improve systems in their own organizations today.

    Discussion Points:

    Rasmussen’s history of influence, and the parallels to (Paul) Erdős numbers in research paper publishingHow Rasmussen is the “grandfather” of safety scienceRasmussen’s impact across disciplines and organizational categories through the yearsThe basics of this paperWhy risk management models must never be staticHow other theorists and scientists take Rasmussen’s concepts and translate them into their own models and diagramsThe paper’s summary of the evolution of theoretical approaches up until ‘now’ (1997)Why accident models must use a holistic approach including technology AND peopleHow organizations are always going to have pressures of resources vs. required resultsEmployees vs. Management– both push for results with minimal acceptable effort, creating accident riskRasmussen identified we need different models that reflect the real worldTakeaways for our listeners from Rasmussen’s work

    Quotes:

    “That’s the forever challenge in safety, is people have great ideas, but what do you do with them? Eventually, you’ve got to turn it into a method.” - Drew Rae

    “These accidental events are shaped by the activity of people. Safety, therefore, depends on the control of people’s work processes.” - David Provan

    “There’s always going to be this natural migration of activity towards the boundaries of acceptable performance.” - David Provan

    “This is like the most honest look at work I think I’ve seen in any safety paper.” - Drew Rae

    “If you’re a safety professional, just how much time are you spending understanding all of these ins and outs and nuances of work, and people’s experience of work? …You actually need to find out from the insiders inside the system. ” - David Provan

    “‘You can’t just keep swatting at mosquitos, you actually have to drain the swamp.’ I think that’s the overarching conceptual framework that Rasmussen wanted us to have.” - David Provan

    Resources:

    Compute your Erdos Number

    Jens Rasmussen’s 1997 Paper

    David Woods LinkedIn

    Sidney Dekker Website

    Nancy Leveson of MIT

    Black Line/Blue Line Model

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work on LinkedIn

    [email protected]

  • Find out our thoughts on this paper and our key takeaways for the ever-changing world of workplace safety.

    Topics:

    Introduction to the paper & the Author“Adding more rules is not going to make your system safer.”The principles of safety in the paperTypes of safety systems as broken down by the paperProblems in these “Ultrasafe systems”The Summary of developments of human errorThe psychology of making mistakesThe Efficiency trade-off element in safetySuggestions in Amalberti’s conclusionTakeaway messagesAnswering the question: Why does safety get harder as systems get safer?

    Quotes:

    “Systems are good - but they are bad because humans make mistakes” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “He doesn’t believe that zero is the optimal number of human errors” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “You can’t look at mistakes in isolation of the context” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “The context and the system drive the behavior. - Dr. David Provan

    “It’s part of the human condition to accept mistakes. It is actually an important part of the way we learn and develop our understanding of things. - Dr. David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    The Safety of Work LinkedIn

    [email protected]

    The Paradoxes of Almost Totally Safe Transportation Systems by R. Amalberti

    Risk Management in a Dynamic society: a Modeling problem - Jens Rasmussen

    The ETTO Principle: Efficiency-Thoroughness Trade-Off: Why Things That Go Right Sometimes Go Wrong - Book by Erik Hollnagel

    Ep.81 How does simulation training develop Safety II capabilities?

    Navigating safety: Necessary Compromises and Trade-Offs - Theory and Practice - Book by R. Amalberti

  • This paper by Daniel Katz was published in 1964 and, scarily still has some very relevant takeaways for today’s safety procedures in organisations. We delve into this research and discover the ideas that Katz initiated all those years ago. The problem is that an organization cannot promote one of these concepts without negatively affecting the other. So how are organizations meant to manage this?

    We share some personal thoughts on whether or not the world of safety research has since found an answer to dealing with these two contradictory concepts.

    Topics:

    Introduction to the paperIntroduction to the Author Daniel KatzThe history of the safety research industryThree basic behaviors required from employees in all organizationsPeople’s willingness to stay in an organizationManaging dependable role performanceSpontanious initiativeFavourable attitudeCreating this motivation in employees to follow rulesCultivating innovative behaviourHow this paper remains relevant in current safety researchNo answer to this question of balancing these two behaviours

    Quotes:

    Katz is really one of the founding fathers in the field of organizational psychology. - Dr. Drew

    Rae

    It’s not just that you’re physically getting people to stay but getting them to stay and still be willing to be productive. Dr. Drew Rae

    “When we promote autonomy, we need to think about what that does to reliable role performance.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    Complex situations, clearly need complex solutions. - Dr. David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Episode 2

    The motivational basis of organizational behavior (Paper)

  • This paper reveals some really interesting findings and it would be valuable for companies to take notice and possibly change the way they implement incident report recoMmendations.

    Topics:

    Introduction to the paperThe general process of an investigationThe Hypothesis The differences between the reports and their languageThe results of the three reportsDifferences in the recommendations on each of the reportsThe different ways of interpreting the resultsPractical TakeawaysNot sharing lessons learned from incidents - let others learn it for themselves by sharing the report.Summary and answer to the question

    Quotes:

    “All of the information in every report is factual, all of the information is about the same real incident that happened.” Drew Rae

    “These are plausibly three different reports that are written for that same incident but they’re in very different styles, they highlight different facts and they emphasize different things.” Drew Rae

    “Incident reports could be doing so much more for us in terms of broader safety in the organization.” David Provan

    “From the same basic facts, what you select to highlight in the report and what story you use to tell seems to be leading us toward a particular recommendation.” - Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Accident Report Interpretation Paper

    Episode 18 - Do Powerpoint Slides count as a safety hazard?

  • It's Modelling the Micro-Foundations of the Audit Society: Organizations and the Logic of the Audit Trail by Michael Power. This paper gets us thinking about why organizations do audits in the first place seeing as it has been proven to often decrease the efficiency of the actual process being audited. We discuss the negatives as well as the positives of audits - which both help explain why audits continue to be such a big part of safety management in organizations.

    Topics:

    What kinds of audits are happeningWhy is the number of audits increasing?Why do we keep doing audits when they seemingly do not help productivity.Academia and publication metricsThe audit societyThe foundations of an audit trailThe process model of an audit trailThe problem with audit trails.Going from push to pull when audits are initiatedWhy is it easier for some organizations to adopt auditing processes than others?Displacement from goals to methodsAudits help different organizations line up their way of thinkingPractical takeaways

    Quotes:

    “We see that even though audits are supposed to increase efficiency, that in fact, they decrease efficiency through increased bureaucracy. - Drew Rae

    “The audit process needs to aggregate multiple pieces of data, and then it has to produce a performance account, so the audit actually needs to deliver a result.” - David Provan

    “We become less reflexive about what’s going on in terms of this value subversion - so we stop worrying about are we genuinely creating a safety culture in our business and we worry more about what’s the rating coming out of these audits in terms of the safety culture.” - Drew Rae

    “Audits themselves are not improving underlying performance.” - David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Research paper: Modelling the Microfoundations of the Audit Society

  • The specific paper found some interesting results from these simulated situations - including that it was found that the debriefing, post-simulation, had a large impact on the amount of learning the participants felt they made. The doctors chat about whether the research was done properly and whether the findings could have been tested against alternative scenarios to better prove the theorized results.

    Topics:

    Individual and team skills needed to maintain safety.Safety-I vs Safety-IIIntroduction to the research paperMaritime Safety and human errorSingle-loop vs Double-loop learningSimulator programs help people learn and reflectResearch methodsResults discussionRecognizing errors and anomaliesShared knowledge to define limits of actionOperating the system with confidenceImportance of learning by doing and reflecting back afterwardComplexity and uncertainty as a factor in safety strategy.Practical Takeaways Work simulation is an effective learning processHalf of the learning comes from the debriefRead this paper if doing simulation training

    Quotes:

    “Very few advocates of Safety-II would disagree that it’s important to keep trying to identify those predictable ways that a system can fail and put in place barriers and controls and responses to those predictable ways that a system can fail.” - Dr. David Provan

    “It limits claims that you can make about just how effective the program is. Unless you’ve got a comparison, you can’t really draw a conclusion that it’s effective.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “A lot of these scenarios are just things like minor sensor failures or errors in the display which you can imagine in an automated system, those are the things that need human intervention.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “Safety-I is necessary but not sufficient - you need to move on to the resilient solution ” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “I don’t really think that situational complexity is what should guide your safety strategy. - Dr. Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Research paper

    Norwegian University of Science and Technology

    Episode 79 - How do new employees learn about safety?

    Episode 19 - Virtual Reality and Safety training

  • The paper we reference today is our own research paper published in 2018 named; Safety clutter: the accumulation and persistence of ‘safety’ work that does not contribute to operational safety. So we have done ample research when it comes to this particular topic and we’re excited to share this knowledge with you. Hopefully you will take away from this episode a better understanding of where to start looking for (and clear out) clutter in your own workplace.

    Topics:

    What is safety clutter?The three C’s ContributionConfidenceConsensusThe paper - Safety clutter: the accumulation and persistence of ‘safety’ work that does not contribute to operational safetyTypes of duplication in safety tasksGeneralization of safety tasksSymbolic application of safety tasksAttempted simplificationLeast common denominatorOverspecificationThe causes of safety clutterWhy reduce safety clutter?Ways to deal with safety clutter

    Quotes:

    “Clutter by duplication - when you literally have two activities that perform the same function, then you know that at least one out of the two is going to be unnecessary. - Drew Rae

    “They ended up having to create a hazard on the work site for the manager who was doing the critical controls inspection to check that they had properly managed the hazard.” Drew Rae

    “I found a 28 page work page work instruction on how to spray weeds on a concrete pathway with a weedspray that was biodegradable and commercially available at any supermarket.” - David Provan

    “It’s harder to remove anything that is there for safety than it is to add something that’s there for safety.” - Drew Rae

    “Did you know that some of the things we do in this organization, specifically for safety, may make our organization less safe. - David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Research paper

  • While there may be many reasons for this - this particular research paper looks at how younger workers are inducted into the workplace and how they learn about the safety practices and requirements that are expected. The findings are pretty fascinating - especially for people responsible for hiring new employees.

    Topics

    Introduction to the research paperTypes of questions researchers asked research subjectsLiterature reviewHow people learnLearning safe practicesIndustries researchedMetalworkElderly careRetailGeneral inferencesCommunity of practiceGradient towards unsafety

    Practical Takeaways

    There’s a direct link between employment practices and safetyTemporary workers are less likely to follow safety precautionsAwareness of safety and how it relates to labor-hireReflective practiceLook at what happens during a new employee’s first weekAre your formal and informal induction and onboarding processes aligned to your safety risk profile of the different roles within your organization

    Quotes:

    “Learning isn’t about uploading knowledge, it’s about creating a sequence of experiences, and each person in the experience, they reflect on that experience, they learn from that, it leads them on to new experiences.” - Drew Rae

    “When we induct workers, it’s not just about knowledge transfer, it’s not just about uploading the knowledge they need, it’s about how do we get them to start taking part in discussions and decisions and arguments and thinking about the way work happens.” - Drew Rae

    “The one thing that we maybe can maintain is the formal standards that we communicate in the induction in the hope that creating some of that tension, creates discussion.” - David Provan

    “Onboarding a person into the workplace is an investment in the person, so people are maybe likely to invest more if there’s more return.” - David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    Research Paper Discussed

  • The reason we are talking about this today, is because this tactic is often used in workplace safety videos and we ask whether or not it works for everyone, how well it works for workplace safety and whether its even ethical in the first place, regardless of its efficacy.

    Topics:

    Deciding to discuss shock tactics/threat appeals in the podcastDo they have a place in organization safety management?Ethics behind using fear tacticsThe research paper introductionAbout the authorsHow does fear connect with persuasion?Too much fear-mongeringAdaptive vs maladaptive response to the message General problems with research in fear messagingPractical takeawaysSix things that determine how people respond to the message: The severity of the fear SusceptibilityRelevanceEfficacy The wear-out effectThe credibility of the message

    Quotes:

    “Just because something is effective, still doesn’t necessarily make it OK.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “The amount of fear doesn’t seem to determine which path someone goes down, it just determines the likelihood that they are going to hit one of these paths very strongly.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “Communication which gives people an action that they can take right at the time they receive the communication is likely to be quite useful. Communication that just generally conveys a message about safety is not.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    [email protected]

    The role of fear appeals in improving driver safety (Research Paper)

  • The findings of this research point to the importance of staff buy-in and a team-driven approach to safety.

    Topics:

    Introduction to research paper Seven features of safety in maternity unitsThe premise of the studyUnderstanding the process behind data collection for this studyThe Finding of the paperSix Features/themes of patient safetyRules & procedures vs social control mechanismsPatient feedbackRefining the Safety findingsCommitment to safety and improvementStaff improving working processesTechnical competence supported by formal training and informal learningTeamwork, cooperation, and positive working relationshipsReinforcing, safe, ethical behaviorsSystems and processes designed for safety -regularly reviewed and optimized.Effective coordination and the ability to mobilize quicklyGeneralization of processes isn’t always helpful

    Quotes:

    “The forces that create positive conditions for safety in frontline work may be at least partially invisible to those who create them.” - Dr. David Provan

    “Unlike last time, we’re now explicitly mentioning patients’ families, so last time it was ‘just do patient feedback’, now we’re talking about families being encouraged to share their experience.” - Dr. Drew Rae

    “These seven [Safety Findings] may or may not be relevant for other domains or contexts but the message in the paper is - go and find out for yourself what is relevant and important in your context.” - Dr. David Provan

    Resources:

    Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

    The Safety of Work Podcast

    Seven features of safety in maternity units -Research Paper

    The Safety Of Work - Episode 14

    [email protected]

    Episode 75 - How Stop-Work Decisions are Made

  • Greg makes it very clear how important it is to avoid oversimplifying the term “due diligence”. He shares how this mistake has, unfortunately, led to safety officers and businesses being held liable for incidents at their premises. Today’s conversation with Greg was incredibly insightful to me and he clarified all his examples with real-life examples.

    Topics:

    Introduction to Greg SmithPaper SafeCapacity Index vs incident count safety metrics research paper in epiWhat is due diligence?Misleading due diligence productsReasonably practicable vs due diligenceThe validity of injury ratesSite inspection limitationsThe role of health and safety reportingLearning from incidentsPractical tips from Greg Advice for safety officers meeting with the board of directors

    Quotes:

    “I find it fascinating the number of different disciplines, all landing at the same point at about the same time but without any reference to each other, I think it says something about the way that health and safety is managed at the moment.”- Greg Smith

    “Due diligence creates a positive obligation on company officers in the same way that the reasonableness elements of WHS create positive obligations on employees.”- Greg Smith

    “Injury rates from a legal perspective are not a measure of anything. They don’t demonstrate reasonably practicable, they do not demonstrate due diligence.” - Greg Smith

    “ I am not an advocate of moving from complexity to simplicity. I think we need to be careful of that because a lot of what we do in safety is not simple and by making it simple, we’re actually hiding a lot of risk.” - Greg Smit

    Resources:

    Paper Safe Book - by Greg Smith

    Forgeworks - Safety work vs Safety of Work

    A capacity index to replace flawed incident-based metrics for worker safety

    [email protected]