A Disruptive Paradigm: Systems Thinking About Human Error

Systems thinking is a disruptive paradigm. Clearly it forces safety professionals and management to think differently about accident causation, but it also opens the door to many other possibilities. Initiatives like HOP hold great promise in making this shift away from behavioral causation. So here is the disruptive paradigm shift: Human error is not the root cause of most incidents. All human behavior (and error) is affected by the context in which it occurs, and the context is the sum of all processes or organizational systems that influenced the situation.

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Safety Incentives Should Target Managers!

Measure And Reward For Actions, Not Outcomes Many of you who have read my blog articles in the past know that I am not a big believer in safety incentive programs.  Most are aimed at front-line workers and are based on injury records.   

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Creating A Strong Safety Culture Using “L8MM”

Building a strong safety culture takes innovation. The “Last 8 Minute Meeting” – L8MM – is a great way to improve safety communications and drive how the value your organization places of worker safeyt. This concept was developed by CNOOC and has spread throughout the organization. Safety performance has never been better.

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Great Leadership Is About Helping Others

NOTE: Earlier this year I wrote a President’s Message for ASSE’s Professional Safety Journal. It received a good deal of positive feedback, so as we reach the end of the year and look to 2013 I thought I would share it with you here.

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News Flash! Human Error Is The Cause

The combination of our lack of understanding normal work deviation and our tendency to view error as the result of conscious choice, often leads us to an inappropriate response. Unfortunately, this combination starts the blame cycle, feeds the disciplinary process, creates bad feelings and fosters a poor safety climate and negative culture.

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Fleet Safety: 6 + 1 Key Elements For Success

There are no “silver bullets” when it comes to fleet safety, but paying attention to these 6 areas will help improve the odds. Then, using the information contained in the new ANSI standard, ANSI/ASSE Z15 – 2012 to establish and manage your fleet safety program should help you succeed. This blog post is intended to help everyone remember what’s important in fleet safety.

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Near Miss Reporting – The Importance Of A “Learning Culture”

Creating a culture of safety within an organization is not an easy task, as pointed out by Dan McCune of Embry-Riddle University. It takes effort and understanding that an importat element is the willingness to learn from mistakes. Learning is critical to pilots and others in mission critical situations, and the best learning is from experience. Often errors or mistakes lead to some of the best learning experiences. Organizations that want a safety culture are wise to understand this and eliminate barriers to learning and information sharing. Near-miss reporting is a great way to get employees to share what almost happened and further everyone’s learning about safety.

In James Reason’s book, Managing the Risks of Organizational Accidents, he writes about how to “engineer a safety culture”. (First, I digress: not only do I highly recommend this book, but when you read it please pay particular attention to Chapter 9.) In this chapter he discusses the Organizational Culture and that “A safety culture is not something that springs up ready-made from the organizational equivalent of a near-death experience, rather it emerges gradually from the persistent and successful application of practical and down-to-earth measures. Acquiring a Safety Culture is a process of collective learning.” Reason then goes on to discuss other business books about culture that are in support of the notion that a strong organizational culture begets a strong safety culture.

This blog post provides a great argument for creating a positive working environment, where learning is valued and reporting is risk free.

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