The Health and Safety profession has made great strides in safety performance over the last 50 years, technology has become safer to use, and techniques such as HAZOP and bowtie analysis have given us ways to think about and manage hazards. This approach has served the industry well, but safety performance has recently stalled.
Have you ever been involved in a safety investigation where you felt like you were being interrogated?
You felt like you've done something wrong, and the intention was more to find out how you should be punished than how your organisation could learn.
Sadly many of us have either had that or heard about others that have had that particular experience, yet the fact is that such an approach does very little to improve safety.
Work as imagined (WAI) versus work as a done (WAD), some abstract terms, but really useful in terms of their implications. We could also refer to the terms collectively, a different label, the job perception gap.
The past principles and practices of safety management have served us really well and they will continue to do so particularly for simple tasks where individuals or small groups are carrying out things where the risks are well-known and not much is changing in the environment.