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Creating a resilient workplace

Moving from protective safety to productive safety.

Our safety management approach encapsulates proven methodologies and new paradigms such as Protective Safety to Productive Safety. Protective Safety to Productive Safety argues for a reframing. So, instead of as in the old safety view thinking of as fewer things as possible going wrong (the current state of play), we start to think of as many things as possible going right.

In the way that we manage, we become much more proactive and apply a greater focus on anticipation of developments and events. In our explanation of accidents, we recognise that failures are going on all the time and that human adaption is there constantly. 

We move from human error, shifting the view to humans now being seen as a resource for getting system flexibility and resilience, where resilience here is very much a system sense of resilience, not what sometimes is being talked of in individual people being resilient. This is about a system being resilient.

And the role of performance variability - instead of being harmful and that we should stop it and constrain it, what we move to is a view in which we are saying that it's inevitable, but it's also most of the time useful, so we should monitor it and manage it.

We are particularly influenced by the work of the following thought leaders:

  • Professor Erik Hollnagel – Safety I and Safety II (Protective Safety to Productive Safety)
  • Sidney Dekker – Safety Differently
  • Dr Todd Conklin - Pre-accident Investigations
  • Michael Burnham – Targeting Zero
  • Dr David Borys – Organisational Culture
  • Dr Sharron O'Neill – The Business Case for Safe, Healthy & Productive Work
  • Dr David Provan - Forge Works
  • Kelvin Genn & Marc McLaren - Art of Work

Many of the elements of Dekker's "new view" of safety echo some of the recent political discussion about managerial agility, corporate vision, the importance of innovation, to staying relevant and continuing to drive business outcomes.

Beyond this, there is also a fit with the increased legislative attention to OHS due diligence. Companies are now required to be actively engaged in consultation on work health and safety issues, and these OHS issues have broadened to include psychosocial factors such as wellness, mental health and fatigue.