Insight: Safety decision making is built on understanding core safety concepts. Focus on the process that drives results, not just the results. There will be variation in the number of incidents or outcomes, develop a variety of leading indicators for culture, leadership and behaviour. Stop chasing hazards and develop systems that improve the safety of the workplace. Don’t waste time on safety awareness campaigns. Stop over-reacting to variation in incidence rates, develop leading indicators.
Shift to a new paradigm. Assess incidents, injuries, near hits/misses, based on the potential to result in a serious injury or fatality. Identify and manage the precursors, i.e. high risks activities, unmitigated high-risk situations and high event combinations. Examples include confined space entry, energy isolation, process upsets, lifting operations.
Comment: Core safety concepts include safety processes as well as how the organization will manage safety. This includes line management safety leadership, where each business unit is accountable for its performance and the processes they use to achieve the performance. The safety professionals can define the safety system and work with line management to create specific plans and processes to achieve the goals. This typically includes a strong emphasis on the fundamentals, i.e. line management leadership, risk management, incident management, employee engagement, employee development and competency, fatality prevention and verification.
Measures can be developed that indicate how well each process is being managed, improved and matured. The effectiveness of line management leadership and the support of safety professionals can also be measured. Thus, leaders can focus on how the processes are managed and proactively address areas of concern as opposed to solely relying solely on reactive measures. An understanding of Human and Organizational principles and tools can be integrated into the core process. This will provide additional perspectives on human error and how the organization can identify and address both active, latent errors and error precursors.
The WITH Model is an effective tool to use to integrate Human Performance concepts with the core safety processes. This model examines 4 main categories; task demands (the work to be done), individual capabilities (the person doing the work), the work environment (where the work will be done) and human nature (the mindset of the person doing the work). The items within the categories are error precursors, and if these are identified and addressed before the job is executed, the likelihood of errors can be significantly reduced.