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Top 10 Things About Safety and Risk That Only a Handful of People Know

This may seem like a pretty random topic for a blog post and that is because um, it is! Last night I got sent a link to a random blog post generator so I decided to try it out and this was the first topic it suggested – when I plugged my name in it came up with: “Never Underestimate The Influence Of Dave” – LOL!) . Recently I decided that I need to go more with my gut than with my mind and something about this topic resonated with me.

This blog is obviously now packed with stuff that goes way beyond the traditional and orthodox safety stuff yet every time one of our awesome authors posts a new article or somebody takes the time to comment, I seem to get one of those little light bulb moments where I learn something new or suddenly get what previously didn’t make sense. So deciding what to write about for this topic at first seemed pretty easy but suddenly turned very difficult – how do I keep it to only 10?

Anyway, here are 10 and a bit things about safety that I plucked from some recent blog posts, that singularly or collectively only a handful of people may know. Or, if they knew them, perhaps did not know them well? Of course the Barry Spuds of the world already know and deny all this stuff! As always, in the words of the late George Robotham, “It would be a boring world if everybody agreed with me” so I hope this sparks as much debate as our “Safety 10 Commandments” and “What is Safety” articles:

  1. Safety is a Wicked Problem – The binary worldview denies complexity and moreso the reality of ‘wicked problems’. This enables safety crusaders to not identify with others but rather marginalize others because the rules are simple and the presumption is that unsafe people, risk takers are both stupid and ignorant moreso, they lack ‘common sense’. The trap of binary thinking in risk and safety is that it promotes rapid judgment, comfortable decision making and dehumanizing others.

  2. Every Seemingly Simple Solution has a Trade-Off or By-Product – People’s ability to adapt and compensate to change and achieve their normal level of risk comfort is amazing (Risk Homeostasis) – many don’t realize that simply choosing a quick control from the hierarchy can actually increase risk.

  3. Safety is not a Value but it is something we value – There is a big difference between what we value (outcome and object) and what is a value (principle/ethic) when we consider strategy and thinking in risk and safety.

  4. The absence of something (no injuries) doesn’t indicate the presence of something else (safety).

  5. Safety is about people – not objects – See Risk is about people, not just objects and Making objects safe or people safe

  6. The more you poke safety with a stick, the more its starts to smell (one of my favourites) – bean counters and safety crusaders get very despondent when a big focus or spend on safety only leads to incident statistics getting worse – there are many good reasons for this.

  7. 100% compliance will only solve 20% of your safety problems.

  8. Safety requires good leaders and good followers – not crusaders and sheep.

  9. Zero Harm approaches do not work and actually cause more harm than good.

  10. Safety culture is mega complex and not well understood – most incidents are culturally determined not behaviourally determined. We must understand how language shapes culture and behaviour and work hard to eliminate wrongful discourse in the workplace culture and influence the organisation to use rightful priming in talking about risk and safety.

  11. Most of what is said in OHS is just ‘noise’. You need to stop listening – It is a distraction and delusional and creates the idea that you are actually an expert in risk and safety.

  12. Telling is not learning and is much more risky than asking.

  13. Safety is NOT the No1 Priority! Never has been, never will be and never should be.

  14. FEAR – The F word seems to be responsible for so much of our conscious or unconscious behaviour regardless of how smart or tough or adventurous we think we are.

If you have further Safety Goals and Interests, we can help! Contact us at 909-481-7223 or email our Safety Compliance email at Like we said, we will help!

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