- OIL & GAS
Virtually all catastrophic events in man-made systems are related to technical failures made possible by organizational failures. This explains why catastrophic events continue to occur despite widespread implementation of sophisticated technical and management systems. Deepwater Horizon and Texas City disasters are examples of events caused by weak organizational safety—the context within which technical and management systems function.
Let’s be clear, there is no such thing as a safe workplace. Sure we can slap each other on the back and brag to one another about the four years without a recordable injury and we can tell ourselves that we have achieved a Utopian risk-free workplace but the reality is, there is always some probability that a worker will be harmed in the course of doing his or her job.
Unlike most other business measures—think earnings growth or debt load—the traditional measures of safety performance tell us little about where existing functioning actually is, and where it is headed. The deficiency of safety measurement in describing actual performance is so common as to be a cliché. The reality is that there are many variables that determine the quality of safety functioning, variables that could be detected with the right set of metrics, processes, and analysis.
The Sunday New York Times (Jan. 20) had an article, “The Art of Adding Through Taking Away,” with the “art” both philosophical and pragmatic. The underlying theme should be familiar to many of you: it is a variation of Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS), dumb it down, keep it short and sweet, don’t complicate matters, don’t over-think.
In the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” a brief exchange occurs between a CIA subordinate and his boss at Langley HQ. The subordinate and his team are frustrated. The higher-ups are not with aggression pursuing leads that the team believes could track down Bin Laden. “I wonder,” says the subordinate. “how do you assess the risk of doing nothing?”
I was reading something yesterday where the writer described a person as being at that point in their life where they are saying, “been there, done that, is that all there is?” ISHN reader surveys have pointed out what’s already well-established: the EHS professional ranks are top-heavy with graying baby boomers beyond age 50.
Positive thinking is deeply embedded in American culture, and in American business culture. I’ve worked with enough magazine publishers and advertising sales reps who would be seriously non-productive if not for their “can do, will do” spirit. But here is a counter-intuitive thought: Psychotherapist Albert Ellis, who died in 2007, was a pioneer of the negative path, and he once said the best way to address an uncertain future is to focus on the worst that can happen, instead of the best-case scenario.
For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE
Check out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.