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.
There is a very good chance that we have all heard that safety starts at the top. This is not a cliché’ as some may think. All safe workplace efforts must start with top management leading the way with a vision for the company.
I discovered these factors that influence behavioral ethics in the course of my doctoral research, when I analyzed 150 different derailments within organizations. Since then, these factors have been tested in various studies.