I read your article in the ISHN E-newsletter and all the statements made by other safety professionals:

"Zero incident goals seriously impede safety."

"Consistency and compliance are the enemies of safety."

"We force people into thinking they are the cause of accidents."

"'Be always mindful of safety' is an absolutely incredibly stupid thing to say."

"Safety is full of unrealistic statements such as, 'Expect the unexpected;' 'Think safety 24/7;' 'Always be thinking of the possibility of accidents.' People are not going to wake up in the morning thinking about everything that might go wrong today."

"More safety resources do not equal better safety performance. It is no guarantee." "Zero incidents is a vision we can't reach."

"We oversimplify how we measure safety by accident rates."

"We measure systems by audits that are only a snapshot in time. This is a huge understatement of the lively, dynamic risks in a system."

You know what is true about all the statements? The truth is there is a little truth in all of them. The real truth is that depending on just one or two of these statements is the key to failure. We can’t drive just one of these ideas. We have to be expecting zero accidents, consistency and compliance, not blaming people for accidents while expecting accountability, always keep safety in mind, expect the unexpected, more safety resources are no guarantee (allocating the right resources and getting the best performance out of them is), using the accident rates through incident analysis and trending, and using audits correctly are all the answers.

This has to be built into the safety program as a metric system and not focusing on one thing. If your program isn’t able to comprehend this and has failed to see the whole picture and established a proper safety culture with it, you’re going to always fall short of excellence. It isn’t easy to accomplish and is sometimes why you need a few more resources even if you have to you use some of your other company personnel outside of EHS.

This is my opinion anyway,

Jon Williams