As engineers and geoscientists, we take great pride in following standards and conducting practices that are science-based. Many of us are either directly or indirectly involved with organization safety programs. Industry standards and practices typically evolve based on learnings from failures. Sadly, evolution in the safety industry has been extremely slow and continues to be dominated by century-old paradigms: safety is the absence of negative incidents. Humans are error prone and must be controlled with compliance rules and procedures. If an accident occurs, find the humans to blame and punish through discipline or termination. Now throw in today’s pundits promoting idealistic goals to achieve a zero-harm vision by tying in performance incentives. It is not surprising workers, leads, and supervisors are dazed and confused each time a safety dilemma or paradox arises.
This introductory course presents an innovative yet pragmatic perspective called “Safety Differently”. The view gives credit to workers for getting things right, which they do most of the time. Safety Differently sees people as the solution and safety as an ethical responsibility. It recognizes safety is not something created but is an emergent property of a complex adaptive system. “Work-as-imagined” does not always match “work-as-done” due to variances in actual working conditions. When facing an unexpected change, people will adjust their actions accordingly. In most cases, the adjustment enables safety to emerge. However, it is also possible that danger may inadvertently emerge. If a tipping point is reached, then a negative consequence happens. Safety Differently focuses on hidden non-linear tipping point signals and how alert humans sense pending danger. This offering is part of the complexity science series. A complexity-based approach is applied to safety and to shape an organization’s safety culture.
After the session, participants will be able to:
- Appreciate why the safety industry is what it is today.
- Explain why in a non-linear world, major catastrophes will happen more frequently.
- Determine what is an appropriate safety strategy to deploy.
- Understand how to shape an organization’s safety culture.
Mr. Wong has over 40 years of experience starting with his career at BC Hydro where he worked in engineering, line operations, business consulting and training roles. He later joined Ernst & Young Consulting (now Capgemini Consulting) as a Senior Manager in Strategy & Transformation. During his association with the global consulting firm he acted as a lead practitioner for change management in Canada and the local knowledge management coordinator in the Vancouver office.
Gary has operated his own independent consulting practice over the past decade. He also is a FranklinCovey training consultant for programs such as the 7 Habit of Highly Effective People and acts an accredited training partner with Cognitive-Edge Inc., providing complexity education.