Sidney Dekker is a leading, and influential, voice in thinking about safety. His latest book, “The End of Heaven – Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age” is intriguing. In a couple of weeks SafetyAtWorkBlog will have an exclusive interview with Dekker about this book and other related issues but in the meantime here is a list of chapter topics as described by Dekker in his Preface. Compared to his earlier books, this book’s intrigue should be obvious.
It is the twentieth anniversary of the explosive demolition of the Canberra Hospital. The demolition was meant to be an implosion but instead debris scatter well outside the designated safety zone resulting in the death of one person and injuries to nine. Such events are significant at the time but fade from memory until anniversaries are noted, however, there are important occupational health and safety (OHS) lessons from such incidents which do not have the drama of a Piper Alpha or a Challenger but are nevertheless as instructive.
Last week Australia benefited from a safety roadshow based around screenings of the Deepwater Horizon movie and post-film discussions with Cheryl MacKenzie who was appointed as the lead investigator by the US Chemical Safety Board, and by Peter Wilkinson, an adviser to CSB’s investigation of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The seminars were popular with full sessions in some capital cities.
The format of such seminars is attractive as the film can be used as an icebreaker and/or the pivot point for discussions. MacKenzie and Wilkinson’s discussion focused on oil and gas safety scenarios but there was enough non-specific information for take-aways.
More such events would be a good idea perhaps using a range of the available safety-related documentaries that are released, almost, ever year such as
This week Australia has been experiencing a safety roadshow built around the Deepwater Horizon movie and two guest speakers. The afternoon sessions have been well attended and the discussion fruitful but does the film improve the viewers’ understanding of safety or misrepresent it?
The current edition of SouthAsia magazine has a short report on occupational health and safety (OHS) in Bangladesh that illustrate the political and social challenges for workers and citizens in a country. The article, “Poor Workplace Safety” (not available online) states that government data for 2016 list more than 1,225 workers killed and over 500 injured. After these figures, and the fact that Bangladesh has a history of catastrophic workplace disasters, the author, Mohammad Waqar Bilal, states
“In fact, the issue of workers’ safety has never been considered by the government on a priority basis.”