When one fails in safety management, people can get hurt or die, yet safety professionals and business executives rarely acknowledge this failure, even though companies may plead guilty in court. Instead “mistakes” are made, “deficiencies” are identified and investigations uncover “areas for improvement” but these are rarely described as “failures”.
October 13 was the International Day For Failure (IDFF), a day that is intended to provide a structure for the discussion of failure and how we respond to, and cope with, failure. The quote that most summarises the day is
“Failure is not the enemy, the fear of failure is”.
Part of the impediment for growth in safety management is that people are encouraged to deny liability for their actions. Executives receive legal advice to say as little as possible and to keep as much as possible under legal-client privilege. This is anathema to the principles of safety management that require failures to be acknowledged and for new preventive strategies to be developed. Yes, shit happens but safety management is particularly required to not let the shit happen twice. Continue reading “Truly acknowledging failure provides a strong base for improvement”