Acts of God, the morality of safety – interview with Sidney Dekker

The latest episode of Safety At Work Talks is a return to the sequence of interviews with Professor Sidney Dekker.  In April 2017, Dekker published a book called The End of Heaven which discusses suffering.  This book has a very different tone from his previous books and is intriguing.

The breadth of the discussion was also surprising with concepts and references rarely talked about in relation to occupational health and safety, such as morality, Acts of God, train disasters and the Bible.  If this sounds heavy, it is useful to follow the discussion that leads to this statement from Dekker:

“Safety Culture is the new Human Error”.

This latest episode is available at



Kevin Jones

Safety At Work Talks podcast launched

The popularity of Australian podcasting about workplace safety is increasing with a personable Sydney occupational health and safety (OHS) lawyer launching one this month. SafetyAtWorkBlog is also joining that growth with the Safety At Work Talks podcast this week.

SafetyAtWorkBlog originally podcasted a decade ago through iTunes.  I participated in a podcast series last year called Cabbage Salad and Safety.  Safety At Work Talks is going to be a series that complements the SafetyAtWorkBlog by providing exclusive interviews with prominent safety people and academics.

Safety At Work Talks already has a series of episodes recorded with Professor Sidney Dekker.  These will cover

The first of these episodes is Professor Sidney Dekker talking to me, Kevin Jones, about his new documentary “Safety Differently”. You can hear it below or at this link:

Safety At Work Talks will be available for listening through a number of podcast platforms, including the SafetyAtWorkBlog site:

Podbean –

SoundCloud –

Kevin Jones


Podcast tackles Safety Culture

Cabbage Salad BannerThe latest episode of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available and includes a discussion on the perennial occupational health and safety (OHS) debate over Safety Culture.

Siobhan Flores-Walsh and I discuss the role of safety culture and its influence on contemporary safety management.  The definition is fluffy and this is part of the challenge in improving a company’s safety culture.  I think the podcast episode is a useful primer on the issue to those who are just making contact with the concept and of interest to those of us who are already dealing with safety culture and people’s expectations for it.

Cabbage Salad and Safety podcasts are changing all the time and we read all the feedback and comments that listeners have emailed in. Please have a listen and email me your thoughts for future episodes or please comment below if you prefer.


Kevin Jones

Stanley’s story is powerful and unforgettable

Recently I was telling a colleague to temper their online video strategy and consider extracting the audio tracks from which a podcast strategy coud be developed. The advantage of podcasts is they can be listened to, be more portable, less distraction and, I think, can be more powerful. Earlier this week I listened to a Canadian podcast/documentary about the familial and social effects of a workplace death in the 1950s.

What can you tell me about Stanley?” is not a contrived plea for greater focus on workplace fatalities, as we often get from occupational health and safety regulators.  It is a snippet of family history, a painful and secret family history about the death of an uncle and a brother in a steel mill in the 1950s.  The  podcast looks at coronial records, company records, notes taken at the time by Stanley’s brother and shows that shame that many feel around workplace deaths now, existed then.

I listened to the podcast several days ago but I shiver now when I recall some of the pain and surprise that the family experienced.

“What Can You Tell Me About Stanley” can be listened to as a straight tale of a workplace death and the way such an incident was perceived in the 1950s.  But just as importantly, this should convince people of the power of simplicity in storytelling and social media.  The documentary obviously took months to put together and the revelations to the family are clearly not linear but this effort provides a fascinating 30 minutes for your attention.

Think of Stanley when you are applying your OHS skills.  You’ll be better for it.

Kevin Jones

Similarities between the regulation of environmental and workplace safety

In June 2011, Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) released a revised Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) policy.  There seemed to be some similarities to WorkSafe’s C&E policy, developed in 2006, so SafetyAtWorkBlog spoke this afternoon to John Merritt, who became the CEO of the EPA in early 2010 after many years as the executive director of WorkSafe Victoria.

In an exclusive podcast with SafetyAtWorkBlog Merritt, a major participant in the development of both policies, provides a useful insight into

  • Why a revised C&E policy was necessary
  • The similarities of environmental and workplace safety enforcement
  • How WorkSafe enforcement lessons can be applied to environmental protection
  • The cooperation between government agencies
  • Balancing transparency and information provision
  • EPA’s use of social media
  • Maintaining a local focus in a world of global environmental challenges

The podcast should be of interest to those professionals who need to manage the, often competing, business elements of environmental, safety and health obligations.

Kevin Jones

Interview with Kevin Jones

In a few weeks time SafetyAtWorkBlog will be reporting on the Safety in Design, Engineering and Construction conference to be held in Melbourne.  The conference organisers interviewed me on my thoughts on workplace safety.  The interview is available HERE but you may need to provide your contact details.

The odd thing about the interview is that a safety conference organiser chose me for the interview yet I am not a speaker at the conference they are organising.  IQPC is the company and the August conference in Melbourne is Safety in Design, Engineering & Construction 2011.


Construction IQ

“It’s very nice to have you here. Now, as a commentator on safety and OHS, you’d know that there’s a lot of talk surrounding the Harmonisation process. How do you think the legislation will change the OHS landscape, and do you think there are any particular areas that will translate into normal practices across all work sites?”

Kevin Jones

“No, I think it will have a particular impact on national companies, those that operate across jurisdictions, so it will be very important to them because that’s where the cost savings are meant to be coming from by reducing the administrative duplication, but that deals with only about 5% to 10% of companies in Australia.  For those companies that operate within just a single state jurisdiction, Harmonisation isn’t going to impact them overly much.  There are going to be some changes to the state legislation because the national model legislation has to be implemented at each State level, so individual States will see some changes. But those changes, by and large, are not radical in terms of how safety is managed.  It’s certainly a considerable shock for some companies – particularly on issues of union right of entry and prosecutions and those sorts of things – but if you have a look at the management of safety in a work site, I don’t think the Harmonisation process is going to change the way it is controlled and managed.”

In my experience many conferences produce a “teaser”, in audio or video, of the keynote speakers, in particular.  This is intended to generate some enthusiasm for the conference in order for people to register but it also introduces speakers with whom the audience may be unfamiliar.  As with any advertising it is difficult to quantify the benefits of such strategies but with the phone interview mentioned above, there is little cost other than 10 minutes of time, once the recording process is established, and so perhaps the return on investment is not of great significance.

Kevin Jones

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