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Hazards or human error? A fresh look at safety in the Middle East

Human factors need to be taken into account when addressing safety. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

HSE

Larry Wilson, Author and CEO, Safestart, urges a new perspective on how we think about safety

Let me begin by asking a simple question: when you think about yourself and the people you know well (your family, friends, and colleagues) and all the serious injuries you have suffered (except the sport-related ones), were they caused “primarily” by the hazards or by critical errors occurring at the same time?

Many managers, including some safety professionals, think that safety is all about, or at least mostly about the “hazards,” things that are inherently dangerous like a flame, toxic chemical, or a rotating saw blade – something that needs to be contained, guarded, or controlled. If you have the same understanding, I would like to offer you a different perspective.

My new series Paradigm Shifts has gained a massive amount of positive international attention and has being published in over 20 magazines around the world, in more than 18 countries.

The series consists of 12 short, provocative articles designed to provide additional perspective or perhaps, to even change your mind about the way you think about safety, accidental injury causes and the role this plays in your overall production, quality, and customer relations. It addresses risk assessment, unexpected events, safety judgment and skill development, neuroscience, the complacency continuum, deliberate risk and how to handle these issues, with a focus on human factors.

So, going back to the original question of this message, when you ask people what is more important: Hazards or Human Error, you will get many different perspectives. The first article explores those perspectives and introduces a new way of thinking about hazards and hazardous energy.

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About the Author


Larry Wilson is a pioneer in the area of Human Factors in safety. He has been a safety consultant for over 25 years and has worked on-site with hundreds of companies worldwide. He is the author of SafeStart, an advanced safety and performance awareness program, successfully implemented in more than 3,500 companies, in over 60 countries, with more than 4 million people trained. He co-authored the book “Inside Out: Rethinking Traditional Safety Management Paradigms” and authored the book “Defenseless Moments: a Different Perspective on Serious Injuries.” Larry is the moderator of the SafeConnection expert panels and an active keynote speaker at health and safety conferences around the globe.

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