♦♦♦    Oscar’s Defence    ♦♦♦

for Safety Incidents / Accidents

 

Leaving the question of the extent of Oscar’s guilt and the consequent sentencing aside – that’s Judge Masipa’s job – one cannot ignore that this case is a classic example of not taking responsibility and of making excuses and assumptions.

This “disease” is too often mirrored in people’s behaviour when it comes to safety. We find people giving excuses instead of acknowledging their role in mishaps, which would help us to find the root cause of incidents or near hits (not misses!).

Excuses often given include:

  • I did not know / think / ask / hear / see . . .
  • I assumed . . .
  • I didn’t do it on purpose.
  • I can’t remember
  • Before I could think, I had . . .
graphic with words I'm Responsible

Accidents don’t just “happen”. They are the direct result of someone choosing to do the wrong thing or to not do the right thing. This includes thinking of the consequences of one’s actions before taking action!

Why do people make excuses rather than owning up? In some companies, it is because there is a culture of intimidation and / or people fear being penalised.

Incident reporting is mandated, but companies also want to know about near hits – this information is critical as an aid to finding and fixing root causes permanently, so that similar incidents don’t happen again.

To encourage disclosure and ownership, one needs to promote a safety culture of focussing on the incident and not making somebody pay for what happened. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this principle, as in a situation of deliberate sabotage, pure negligence, tampering with safety devices and equipment or blatant contravention of safety procedures.

ACTION

  1. Review your policies and procedures, so that there will be no penalty when reporting or owning up to a genuine mistake.
  2. Contact me for a Simply Smart Safety™ Power Survey to help you understand what the current safety culture looks like in your company.

FEEDBACK

Your feedback and comments are always welcome! Drop me a line!

Copyright: Jürgen Tietz
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