Abby Normal Safety

by Karl Cameron on July 22, 2014

in Psychology of Safety and Risk



Abby Normal Safety

Guest post by Karl Cameron

imageWhat can I say, when it comes to knowledge – I am a whore. I will accept, accumulate and store knowledge from anywhere at any time and I frequently leave the filtering and testing of validity, authenticity, sufficiency and relevance, to another (much later) time. For me, the acquisition of useful information is scientific research in its most base form – the charging up blind allies to determine what is there.

As a safety professional, this desire has seen me stumble though a wide range of related and unrelated qualifications, training, tickets, work and life experiences, from which I transfer skills and information as required. Like most of you, at times, I dredge various Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice, Standards, Guides and articles by respected (at times highly opinionated) colleges. But true research requires one to step out of the accepted comfort zone, away from the well-trodden gilded path of public acceptance and (even if briefly) into the zone of heretics, fools and the droll. There is much to be gained by taking such an approach to matters of WHS. Look outside the box you are in.

My continual search for knowledge has taken me along both the above mentioned ‘normal’ and the “abby normal” (from “Young Frankenstein”) through classics and classifieds, comic books and novels of fiction. Most recently, reading Steve Sohmers ‘Patriots’ where I came across his most delightful description of soviet military mind set for the analysis of suspected ‘threats’:

· Identify

· Clarify

· Define

· Examine hypotheses

· Probe for options

· Then Report

· Await instructions

If one were to replace the word ‘threat’ with a more Safety orientated word, then to my way of thinking, this is in reality, the nuts and bolts of ” Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment 101” with a borderline hint of Haddens 10 countermeasures (but then, I think everything can fit Haddens 10).

Now I fully realise there will be those among you with well-used soap boxes, just waiting to leap up to say “it does not apply to every situation”. It is not intended to. This is a generalisation. It is not offered as a cure to the worlds Safety issues – just as a tool to help even just one of you – view things from a slightly different perspective, take up the challenge (be ‘Abby normal’), open your eyes to the vast resources around you and make a difference.

Karl Cameron

Karl Cameron

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