The principles that make up the good implementation of Safety 2

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The academic thinking around health and safety is constantly evolving with recent ideas moving away from the rules and procedures for keeping people safe and moving towards more of a human-centred approach. Safety 2 is a school of thought in health and safety that has emerged recently that has attracted a lot of support and also some critique. Here are the fundamental principles behind Safety 2 and how you can start to implement it in your business.

Changeable human performance is crucial to good safety practices

One of the main principles behind safety differently focuses on the importance of workers in the organisation and how they can change the way they perform their work so that it is done in a safe and efficient manner. Safety 1, the traditional view of safety, focused on processes and did not factor in the complexity with which work can be done and the variation of working styles between employees. As working systems become more complex, the changes and improvements individuals make to their own human performance becomes increasingly important.

Things that go wrong and go right happen in the same way

Safety 2 introduces a different perspective on failures within an organization. Safety 1 asserts that for a failure to occur, there must have been a non-compliance error. However, Safety 2 shifts the focus when something goes wrong. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong in the past, Safety 2 looks at how the failure in the past was managed successfully and how those successful strategies can be applied in the future. In this light, businesses often work to enhance their safety protocols and establish routine testing time schedules. These measures help them understand the best practices that have kept them safe from accidents. By concentrating on what went right, this approach reinforces a positive outlook on the situation. It allows organizations to figure out how to prevent similar failures from happening in the future, building on past successes.

Failure of safety in any business is something that cannot be overlooked, however, there are businesses that have higher risks of working than others. For example, those that work in industrial settings, warehouses, and places that hold chemicals can be subjected to harsher conditions if their safety is not taken into account at all times. Businesses that are lax with their OSHA practices and do not put that much care into their workers’ health are opening themselves up to issues down the line such as lawsuits.

If we look at jobs that are within the nuclear sector, this can be quite dangerous and it has been shown that over time, exposure to nuclear chemicals has produced cancer in some workers, and their families, from the radiation. Previous workers can file a claim and The most common forms of leukemia covered by EEOICPA are listed on their website for people to research and see if they have a case. Health and safety is not what it used to be, it is stronger and more hands-on, which is why, implementing these practices will save businesses in the future, and provide workers with a safe place to work.

Some of the key approaches to traditional safety processes from a Safety 2 perspective

Accident Investigation: Essentially, things happen in the same way regardless of the negative or positive outcome. The accident investigation is then used to examine what normally goes right to try and explain how it be put right in the future.

Risk Assessment: In Safety 2 these are used to try and evaluate the different conditions in which performance variability can become difficult to monitor and control.

Human factors: Humans are seen as a resource for process resilience and flexibility, humans can help put forward flexible solutions to problems.

Find out more about safety 2

A complex new concept like safety 2 takes a lot of study to fully understand in an in-depth enough way to successfully implement within an organisation. Make sure those responsible for health and safety in your organisation are familiar with the key principles behind Safety 2 before attempting to implement it.