The Unscientific Part of Safety Science

March 22 2021
By: Terry L. Mathis

Scientists have traditionally tried to isolate whatever they are studying to make sure they don't have outside issues interfering with their studies. The problem is the thing they are studying does not always operate in a vacuum untouched by other issues.

The Unscientific Part of Safety Science In safety, we have tried to study worker behaviors in a vacuum and workplace influences in a vacuum. Finally, I am seeing articles on more "integrated" approaches combining both. Me, being the un-scientist I am, never separated them in the first place. As soon as I started to study how worker behaviors impacted accidental injuries, I realized that many of these behaviors were influenced or even dictated by environmental or cultural issues. The two areas are hopelessly interconnected and should be studied and managed as a two-dimensional process, not two one-dimensional processes.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.