November 10 2019
By: Terry L. Mathis
Philosophy has been called "the study of the obvious." This leads me to believe that some safety leaders are actually safety philosophers. As I have read the proponents of HPI and HOP and the detectives chasing the culprits of SIFs, the only thing I find to disagree with is the use of the word "new." Have we really just discovered that worker behavior is heavily influenced by other factors than worker decisions? I thought Deming said decades ago that if you took a worker out of one environment and put him into another he would behave differently. He also admonished us to set a goal of zero so we would not develop a tolerance for anything less. Is the idea of recovery from an event new? I thought PPE was developed exactly for that purpose and has been on the bottom of the hierarchy of controls for decades.
After being a proponent of almost everything in safety labeled "new" for several decades now, I feel that what has changed is less what we have discovered and more what has become popular.
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.