Safety Differently: Wrong is Right

Safety Differently: Wrong is Right

In banking, education, IT, construction, town planning, finance and just about every domain of human endeavour, increased productivity, innovation and progress come about through trial and error. The world of safety is no exception. What goes with trial (experimentation), is error (getting things wrong). And only by getting things wrong do we get things right. We need uncertainty to learn and therefore we need risk. The learning comes from making decisions and paying attention to how those decisions play out. Businesses generally insist on decision making to happen corporately, not locally.

Our presentation suggests that despite mankind’s somewhat hapless yet enduring confidence in being right, what we do today inevitably proves to be ill-informed tomorrow. If there is to be a new paradigm shift in Safety, it must surely be to a world where getting things wrong, is valued as much as getting things right. A world where experimentation is the norm. A world where locally based situational assessments determine the parameters of behaviour. A world where people’s capacity to manage critical risks in increased. A world where we allow autonomy and decision-making at times of greatest risk. We argue the case for a Safety Sandbox protocol in all projects to allow this world to emerge.