Work has never been as safe as it seems today. Safety has also never been as bureaucratized as it is today. Over the past two decades, the number of safety rules and statutes has exploded, and organizations themselves are creating ever more internal compliance requirements. Bureaucracy and compliance now seem less about managing the safety of workers, and more about managing the liability of the people they work for.
At the same time, progress on safety has slowed. Many incident and injury rates have flatlined. Worse, excellent safety performance on low-consequence events tends to increase the risk of fatalities and disasters. We make workers do a lot that does nothing to improve their success locally. And paradoxically, the tightening of safety bureaucracy robs us of exactly the source of human insight, creativity and resilience that can tell us how success is actually created, and where the next accident may well come from.
It is time for Safety Anarchists: people who trust people more than process, who rely on horizontally coordinating experiences and innovations, who push back against petty rules and coercive compliance, and who help recover the dignity and expertise of human work.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is a really beautifully written book demonstrating how we need to change how we manage safety in our organisations. Relevant examples are given, and it will be hard for any safety professional out there not to take on board some of Sidney's valuable insights. He shows safety up for what it has become, an overly controlling and bureaucratic function, that is detracting rather than adding value to businesses in many cases. What is great is that Sidney doesn't just show us where we are failing, he guides us in the direction of good principles, bringing us back to why health and safety came about in the first place - to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of people within our organisations. Absolutely brilliant...
Have you listened to any of Sidney Dekker’s other performances? How does this one compare?
I am a big fan of Sidney Dekker's, and have many hard copies of his books. To have the audio versions is brilliant, especially when Sidney was the narrator.