Yet Another BBS Company Blames Humans! No Kidding!

“The BST study (in which Exxon, Potash Corp, Shell, BHP, Billington, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Maersk participated) offers reasoned logic for a new paradigm of injury prevention and interventions.” Wayne Pardy

I met and worked with Dan Petersen in 1984…he had a very particular view of traditional safety management assumptions and conclusion reached based on very bad science. I saw him in the Royal York hotel in Toronto tell a room full of Ontario “5 Star audit affected” safety folks that there was NO scientific correlation with passing a safety audit and getting safety results. I thought I was going to have to do CPR are several of the audience members. They were all filled with “opinion” with absolutely NO real data.

The problem continues.  Having Behaviour Based Safety companies to do research on their own clients is like asking McD cooks who makes the best hamburgers. What do you think they are going to say? Once you’ve had a drink from the BBS kool-aid you start believing the BBS mantra…”Human’s cause incidents”. Of course they do, but name 10 incidents that you can discuss in detail that “didn’t” have an unsafe condition attached…well according to the “data” (all opinion based by the way) 9.6 of them we can only blame on humans….poppycock I say! Dan just rolled over a bit. I really miss him!


2 comments on “Yet Another BBS Company Blames Humans! No Kidding!

  1. Joseph Slavin, CRSP says:

    It is interesting that Dan Petersen told us over 40 years ago that the cause of the most serious incidents is not necessarily the same as the cause of the most frequent (reference Techniques of Safety Management, first edition, circa 1971, page 20). He illustrates this point in his second principle; ‘Certain sets of circumstances can be predicted to produce severe injuries’ and provides a few examples (e.g. unusual and non-routine work, sources of high energy). The point was clear 40 years ago; preventing serious incidents is different than preventing the most prominent ones.

    The BST whitepaper suggests a “paradigm shift” in thinking is occurring in the understanding of the true source of serious injuries and fatalities (SIF’s). I believe that most educated safety practitioners learned this a long time ago. The fact that the BST research study found these problems in existence at ExxonMobil, Shell and Potash Corp (to name a few) points to a bigger problem. We safety professionals have a serious credibility problem with senior leaders. We know better, but we are ineffective in helping our organizations do better. The executive does not listen to us! That is what we need to think long and hard upon. Are we right? And if we are, why are they not listening?

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