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Notes from the Safety Conference 14th April 2016

Thank you to everyone who visited my stand in the Safety Conference in Esbjerg last week. Read below to see notes from talks at my stand about “PROACTIVE INCIDENT INVESTIGATION®” and to see what notes and inspiration I took away from the conference speakers.

Notes from my stand:

  • Many wanted to hear more about the 5 principles of “PROACTIVE INCIDENT INVESTIGATION®” and even more took away the handout with the 5 principles in an A5-fit-to-a-whiteboard-quality-and-format (send me an email if you would like me to send you a handful of them)
  • Some found it a bit provocative to combine PROACTIVE and INCIDENT INVESTIGATION, disturbing the idea of incident investigation as a reactive tool. For others it was a very natural combination – as one said: “Of course it is proactive! – since the whole idea of doing an investigation is to learn and improve future operations!”
  • Incident investigation is traditionally seen as a reactive tool. But I want to challenge this. Over the last 5 years I have delevoped a process and working principles which turn incident investigation into a PROACTIVE safety tool: We use the invesitgation process in itself to (1) show what a proactive culture looks like, sounds like and feels like; and (2) do live safety training and have basic and critical safety talks with operators and managers during interviews, peer reviews and in the handover meeting.

Notes & inspiration from the conference speakers:

  • The 4 country managers (Maersk Oil, Hess Denmark, DONG Oil & Gas and Wintershall) left me with 2 impressions: As managers we can make a difference by focusing on (1) Team compositions to minimise biases. We need different types in the teams to allow different views and variation in the way of solving the tasks ; and (2) Minimising distractions for the operators, e.g. too many/too frequent/irrelevant campaigns, posters, changes, etc.
  • David Marquet, the former submarine commander in the U.S. Navy – he shared his journey from a ‘Know-all-Tell-all’- to a ‘Know-all-Tell-nothing’- Manager, because he was thrown into a situation where he was forced to change his leadership style. Really inspiring, with many examples of how assumptions and wrong leadership can lead to unwanted events. And his term ‘Practice deliberate action’ reminded me that if everyone works together it is possible to achieve what at first seems in-achievable
  • Todd Conklin’s expression ‘Safety is not the absence of Accidents. Safety is the presence of capacity” fed my hunger to use incident investigation even more PROACTIVE: Use the same process and principles to analyse work that went well. The biggest challenge I see in this is that managers’ attention is still easier to get when things went really wrong than when they went really well…
  • And then Jop Groeneweg, whom I always find inspiring and have had the pleasure of working with several times now ! Jop left me with 2 clear messages: (1) It is all very well with all the talk, but unless you do something about it, it doesn’t matter at all – and unless managers start acting as role models no-one will change: They change if you change! So next time you are scheduled for a management visit, safety walk, etc., then just do it! And (2) It is all very well with all the risk assessments, tool box talks, but the end user (the operators) are missing a cross-industry approved mandate to stop their job, i.e. a cross-companies approved set of rules like Shell’s life saving rules

Lisbeth Holberg ApS | | Phone: +45 6088 4822 | Agnetevej 32 | 8680 Ry | Denmark