(originally posted 01-02-17, re-uploaded 21-10-20)


1. At the penultimate paragraph on page. 20., the article says Laing O’Rourke is moving away from “the notion that minor accidents are the predictors of major ones”.

a). Please define the term “minor accident”.
b). What is the source of the above “notion”?
c). Can minor accidents predict major ones?

2. At paragraph two page. 21., the article cites UCATT as saying Laing O’Rourke’s “new focus on severe and fatal risks” is the result of a “philosophical journey” the company is on and will “take it away from workers interests”.

a). How will the “new focus” be detrimental to “workers”?
b). Why is the initiative referred to as a “journey”?
c). Regarding the word “philosophical”, what philosophy underlies this journey?

3. On page 21. (under ‘Change orders’), we see how three fatalities on the company’s sites in November 2013 and July and October 2014 are behind its journey.

John Green (Laing O’Rourke’ H&S Director) says the sites showed “no early warning signs of a lax safety culture” nor did they “send up the early warning flags that ‘Heinrich’s triangle’ would suggest”. The article also says “the new gospel has its own vocabulary” and Green then refers to the “new safety paradigm”.

a). Why did Heinrich produce his triangle?
b). Does the triangle suggest any such early warning capability?
c). According to John Green, what is the “new safety paradigm”?

4. At paragraph four, page. 22., it says safety differently wants “to move beyond the sector’s default setting of linear thinking and analysis of cause and effect”.

a). Does the sector have such default settings?
b). What alternative way of “thinking” about cause and effect is John Green and safety differently advocating?

5. The article incorporates a piece on Dekker’s book, ‘Safety Differently’. It says “a wave of world class thinkers at the cutting edge of human factors research…are leading in new directions our thinking about why people behave as they do” (psychologists Hollnagel, Reason and Dekker are named). It then says, “At the same time, they are challenging many of the safety profession’s most fundamental articles of faith, such as the “Domino” theory of accident causation and the “Heinrich triangle” model of accident numbers and severity”.

a). What is currently accepted as regards “why people behave as they do” at work?
b). What is wrong with the contemporary view identified at a). above?
c). What “new thinking” on human behaviour is being advocated and why?
d). What is the basis for the cited Professor’s beliefs that Heinrich’s Dominos and triangles are amongst the safety profession’s most fundamental articles of faith?

6. On a related part of the HSW web site, a Professor of Construction Management says he too (i.e. as well as Dekker) utilises the Deepwater Horizon disaster “to highlight the errors in Heinrich/Bird triangles”. He continues, “Senior managers were on the oil platform assessing issues such as PPE and safe “behaviours”, the base of the triangle, giving them a clean bill of health. A few hours later there was a catastrophic explosion, a top of the triangle event, with the two being unrelated”.

Note: This is the 4th reference to Heinrich’s triangle and (including a reference in the piece on Dekker’s book) the second Professor to reference Deepwater Horizon.

a). What errors exist in the triangles produced by Heinrich and Bird?
b). Why are Professors in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century referencing matters put forward in 1929 as relevant to the Deepwater Horizon disaster?


That concludes my interim questions for Safety Differently.


Alan Dell MBE Hon FIIAI
IIAI Executive Committee Chairman


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