Everything we see, smell, hear, feel and taste leads our brains to think equal to everything familiar in our reality
Neuroscience theory tells us that our brains are organised to reflect everything we know in our environment, in the form of knowledge and experience. Our brains are equal to our past environment, a record of what we've done on a day-to-day basis. We think and feel automatically in familiar ways derived from past experiences.
Our internal thoughts and feelings exactly match or external habits and every day we adopt the same processes and tasks and produce the same results
We continue to remain cast in our past experiences by following the same old rituals mostly comprised of automatic behaviours
We wake up on the same side of the bed, take a shower and get dressed the same way each day. We tend to eat the same breakfast, drive to work using the same route and adopt the same procedures that we believe have served us well over the last 40 years
Our objective safety world has become coloured by the perceptions of our subjective minds to create our reality that conforms to bureaucracy. We have indoctrinated people to form habits enslaved by our day-to-day procedures (risk assessments, JSA's, HAZOPS etc)
Why then do we expect our safety performance to improve, when we think and act in the same manner?
Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, have we created a loop that has stifled innovation and led us into mediocrity?
Do our current Newtonian Safety Systems that try and predict cause and effect by second guessing the likelihood and severity of risk based on past experiences work and do they accurately represent and calculate risk in our workplaces?
And, while we continue to adopt these methods our routines, will our thoughts and feelings perpetuate the same outcomes like a hamster on a wheel beating the same path?
By adopting the same old stuff day after day, it's no wonder are KPI's have plateaued
As safety professional's perhaps our biggest hurdle to overcome is that we always want to control a future event by trying to re-create how it occurred in the past. We focus all our efforts on objective risks rather than behavioural acts. We keep all our attention on 0.00001 % of reality that is physical when in fact 99.99999 % of matter is potential
If you look closely at the new ISO 450001, all we've created is a regurgitation of the old ISO 18001, with just a series of high level objectives minus any context or new systems!
In addition, safety indicators also focus on past performance which are measured based on a percentage this against past records. Lead indicators perhaps should take an account of new innovations that raise the bar above and beyond the status quo and have a knock-on effect on lag indicators (KPI's)
To improve perhaps we need to make our thoughts and feelings coherent in-line with a fresh perspective. We need to try something new and focus our aspirations beyond compliance through passionate emotional engagement and inquiry
We need to get the workers actively engaged with safety rather than pushing new procedures and ideas at them without any involvement
To improve perhaps we need to fundamentally change the way we think act a feel about health and safety. To move from a Newtonian Safety to Quantum Safety Performance?
"We need to boldly go where no safety man has gone before"