1st Edition

Safety Insights Success and Failure Stories of Practitioners

Edited By Nektarios Karanikas, Maria Chatzimichailidou Copyright 2021
    224 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    224 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    Public safety, as well as the safety of products and services, is of paramount importance and interest to individuals, organisations and society. Safety successes are achieved every second, but we take them for granted and we do not appreciate the challenges professionals meet to make the world as safe as possible. Safety failures are less frequent but become focal points of stakeholders and the public with a tendency to blame and not comprehend the context and the hard decisions professionals have to make when balancing safety with competing goals.

    This edited book includes case studies from industry practitioners exactly as they experience them without relying on the understanding of researchers who conduct studies and try to map the overall situation per case based on multiple interviews, observations and questionnaires. Included are case studies from the aviation, construction, oil and gas, telecommunications, transportation, health and public safety industries. They are stories told by frontline practitioners who work to keep the public safe.

    In each chapter, the author, based on his/her professional experience, shares two real cases, one "success" and one "failure", explaining the background and approach, and critically reflecting why his/her initiatives and activities worked or didn’t work. They are descriptive of the case, context and tools, techniques, methods and approaches followed and include the valuable safety lesson learned. This book is a forum for professionals to express and share with others their knowledge and experience usually found implicitly or hidden under formal and informal practices.




    1 System Knowledge: Most of the Times Adequate but Sometimes Insufficient


    2 Safety Interventions: How Can We Make Them Worth the Effort?


    3 Only a Few Seconds to Change the Course of an Event


    4 How Could the Use of Technology Support Safety Management Programmes?


    5 How to Eat an Elephant: Implementing Organisational Culture Change


    6 Is Safety Part of Your Business Model? Turning a ‘Simple-to-Fix’ Safety Incident into an Opportunity for Everyone


    7 The Development of Mental Health Proxy Teams and a Relationship That Threatened the Quality of a Safety Investigation


    8 Passenger Experience and Safety Systems


    9 Safety Numbers and Safety Differently


    10 Infrastructure Projects as Complex Socio-Technical Systems


    11 The Two Sides of the Same Coin


    12 Learning from Incidents: Mind the Whole Set of Dimensions


    13 Necessary Incompliance and Safety-Threatening Collegiality


    14 Are the Stakeholders on Your Side or Not?


    15 Making Safety a Priority


    16 The Practical Value of Ensuring Effective Interfaces and Workforce Engagement


    17 Just When You Thought You’d Done Enough




    Nektarios Karanikas is Associate Professor of Health, Safety and Environment at the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology. He was awarded his doctorate in Safety and Quality Management from Middlesex University (UK) and his MSc in Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aeronautics from Cranfield University (UK). He graduated from the Hellenic Air Force Academy (DR) as an aeronautical engineer and worked as an officer in the Hellenic Air Force for more than 18 years before he resigned at the rank of Lt. Colonel in 2014. Whilst in the Air Force, A/Prof Karanikas served in various positions related to maintenance and quality management and accident prevention and investigations, and engineering, human factors and project management professional qualifications and has been an active member of various prestigious international and regional associations such as the Flight Safety Foundation, International Society of Aircraft Investigators, European Association for Aviation Psychology, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (Europe Chapter) and Project Management Institute. Dr. Karanikas has published numerous academic journal articles, including papers in top-tier safety journals such as Safety Science and Risk Analysis, peer-reviewed conference papers and book chapters and has been invited to speak at several international and regional summits and workshops. He is a member of editorial boards and a regular reviewer of safety and human factors-related journals, and he volunteers in various activities of professional bodies. During his previous appointment at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, he led a 4-year co-funded project about Aviation Safety Metrics, as well as smaller contract research projects. His collaborative track record with industry is founded firmly in his earlier career as an aeronautical engineer, as his knowledge in occupational and operational safety management. Nektarios willingness to continue adding value to the industry led to his initiative to launch in 2016 the International Cross-industry Safety Conference and the development and delivery of professional development courses in the area of Safety and Risk Management and Safety Investigations.

    Mikela Chatzimichailidou is a Systems Assurance Engineer at WSP (UK) and a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University (UK) and Imperial College London (UK). She was awarded her PhD in Complex Systems Safety and Human Factors, as well as her MSc in Systems Engineering Management from Democritus University of Thrace (GR) where she also did her Meng as a Mechanical Engineer. As a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge she worked on Patient Safety for a Year. During her three years at Imperial College London, Department of Civil Engineering, she led versatile projects ranging from systems safety and human factors to complexity management and systems engineering in transportation and infrastructure. Dr. Chatzimichailidou has published a book on Project and Risk Management, a best practice report with Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network (UK), 20 peer reviewed papers to international journals and over 40 conference papers. She is a reviewer in numerous international journals, such as Accident Analysis & Prevention, Safety Service and Risk Analysis etc., and conferences. Dr. Mikela Chatzimichailidou as a consulting engineer has been bringing together experience and expertise from across healthcare, aviation, rail and infrastructure in the fields of system engineering, product engineering, system and safety assurance and project management. She has been leading research and consulting assignments for more than a decade both in academia for some of the world’s top universities, and in industry, for a world class design and built environment consultancy. During her career she has worked in both hands-on R&D roles, consultancy and design roles and as a project manager, leading others to deliver client objectives and cutting-edge academic research. Her offering is that she brings experience of both the academic and industrial worlds, is able to bridge the gap and draw the best from each.

    "This book contains a collection of engaging, real-world stories from experienced safety practitioners. The events are described with breath-taking honesty giving the reader a true insight into the events and situations described, their causes and mitigations. Insights of this kind are rare to find. Anyone with a professional interest in safety will find this volume an absorbing and enlightening read."

    Prof. Don Harris, Human Systems Integration Group, Coventry University, United Kingdom

    "Safety Insights: Success and Failure Stories of Practitioners is an excellent platform to share narratives from real-world experiences. Different sectors, professionals and academics with practical safety experience make up a unique offer to the reader. Real-life cases are used to illustrate various principles of safety. I firmly believe that this work will be a reference point for the reader, be it a professional or an academic. Nektarios Karanikas and his team of contributors have done an excellent book to provide a reference point for the constantly changing, dynamic safety environment."

    Prof. George Boustras, European University Cyprus & Editor-in-Chief, Safety Science

    "I have worked with safety and reliability practitioners for twenty-five years and as a narrative psychologist my expertise is in the value of stories and how they contribute to knowledge. This book shares not only knowledge, but also experience in story shapes that will resonate with the industry."

    Dr. Jacqueline Ward, Chief Executive, Safety & Reliability Society, United Kingdom

    "It is said that ‘good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgement’ – this book provides a wide range of anecdotal examples of both good and poor judgement in the practice of safety management across various regions and sectors. Safety Insights: Success and Failure Stories of Practitioners brings together years’ of expert experience, sharing secrets to success, and perhaps more importantly allowing the reader to understand what can (and has) gone wrong in the practical application of safety. By reading this book, you will gain that good judgement and experience by learning from the poor judgement of others, and not having to go through the pain yourself!"

    Ross Dunsford, Team Leader Systems Assurance, Systems Engineering & Assurance, WSP, United Kingdom

    "This book is a part of the transition that is going on in safety thinking. It dismisses old school standard phrasing about human error, normative behaviour and exclusive managerial control. It crosses borders by adhering to an integral safety concept and multi-actor perspective. Rather than a judgemental perspective on outcomes, it focuses on observing primary processes and operational behaviour. Hopefully this book is the first of a series on books with a disruptive view on safety."

    Prof. John Stoop, Kindunos Safety Consultancy, Netherlands

    "Safety Insights: Success and Failure Stories of Practitioners’ is a must-read primer for anyone considering safety as a priority and has an ulterior motive for wanting to read about first-hand knowledge from the safety frontier. I strongly recommend this inventiveness because there is no other book on the market that captures this attempt for sharing the experiences of safety practitioners who have worked across several industry domains, such as Aviation, Rail, Defence, Construction and Occupational Safety. Indeed, it is the first book of its kind that reads like the emotional journey of eighteen authors who are truthful and passionate about safety."

    Dr. Ilias Panagopoulos, Senior Trainer, Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organization, Netherlands

    "Safety Insights bridges the gap between theory and practice. Here, practitioners tell us about their very personal experiences with various safety management aspects; their frustrations, their challenges, but also their achievements. As can be seen from their insightful accounts, what is straightforward and black-and-white in theory is much more complex in practice. Safety Insights is highly recommended for anyone interested in learning more about the real-life organizational facets of safety."

    Nicolaus Dmoch, Safety Investigation Manager & Citation Latitude Pilot, NetJets Europe, Portugal

    "The book includes enjoyable and relevant chapters with learnings of practitioners, including their challenges and what has worked well for them. Although Health & Safety (H&S) practitioners are often a bit negative towards other H&S approaches, the stories shared in the book describe each approach reasonably, and the readers should be able to relate and find useful takeaways to apply in their roles. Regardless of how much interesting each chapter will seem to the reader, the stories highlight various issues faced by organisations and H&S staff and have the potential to create great debates."

    Adam Williams, Executive Director Health, Safety & Environment, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

    "This book is a vital addition to the rapidly evolving body of health and safety knowledge as it considers 'safety-as-done' - its challenges, dissonances and opportunities in the field, from the eyes and in the voices of safety practitioners themselves. The cross sectoral narrative is novel in that it provides an insight into how professional colleagues are navigating a complex space as it moves from a command and control paradigm to a more adaptive space. Highly recommended for practitioners, researchers and students alike."

    Dr. Satyan Chari, Senior Faculty, Healthcare Improvement Fellowship Program, Clinical Excellence Queensland, Australia