The Safety Anarchist: Relying on human expertise and innovation, reducing bureaucracy and compliance (Paperback) book cover

The Safety Anarchist

Relying on human expertise and innovation, reducing bureaucracy and compliance

By Sidney Dekker

© 2018 – Routledge

220 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138300460
pub: 2017-10-25
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Description

Work has never been as safe as it seems today. Safety has also never been as bureaucratized as it is today. Over the past two decades, the number of safety rules and statutes has exploded, and organizations themselves are creating ever more internal compliance requirements. Bureaucracy and compliance now seem less about managing the safety of workers, and more about managing the liability of the people they work for. At the same time, progress on safety has slowed. Many incident- and injury rates have flatlined. Worse, excellent safety performance on low-consequence events tends to increase the risk of fatalities and disasters. We make workers do a lot that does nothing to improve their success locally. And paradoxically, the tightening of safety bureaucracy robs us of exactly the source of human insight, creativity and resilience that can tell us how success is actually created, and where the next accident may well come from.

It is time for Safety Anarchists: people who trust people more than process, who rely on horizontally coordinating experiences and innovations, who push back against petty rules and coercive compliance, and who help recover the dignity and expertise of human work.

Reviews

'Having been a safety professional for 28 years I am absolutely appalled at this man’s attitude towards the safety profession. My work colleagues and I could not believe it when he referred to health and safety professionals as ‘Safety Nazi’s’ and HR as ‘Human Remains’. Does this man honestly believe that 250 years after the industrial revolution safety professionals have made little or no difference to reducing the risk of injury in workplaces…what a disgrace!! And then he goes on to say that if a worker gets killed at work he must have been a good worker, is he serious? I was absolutely gobsmacked at his comment. What a waste of money. Let’s hope he never returns to our State.'

'Best work on health and safety I have ever seen. Thoroughly researched, real-life examples and common sense. Dekker avoids all the usual garbage and bureaucratese that is so counterproductive to safety, and which completely bedevils the safety profession and regulators.' — Audience responses to Safety Anarchist lecture, 2016

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

Chapter 1: A Case for Change

Chapter 2: We know what’s best for you

Chapter 3: Authoritarian High Modernism

Chapter 4: The safety bureaucracy

Chapter 5: What gets measured, gets manipulated

Chapter 6: The infantilization of us

Chapter 7: A new religion

Chapter 8: A non-deterministic world

Chapter 9: Anarchy versus anarchism

Chapter 10: Ways out

References

Index

About the Author

Sidney Dekker (PhD, The Ohio State University, 1996) is currently Professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he runs the Safety Science Innovation Lab. More at sidneydekker.com

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY008000
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
TEC017000
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety