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Why do we need safety capability

Dr Tristan Casey explains what safety capability is and how it is designed to overcome challenges in the modern workplace.

RUN TIME: 2 mins 7 secs

Speaker 1 (00:03):
Now you're probably wondering why do we need something like safety capability? Well, there's a lot of challenges in the modern workplace. There's a very fast pace of change. There's unprecedented competitive pressures. Work tasks are becoming more interconnected or tightly coupled, and there's lots of environmental turbulence and and uncertainty in the real world. This is really what the, the pandemic, COVID-19 has taught us. Further to that traditional measures like lost time injuries or lost time frequency rates are starting to lose their intrinsic value. They're very reactive. They're also very insensitive to change. So if we do something in our organisation, it might take a lot of time, uh, for that to flow through and actually affect our safety metrics. And probably most importantly, lagging indicators like LTIs don't give us information about what can we do to improve. They only signal the absence or the failure of our defenses.

Speaker 1 (00:54):
One, I guess, interesting aspect too is that they can be manipulated. Other aspects that we might turn to include safety culture or safety climate, but there are limitations with these concepts as well. So for safety culture, as you might be aware, there's a lot of academic and practitioner debate, different definitions, different measures, lots of uncertainty for people that just want to know how do I measure this thing and how do I improve it? Safety culture can also be a very expensive endeavour, because usually it's done through interviews, focus groups and what we call qualitative data collection. Safety climate, on the other hand, being more the, the mood, or the transient state or value of safety in an organisation is a little bit better because it can be quantified. We can measure it through a survey, but tends to focus just on systems and processes in the organisation. I'd like safety culture. There's many different measures to choose from and there's the whole debate about do I go with a generic or general safety climate survey, or do I go towards more of an industry specific survey? Well, safety capability was designed to overcome a lot of these issues. Luckily, there's free tools and resources to support work, health and safety and recovery and return to work. Excellent.