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We’re all busy people with many different demands on our time and resources, there really is never enough time in the day to get everything done and ensure that all of those things are done well. So what happens when something goes wrong and you’re put on the spot to investigate the incident. All that time you’re going to burn ensuring that you have enough people with the correct expertise to assist you. All that time that is going to be used up going out and gathering the available evidence, all those site visits, document searches and witness interviews. All that time following evidence trails and making sense of it all. You may be tempted to just do the easy thing;

Who was involved? Did they break any rules or work outside of the agreed procedure? Write up your report and put it down to Human Failure, “oh” and make sure that disciplinary action ensues. Job done, less work, less stress and more time to get on with the important stuff.

Have you improved anything?

Is the likelihood of reoccurrence high?

Are people more likely to report incidents in the future?

Have you reinforced people’s perception of a blame culture?

Have you had a positive impact on the safety culture of your organisation?

Do you feel good about yourself?

The more that investigators recognise the impact they as individuals have on other people’s perception of the Safety Culture, more time, effort and care are taken in actually carrying out high quality investigations which do have a positive impact on people’s perceptions.

Please do the right thing and do it well.

Article written by John Dillon