I had the pleasure of spending some time with Andrew Stirling last week (and listening to another inspiring presentation).

Here are some suggested videos of presentations by him:

STEPS Centre methods & methodologies (3 minutes)

Opening Up Scientific Incertitude: Some wider methodological and policy implications (43 minutes)

Third Berlin Forum of Innovation in Governance (43 minutes)

Exploring pathways to sustainability (17 minutes)

STEPS Centre - LCEDN (18 minutes)


At the Amsterdam Safety Symposium, November 2014 - finally we meet in person, not only digitally...

From left to right: Jim Loud, Cary Usrey, Nick Gardener and Carsten Busch

We're quite pleased to announce that our abstract has been accepted for the NVVK Congres 2015, which of course is THE major happening for Safety Professionals in The Netherlands next year.

The title of the speech will be "Zoek het zelf uit? Was dat maar waar! - Over Bijgeloof, onkunde en domeinblindheid bij veiligheidskundigen - en wat je eraan kunt doen". It's of course a play on word on the Congres' motto.

A full paper is under preparation as we speak. Please find a translation of the abstract below:


Find it out by yourself? If only!

About Myths, Lack of Knowledge and Domain Blindness among Safety Professionals - and what to do about it.


Among others in practical working situations, during professional discussions (be it online or “live”) and during workshops/symposiums one regularly sees a significant lack of up to date professional knowledge/skill among safety professionals. Things get really special when safety professionals keep maintaining certain “established truths” that can’t even stand a cursory critical test. Also is there a reluctance to take up a critical attitude with regard to certain established truths and practices, to develop oneself, to follow up on relevant literature or to look across borders. This while most professionals by now should have understood that “Get a diploma. Done.” isn’t how things work anymore. And yet one often finds this kind of attitude. Apparently many safety professionals don’t find things out by themselves after all.

A number of examples of professional myths, lack of knowledge and blindness will be presented. After that a number of hypotheses why things are as they are will be discussed. For example:

  • there is too much working on hearsay instead of that safety professionals have knowledge of relevant literature themselves;
  • professional issues are dumbed down into slogans;
  • one is afraid of the unknown, or one doesn’t see the relevance of the unknown; 
  • there are other interests at stake which are in the way of further development.

Finally a number of practical solutions will be presented. Regulators and professional organizations like NVVK can have a contribution, but for the greater part this is a personal responsibility that everyone has to actively work with. Important steps to take are a critical and open mind, finding an inspiring and (in more than one way) varied professional environment, actively participating in professional discussions, keeping up their professional literature and not being afraid to look further than the obvious. Having fun, enjoying your job and humor can also be important stimulants.



My colleague Kjetil Gjønnes and yours truly were this week awarded the prize for best presentation at the International Rail Safety Council 2014.


Of course we wouldn't have made it without support and feedback from our co-author Mona Tveraaen. So kudos to her too! Lots of them in fact.

The presentation and paper are about Jernbaneverket's practical implementation of the Common Safety Method on Risk Assessment connetcetd to the EU safety directive for rail traffic. A summary can be found through the publications choice in the menu. Will upload the full paper soon, but the paper may be mainly of interest for railway professionals. Even though the general approach can very well applied in other sectors too!

Eurocontrol has released a white paper that looks most interesting. It's titled "Systems Thinking for Safety: Ten Principles

A White Paper - Moving towards Safety-II" and can be downloaded here.