The past weeks have been spent studying Erik Hollnagel’s new book, “Safety-I and Safety-II: The Past and Future of Safety”. It will take a couple of months before a review is posted on this site, but let’s provide some literature anyway.

An earlier paper on the subject by Hollnagel is A Tale Of Two Safeties

An excellent intruduction to the subject is: From Safety-I to Safety-II: A White Paper

And while you’re at it, get also this one: Systems Thinking for Safety: Ten Principles. A White Paper (Moving towards Safety-II)

Steven Shorrock has done a great blog about the subject.

Another fine article is done by David van Valkenburg and has been published by Drilling Contractor. Looks like a good summary of some of the material.

Finally, none less than Sidney Dekker has a book review on Safety I & II found at the following link

Been invited to do a slightly philosophical presentation about risk assessment and risk perception at nest Tuesday's Human Factors Mastermind Seminar of the Psykologiforbundet. That's going to be a lot of fun. Looking forward to hear Bjarte K. Røed too!

Update: it was great, indeed. Uploaded my presentation to SlideShare. A little philosophical talk about various sides of risk (and is it actually risk, or something else...)


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.