Just published from the ICSC 2018 conference:

Brave New World: Can Positive Developments in Safety Science and Practice also have Negative Sides?


The last few decades have brought advances and positive developments in safety. Traditional approaches to prevent accidents are supplemented and enhanced with approaches that stress positive instead of negatives, that humanize, that are more systemic, that appreciate complexity, context, variability and adaptability. One must wonder, however, are there any negative effects we should be wary about? This paper reflects about this question by using five mechanisms: 1) the language we use to discuss things, 2) the emergence of professional tribalism, 3) the evolution of ideas and concepts, 4) side-effects of success, and 5) ethical dilemmas we may encounter in our everyday work. New developments will come with by-products that we cannot prevent. Suggestions to deal with this include open, critical minds, and awareness of possible pitfalls. Being prepared to deal with the inevitable variations that will occur is important, as are balanced approaches in how professionals discuss and handle concepts and tools.

Open access - get the full paper here.