Rethinking Safety: Learning from Frontline Experience

What can we learn about how we think about and teach safety from an analysis of 31,000 front-line worker safety reports?

By gathering more safety data (incidents, near misses, safety observations, operational failures) and processing it by using artificial intelligence, many organisations believe they can predict and ultimately prevent the next big accident. Is this realistic?

In an ethnographic study of 31,000 safety reports from front-line workers (part of a project funded by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre of the UK), we set out to:

  • Identify common issues that impede learning across safety critical industries
  • Develop a practical framework for business leaders to create a learning environment
  • Understand how to align workers’ experience and knowledge with business goals and strategies

As we redefine health and safety in the uncertainty of a post-COVID world, what do we need to adjust in our reporting and learning environments to connect operational experience with business goals, strategies, and performance?