This is nothing new, why should we spend time and energy on this?

While its correct that this approach is about understanding incident causation through the many combining causal factors, and looking for risk in the workplace to prevent incidents, the following points are novel:

  • the way we define safety is not the absence of incidents, but the quality of how work is set up. A focus on outcomes or lagging indicators prevents learning from everyday work. A “perfect HSE-day” is not a day where there are no incidents, but a day where we have the capability to improve and reduce the possibility a major incident. 
  • there will always be a gap between how we think the workplace is set up “work-as-imagined” and how it is in reality “work-as-done”.  This helps us understand why things don’t go to plan, and why people make mistakes.
  • we respond supportively when things go wrong, since we have good people and they are only doing what anyone else would do under those circumstances.