Safety is a part of every person’s life, both at work and wherever else we may find ourselves. In fact, safety permeates everything we do. Because of this we cannot, and should not, ever allow safety to take a back seat in the course of our daily lives.

Although plenty has been written about the subject of safety and risk, the lion’s share of modern literature uses a major paradigm that has failed to deliver on its promise of completely eliminating accidents. Therefore, a new paradigm is needed.

When people continue to be injured or killed on the job we must conclude that enough is not being done to keep people safe. While that is an obvious statement, what my co-authors, Scott Burr and Dayna Hubenthal, and I find distressing is that there seems to be a perception or tolerance for some percentage of people that will get hurt or killed in work environments as normal and which cannot be overcome. We categorically state our firm belief that all accidents are preventable.

When looking at “how-things-are” and “how-things-are-not”, from a safety and risk standpoint, some questions are relevant to ask:

  • What level of understanding has really been achieved regarding how accidents occur?
  • Do we take action on all that we know?
  • Can we create a more comprehensive theory about accidents?
  • Is awareness that danger is present enough to prevent accidents?
  • Is there significant knowledge about accidents that exists in more useful ways outside of the construction industry?
  • When, Where, Why and How do accidents occur?
  • Are resources like psychology, timing, sequence, conditions, space, manpower or hierarchy enough to prevent accidents?
  • Do master patterns exist that inform us as to how accidents occur?
  • What lies beyond the preventative mindset for safety that has real potential to eliminate the last five percent of accidents?

Here are some statistics that you ought to find disturbing and unacceptable: In 2012 the ‘preliminary’ job fatalities statistics are sobering. The U.S. Dept. of Labor and Industries National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (people killed on the job) recorded 4,551 fatality accidents in 2009; 4,690 deaths in 2010; and 4,609 people killed in the workplace during 2011. Further, nearly 4 million people suffered an injury in the workplace each year. Think about that: 13,850 fatality accidents and nearly 12 million people injured during those three years. And this is just in the United States. We categorically state, if one person is injured or dies, that is one too many.

A new book on safety and risk will expand your safety perspective like no other. You will not be able to look at the subject of safety in the same way again after reading this book. One key thing that you will learn is how to conquer what is called Psychological Inertia, which is a natural function of the brain and of every mindset. It is responsible for how we currently see the world and how difficult it may be to see the world in a new way.

Psychological Inertia is the “momentum” of the way we think.  In depth, we discuss how to overcome psychological inertia in our book, Safety Under Construction—A Quest for Safety Perfection Utilizing Inventive Thinking where we discuss in depth the psychological aspects of safety that include how we are affected mentally, emotionally and physically. It is a must-read for individuals and anyone who wants to dramatically improve the Culture of Safety within your organization and make unlimited strides for safety success.

Review and remember: in order to obtain a great sense of this newly published book on safety and risk. A representative preview and reviews of the book are presented that need to be read, taken to heart and shared. Buy the book! Share it. Make a greater safety difference. Truly, lives depend on it.

Brion K. Hanks

Retired Project Safety Manager and

Safety Sentinel