The way organisations have approached safety has reached a maturity in which further benefits cannot be reaped. To overcome, organisations need to manage safety differently. But what does this mean and how can it be done in practice?

The traditional safety paradigm, sometime referred to as Safety I, has focussed on behaviours of individuals and the use of bureaucratic accountability and constraints to prevent negative outcomes. But despite unprecedented investments in safety, organisations still experience significant incident levels. Furthermore, while this approach has lead to significant improvements it has also produced several problematic side effects: disengagement and disempowerment of people, increasing bureaucracy, loss of innovation and productivity.

Appreciative Safety® suggests a paradigm shift in how organisations understand and manage safety. Professor Erik Hollnagel’s theory on Safety II and Professor Sidney Dekker’s book on Safety Differently, outline a new set of principles that organisations can rely on to organise safety. This new paradigm sees deviations and people’s behaviours not as the causes of incidents, but as symptoms of the organisational and environmental context of work. To adapt and overcome organisations need to focus on building strengths by continuously working toward setting people up for success, harnessing the potential of their people to contribute, and empowering people to take responsibility in the workplace.

This new paradigm requires new or refocused safety practices as well as new roles for safety professionals and business leaders. Over the last 5 years, a growing number of organisations have developed practices and methods that help organisations to organise safety differently. In this one day Master Class, attendees will be introduced to the ideas and principles that underpin the Appreciative Safety® movement, but also the practices that allow organisations to manage safety differently.  

The content includes

  • Overview of the ideas behind traditional safety management approaches
    • The influence from Herbert Heinrich’s work on Industrial Safety
    • The influence from Frederick Taylor’s work on Scientific Management
    • The influence from Max Weber’s bureaucratic optimisation
  • Introduction to Erik Hollnagel’s theory of Safety I and Safety II
    • The role of performance variability
    • The difference between Work as Imagined and Work as Done
    • The need to understand functions
  • Practical ways to translate the safety differently principles into practice
  • Case studies of how safety differently has been applied in different industries

The objective of the Master Class is to provide attendees with a clear alternative of how safety can be enabled at the operational, functional and strategic levels of organisations. Suitable participants are operational managers and safety managers who are interested in evolving how safety is understood and managed.

Participants will learn

  • why focusing on what helps and hinders normal work will improve safety
  • how people are a solution to harness, rather than a problem to control
  • new ways to measure safety that will drive empowerment and innovation
  • why leaders need to host conversations about what goes on at work
  • how organisations can learn from what goes right
  • how organisations have managed to build their safety management systems on the Safety Differently principles.


Participants will receive:

  • Dr Erik Hollnagel’s book Safety I and Safety II - The past and future of safety management.
  • Copies of the presentation material - paper and pdf
  • Access for 6 months to Master Class web portal loaded with resources relating to foundations of safety differently, including case studies, change strategies, journal articles, book references, links to e-resources, and tools to collaborate with other participants beyond the Master Class event.