From Perilous Ignorance to Autonomous Safety

Robin Stowell
08 April 2019

If your occupational health and safety policy states a commitment to providing a safe workplace, reporting accidents, continual improvement etc. have you considered this from a cybernetic viewpoint?
Most organisations govern their safety management by trying to achieve Zero Harm through implementing corporate risk assessments, but accidents still happen, and management hunts down someone to blame for poor safety statistics on the management review dashboard. The system hasn't failed, it is doing what it has been designed (and allowed) to do. How do the requirements of safety management system standards integrate into the Viable System Model?
Variety, and in particular the requisite variety needed in operations to counter unwanted states in the local environment (accidents), has never been considered before from a safety perspective. This presentation will propose that requisite variety of an individual worker can be directly equated to competence, and furthermore through assessment of the person-task it provides the basis for a real-time safety performance monitoring and control mechanism