The Past, Present and Future of Safety


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In this episode, Mary Conquest speaks with Scott Gesinger, an experienced safety director and author of The Fearless World of Professional Safety in the 21st Century.

Scott guides safety professionals on a high-level tour of the past, present and future of workplace safety. He begins with the origins of modern safety practices, which emerged after a high-profile disaster in 1911 that was widely publicized across new media channels.

We discover the impact of pioneers such as Heinrich and Deming on safety management, but Scott also explains how fundamental biases and complacency have harmed the profession. It became far too easy to blame individuals and ignore wider systemic safety issues, and EHS professionals became too focused on near misses that could never cause serious harm.

Scott encourages current HSE professionals to remove subjectivity from accident causation, adopt a sandwich approach to safety management with equal emphasis on co-workers and management, and focus on designing processes for humans.

Looking forward, he believes technology, diversity and empathy are key to ensuring that safety remains a relevant scientific and engineering profession that doesn’t get overtaken by other disciplines.

Scott’s book - The Fearless World of Professional Safety in the 21st Century:

Scott Gesinger on LinkedIn:

Jaws - the film Scott recommends all safety professionals should watch:

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