“Safety is the ability to perform work in a varying and unpredictable workplace environment.” - Todd Conklin, author, speaker and senior advisor, environmental safety, health and quality, at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A New Philosophy
In 2014, TDW Director of Global HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) Barry Hollis challenged us to embrace a new view of successful safety management. He introduced author Todd Conklin’s philosophies on organizational safety and human performance and explained that, in his view, “Safety is not the absence of incidents, but rather the strength of our defenses.”
With that philosophy in mind, we took steps to measure the strength of our defenses. Not only does this process ensure that we have the critical defenses in place to protect our personnel, it also helps us make sure that, when human errors do occur, we’re still protecting our people and the environment.
Our Blueline Greenline Model
While adopting the “new view of safety,” we’ve found that one simple visual tool has been highly effective in helping us explain the reasons why we have to measure our effectiveness — and also in reminding us to develop practical defenses and back-ups.
The Greenline represents work performed the way everyone in an organization believes that it should be performed. In an ideal world, organizations would have perfect processes, procedures, and employees — all functioning in a controlled environment. Unfortunately, in reality, no company actually exists in that world.
That’s why our Blueline represents the real world. It includes the adaptive behavior that employees must engage in to get their jobs accomplished. Outside of the perfect world, they have to be able to complete their tasks using processes and procedures with some room for improvement.
At TDW, we acknowledge that human error will always exist in the “real world,” and that’s why we make it a priority to develop robust defenses that will protect our employees, customers, and the general public in the event of a Blueline incident.