Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap.
Since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Welcome to you, you’re in the right place. If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve! And of course, welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.
Previous guest and friend of the show Dr. Drew Rae joins us in this episode as we poke at the idea of evidence-based practice. Or more appropriately, the lack of it in health and safety. Drew is a world-renowned academic, research leader and in-demand speaker from the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. And he doesn’t just mind pointing at elephants in the room, he helps us make sense of our safety practice in the process.
This is episode 95 of the Safety on Tap Podcast. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun this learning journey has been with you, it has been honestly surprising how enlightening, challenging and uplifting this podcast production has become for me. But the best bit is our connectedness – how a community of like-minded people from all over the world have come together as they listen and engage and challenge and share. A while back I changed my title from CEO to the Chief Connector – because that best describes the value I create, by connecting people with new ideas, by connecting people with each other, and connecting people with their fuller potential, a better version of themselves. That’s me, helping people like you. None of this progress, nothing about Safety on Tap, exists without you. So firstly, thank you. Nextly, I want your ideas about what I should do to celebrate the upcoming 100th episode. I suggest you go back and listen to episode 50, another celebration, which was a unique episode celebrating you and your learning. Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what I should do for our 100th episode.
Now, on to another discomfort creating conversation, here’s Drew:
Don’t forget to email me with your suggestions on how we should celebrate our centenary episode. And, if you are interested in accelerating your growth as a professional, check out Safety on Tap Connected. Membership is less than most multi-day conferences and gives you an entire year of learning community access, learning resources you won’t find elsewhere, and most valuably on-demand 1:1 coaching with me as your professional coach. If you want to make your professional development deliver better results for you, check out safetyontap.com/connected
Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Dr. Drew Rae:
Takeaway #1: How much of your safety practice is about stories of good ideas or initiatives, versus evidence of good ideas or initiatives? I know that I struggle to articulate my own evidence-based narrative because it is so thin. Now that doesn’t mean that stories aren’t important – you still need them to enlist people in positive change, just be wary of when that is because the evidence supports it, or for some other reason, like it’s a good idea, or I heard it on a podcast, or that company over there are doing it.
Takeaway #2: Slow down. Drew mentioned that in our intense need to take action, the gathering, or worse creation, of evidence is just too slow. Maybe slowing down a little is ok. Taking action that feels like progress, or diligence, or effective risk management, isn’t the same as stuff that actually is progress, diligent, or effective risk management. Slowing the rush to action means you’re less likely to build up clutter, and you can create evidence in the space you create. Simple experimental design, two group comparison, focused on evaluating the mechanism which you think creates safety. I’ve included links in the show notes to my favourite resource for action research, which includes a free online course on action research design and execution – which is perfect when you are a researcher inside the organisation you are researching.
Takeaway #3: Not everything is going to have a solid, evidence-based rationale which explains its connection with safety outcomes. As Drew said, plenty of the things we do service other legitimate purposes other than directly affecting the safety of work. We need to demonstrate our commitment, we need to show external stakeholders we take safety seriously, and we will inevitably do compliance type things like rules, systems, measurement, and reporting. Drew’s encouragement was clear: we need to be honest with ourselves about what it’s all for. If you want to check out a nice model for making sense of that, check out episode 92, along with the reflection worksheet download I created for you at safetyontap.com/ep092
Thanks so much for listening. Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way? Seeya!
Here’s your FREE download of:
I’ll also send you the links to all the available back-catalogue of reflection templates and transcripts so you can access these at any time.