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This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This book investigates why, despite more and more resources devoted to safety training, expectations are not entirely met, particularly in the industrial sectors that have already achieved a high safety level. It not only reflects the most precious viewpoints of experts from different disciplines, different countries, with experiences in various industrial fields at the cutting edge of theories and practices in terms of safety, professionalization and their relationships. It also consolidates the positioning of the Foundation for an Industrial Safety Culture, highlighting what is currently considered at stake in terms of safety training, taking into account the system of constraints the different stakeholders are submitted to. It reports some success stories as well as elements which could explain the observed plateau in terms of outcome. It identifies some levers for evolution for at-risk industry and outlines a possible research agenda to go further with experimental solutions.

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Open Access

Chapter 1. Safety: A Matter for ‘Professionals’?

An Introduction
This opening chapter questions the links between safety and ‘professionalization’ according to the following dialectics. ‘Ordinary safety’, means safety embedded in everyday industrial practices where the more professional one is in one’s dedicated duties, the safer one works. Yet ‘extraordinary safety’, namely safety isolated from other working dimensions, is a matter of exception and safety training requires specific actions from specialized departments and professionals. The author then elaborated on safety to meet internal objectives or safety to comply with external stakeholders’ expectations, more as a justification requirement.
Claude Gilbert

Open Access

Chapter 2. A Practice-Based Approach to Safety as an Emergent Competence

This chapter proposes to look at safety as a collective knowledgeable doing, i.e. a competency embedded in working practices. Therefore, by adopting a practice-based approach to inquire into how work is actually accomplished, we can study how knowing safe and safer working practices is kept and maintained within situated ways of working and talking about safety. The knowledge object ‘safety’ is constructed—materially and discursively—by a plurality of professional communities, according to specific scientific disciplines, controlling specific leverages within an organization, and talking different discourses. In a workplace, there are competing discourses: technological, normative, educational, economic, and managerial. Therefore, learning safer working practices is mediated by comparison among the perspectives of the world embraced by the co-participants in the production of safety as an organizational practice. Training and learning based on situated working practices presumes the collective engagement of researchers and participants in reflexivity, which can help to bring to the surface the experience knowledge embedded in practicing and transform it into actionable knowledge to produce practice changes. In fact, the engagement of practitioners, their experience knowledge and their care for what they do may enhance workplace resilience.
Silvia Gherardi

Open Access

Chapter 3. Line Managers as Work Professionals in the Era of Workplace Health Professionalization

Constructing rules for work that foster both health and safety and efficient production entails, in many organisations, the introduction of procedures, tools and techniques implemented by specialists. The purpose of this is to combat the amateur practices and lack of expertise supposedly found not only amongst employees, but also in their managers. This chapter argues that, on the contrary, field managers possess knowledge about working conditions and are actors who are necessarily involved in organising those conditions as well as the work of their teams. In so doing, they protect employees from or expose them to the real and varying circumstances of work. This is the role that needs to be reinforced in order for safety rules to become a real part of work cultures and working practices. However, the forms of power in organisations increasingly limit the recognition of this expertise in the work of managers. The chapter advocates the importance of giving managers power to set situated organisational rules, instead of making these the exclusive prerogative of central management departments.
Pascal Ughetto

Open Access

Chapter 4. Captain Kirk, Managers and the Professionalization of Safety

Historically, management as a means for governing business organizations has developed at the expense of professions as autonomous, self-regulated bodies. Therefore, the current call for “professionalization” in the domain of safety might be surprising. This chapter explores this apparent contradiction in the form of an imaginary dialogue between an operator and a manager. The current “injunction to professionalism” is critically assessed. Alternative views of professionalization are developed, with implications for alternative managerial roles.
Hervé Laroche

Open Access

Chapter 5. A Critique from Pierre-Arnaud Delattre

In this chapter, the author mainly addresses the differences between France and Anglo-Saxon countries regarding two axes. First he shows the differences in terminology of the word ‘professional’ and related terms, then he highlights that their respective approaches of human and organisational factors in Occupational Health & Safety originate from their own specific history.
Pierre-Arnaud Delattre

Open Access

Chapter 6. Enhancing Safety Performance: Non-technical Skills and a Modicum of Chronic Unease

Current debates on professionalism and safety cover a range of interpretative challenges and theoretical perspectives, as the workshop organized by FonCSI in 2015 revealed. One avenue for consideration was to address the question of the role of professionalism in the job with regard to safety. For example, should safety training just be part of normal job training or should it have a separate and distinctive position in the training curriculum? In this paper, I consider two ways in which safety training and safety thinking are being integrated into routine managerial and technical work. The first of these is behavioural, namely to focus on the non-technical skills (NTS) for a given job, as evidenced by the airlines’ Crew Resource Management training and assessment programmes. This approach is now being adopted in other safety-critical sectors, such as acute medicine and offshore oil and gas operations. The second direction is more attitudinal in nature: it examines the relatively novel concept of chronic unease, derived from the High Reliability Organisation literature. These two approaches show that addressing both workplace behaviours (non-technical skills) and underlying attitudes to operational risks (chronic unease), can help to build protective skills for safety into the professional job repertoire.
Rhona Flin

Open Access

Chapter 7. Situated Practice and Safety as Objects of Management

This chapter focuses on the relationship between representations of work (rules, procedures, models, specifications, plans) and work as a situated practice, performed by real people in always unique contexts. Empirically, it is organized around two main examples, the first one being a discussion of the compartmentalization of safety seen in shipping and the railway sector. It shows how safety, as an object of management, has become decoupled from practice, and how current discourses about safety disempower practitioners and subordinate their perspectives to more “theoretical” positions. The second is based on a study of control room operators in a space research operations setting. Here safety in the sense of avoiding harm to people is not the main concern; rather it is the reliability and robustness of an experiment on the International Space Station that is at stake. This example serves as a starting point for discussing how the research and theory on industrial safety should address the different temporalities of different work situations. It also helps to discuss the role of rules and procedures to support safety, reliability and resilience within the field of safety science. Finally, some propositions about the relationship between situated practice and the management of safety are provided: how invisible aspects of situated work might be important for safety yet hard to manage, how procedures and rules might be integrated parts of situated work as much as representations of it and how different temporalities of work situations should be included in the theorizing of safety and resilience.
Petter G. Almklov

Open Access

Chapter 8. Stories and Standards: The Impact of Professional Social Practices on Safety Decision Making

Organisational influences on safety outcomes are the subject of much attention in both academia and industry with a focus on how workplace factors and company systems, both formal and informal, influence workers. Many individuals who make important decisions for safety are not simply employees of a particular firm, but also members of a profession. This second social identity is little studied or acknowledged and yet is it critical for safety. This chapter addresses two key social practices that influence safety outcomes. The first is professional learning for disaster prevention. Research has shown that much professional learning is profoundly social including sharing stories and using stories directly as an input to key decisions. Another critical professional activity is development of standards. Standards are seen as authoritative sources and so ‘called up’ in legislation and yet the processes by which they are developed are opaque to those outside the small group of professionals involved. Again, this important social practice of groups of professionals remains little studied. Professional social practices such as these are worthy of much more attention from both academia and industry.
Jan Hayes

Open Access

Chapter 9. Doing What Is Right or Doing What Is Safe

An Examination of the Relationship Between Professionalization and Safety
The relationship between professionalization and safety is examined from two angles. One is how professionals manage high risk by doing what is right, what the trusted professional does when applying their skills and expertise in controlling a hazardous technological system. The other is doing what is safe, control of safety by a formal system of regulation, rules, procedures, codes and standards which constrains behaviour to remain within specified boundaries of operation but which must still somehow allow sufficient flexibility of behaviour to adapt to the specifics of the situation. By looking at some of the aspects of accidents and lessons learned, issues in safety and professionalism are highlighted which could be important topics for developing safety competence, in particular for the management of uncertainty and unforeseen risks. The handling of uncertainties and the mitigation of cognitive bias, the development of tacit knowledge and the use of lessons learned from successful recoveries are potential learning opportunities for both types of professional for uncertainty management. The chapter first sets out to clarify the meanings in the title and how they are different and possibly even conflicting in the approach to safety. This theme continues in examining how these issues are reflected in accidents and lessons learned. Finally, some possible ways forward are identified.
Linda J. Bellamy

Open Access

Chapter 10. Industrial Perspective on the Seminar: The Viewpoint of a Mining Expert

Based on his extensive expertise in the mining industry, Jonathan Molyneux raises the issue of the importance of operational experience, besides acquiring formal safety qualifications, to improve safety performance in high-hazard industries. He highlights the paradox by which the influencing aspect of the work of “safety professionals” as valued advisors is somehow challenged by the fact that they have to meet the compliance agenda and are therefore sometimes perceived by shop floor staff more as a “procedure-police” than as coaches. Integration versus differentiation with safety improvement strategies tailored for specific local contexts is also discussed.
Jonathan Molyneux

Open Access

Chapter 11. How to Deal with the Contradictions of Safety Professional Development?

An Organizational Approach Based on Discussion
Companies around the word currently ask their employees to behave and work as “professionals”. To be a “pro” has become a managerial leitmotiv that promotes an ideal image of employees based on the highest levels of performance, rationality, responsibility and reliability, especially in the domain of risk industries and safety management. This is typically the vision that managers promote when they decide that “failure is not an option”. Hence, the development of employee professionalism appears to be a very legitimate and neutral objective that should be at the core of the functions of the Human Resource Management. In every big company, many resources of all kinds have been invested to design and implement increasingly sophisticated training programs for professional development and to engage managers and HR’s departments. Unfortunately, these efforts have not produced the expected pay-offs in terms of safety performances and this disappointing performance raises several questions and problems. This chapter addresses them and suggests that some of the basic assumptions and images companies currently use to manage professionalism and professionalization are misleading because they over-simplify their nature. In other words, the notions of performance, rationality, responsibility and reliability that are associated with professionalism are in fact totally oriented towards compliance with formal procedures and rules. In some ways, the “professional” is seen as the perfect employee that never makes errors, never fails and never complains. In fact, this vision is purely behavioral (i.e. exclusively based on personal behaviors) and neglects the social and the political roots of professional skills and competencies. This chapter (1) identifies some of the main tensions and contradictions that are tightly linked to the notion of professionalism and (2) suggests how to actively manage these contradictions and explores new ways to develop professionalism in risk industries.
Benoit Journé

Open Access

Chapter 12. Can Safety Training Contribute to Enhancing Safety?

Training has always been an obvious response to any operational issue and safety issues are no exception. Further to an accident, training, and more specifically safety training, almost always forms part of the recommendations. More than that, safety training has always been considered by many as one of the major pillars for ensuring the safety of hazardous activities. This is the case in regulatory requirements as well as in many internal safety policies. Although this seems to make sense intuitively, intuition is not always of sound advice when it comes to safety. In reality, safety training conveys a number of implicit assumptions as to what contributes to making the operation of an organization safe. These assumptions, once made explicit, become debatable. However, unravelling them makes it possible to examine potential ways forward to reach beyond what seems to be the current safety training escalation dead-end.
Corinne Bieder

Open Access

Chapter 13. Training Design Oriented by Works Analysis

This chapter presents an approach to training design oriented by a holistic real-world works analysis based on several works of research. This approach proposed to design training in order to make people able to deal with real-world work situations, rather than only to know and apply exogenous standards. Two main axes of progress in the design of vocational training are identified and could develop into guidelines in order to train people to deal with work situations. (1) The approach requires project management in order to use participatory methods, including end users (trainers and trainee) and integrate a works analysis. (2) The approach needs to move from classical teaching-learning methods to “active” methods, which often imply transformation of both the trainer and the trainee’s activity. Examples from previous research in training design are presented to illustrate the argument.
Vincent Boccara

Open Access

Chapter 14. Safety and Behaviour Change

Promoting industrial safety is a complex field requiring collaboration between academia and industry across a range of professional and academic disciplines. Whilst human factors are recognized as being key modifiable determinants of risk across all professional groups and disciplines the variety and type of theories, methodologies and practices can make it difficult to identify commonalities and integrate findings into a conceptually coherent framework for research and intervention. The science of behaviour change offers possibilities for integrating cross-disciplinary understandings of the contributions of human behaviour to industrial safety through the use of models and frameworks like the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW). This chapter describes the principles and processes involved in designing behaviour change interventions using the BCW illustrating this with examples drawn specifically from the industrial safety sector. The potential applications of the approach in the areas of workforce development and research are highlighted.
Paul M. Chadwick

Open Access

Chapter 15. Power and Love

Recognizing the power of ‘those who make’ to achieve enhanced (safety) performances, through dedicated spaces for debate
Building on other contributions, this chapter highlights how safety is a situated activity, which relies greatly on non-technical skills. As such, professionalizing in safety implies creating spaces for debate. In this context, the question of power is key to consider: indeed, professionalization is first a matter of identity, which in turn questions power, be it formal or informal. One of the key question is: ‘how to cope with increasingly powerful specialists in support functions?’. As an attempt to answer it, this chapter argues that shifting from a ‘love of power’ to the ‘power of love’ is the key to liberated organizations in which (safety) performances are enhanced. Giving more power and consideration to working teams and middle managers in the field by creating space to discuss rules and practices is a first step to doing so. A second, more in-depth, step implies a change of paradigm from a ‘simple’ steering of safety indicators to a broad empowering of employees, giving them vision and autonomy to do their jobs. This involves a “liberation” process by which the classical vision of hierarchal structures is reversed, and the importance of learning and knowledge is acknowledged as a key source of motivation.
Nicolas Herchin

Open Access

Chapter 16. Beyond Safety Training, Toward Professional Development

Synthesis and food for thought
Professional development in safety lies at the crossroads of various logics, each with their own objectives, limits and power games. The arbitration and choices that are made at different levels (individual, collective and organizational) are therefore subject to constraints. It is of major importance to be aware of these constraints, to take them into consideration and recognize them in order to identify the levers for improvement in safety performance. This chapter synthesises the main findings from the book, highlighting what is currently considered to be at stake in terms of safety training, in the industrial world (industry and other stakeholders such as regulatory authorities), and offers avenues for further research.
Caroline Kamaté, Hervé Laroche, François Daniellou
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