How Technology is a Setback to a Culture of Safety

On October 20 and 21, leaders from High Consequence Industries (HCIs) came together to share ideas on Safety, Training, and Engineering Processes.

There were a lot of great ideas and information shared throughout the conference, such as the neuroscience behind Characteristics Of Good Teamwork. Another important topic discussed during the event was how technology both benefits, and hinders, a culture of safety.

Technology is evolving at a rapidly increasing pace, and with it, so do advances and concerns in safety science.

For example, cars grew increasingly safe with the addition of seat belts, air bags, pre-tensioning of seat belts if a potential collision is detected, and now with selective pre-engagement of the braking system, pedestrian detection, and more. Drivers are being kept safer by design.

Remember the Basics

On the other hand, one of the attendees, former Air Force Flight Surgeon and Captain for United Airlines, (retired) Dr. Bill Rutherford, believes that technology has become a crutch for safety. When technology starts to do everything for you, it is easy to lose focus. Over time, people begin to feel that they don’t actually need to perform, and hence lose - or never acquire - the knowledge to safely execute basic functions. This inability to perform becomes an issue when there is a hardware or software failure that requires a person to take control of the situation.

Going back to the basics could also save time and money. In health care, a lot of unnecessary costs could be avoided if caregivers were to take the time to talk to the patient and do a physical examination instead of immediately requesting tests and letting machines do the work. To reestablish and maintain such a culture, Dr. Rutherford believes that industries should continually reappraise training priorities and approaches, as well instilling the tenants of a Culture of Safety.

At Jump, we work with the OSF Health Care System and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria to model and teach the tenants of Safety Culture in every course that we offer. This extends from basic skill acquisition to developing the necessary teamwork skills to be an effective team member during normal work and urgent situations.

Safety Culture also includes teaching all team members, no matter what their role is, that they have a responsibility to speak up when they have a concern, and that they should expect their input to be heard and considered. We also encourage other industries to continuously promote a Culture of Safety, and encourage their employees to consistently practice psychomotor and teamwork skills through simulation.

The Next Steps

It is vital for HCI experts to work across industries and share their ideas on promoting safety, training, and processes so we can learn from each other. This includes learning how to translate successful approaches to safety, training, and processes from one HCI to another, and tailor them to specific locations and groups. If everyone is pulling in the same direction, it leads to better, safer, more cost effective outcomes for individuals and for populations.

Soon we will have more information about the next conference for High Consequence Industries. We look forward to continuing the discussion and beginning the next big development in Safety, Training, and Engineering Processes across healthcare and other HCIs.

Categories: Culture of Safety, Education, Events, High Consequence Industries (HCI)