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Prevention Is Not Enough
Presented by Vallorie Hodges, Dive Officer and Safety & Wellbeing Advisor, University of Tasmania, and Fiona McCarthy, CoHP with AIHS, Full member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia

A strong prevention bias in safety thinking doesn’t offer a robust understanding of the complexity of high consequence events. Despite the best risk assessments, procedures, and people, we simply cannot prevent all incidents. We must instead balance prevention efforts with capacity to respond and recover when things go badly. But how do we operationalise this in our organisations?

This session offers a model and the backstory of how we are using it as a simple visual framework to stimulate dialogue and promote learning, shared understanding, and safety differently language. The model is an adaptation of the bowtie… as a propeller. It includes preventive, operational and recovery elements placed in a dynamic mode, represented by turning blades – within a margin of manoeuvre sphere. We use the model to highlight how prevention efforts deter threats, and to show how the capacity to respond to events may reduce the impact of events. But the real leverage comes when we conceptually shift from bowtie to propeller – the process becomes dynamic, demonstrating how learning creates a feedback loop to improve the entire system- including preventive, operational and response/recovery components.

Key messages:
Putting effort into preventing incidents is wise, but it is not enough.
We must also be able to effectively respond to incidents when they occur.
Learning from what is working well (and from what is not working well) is an incredibly powerful dynamic in the workplace. And often missing in our operations.
Creating feedback loops can improve our safety, efficiency and outcomes.

Jul 29, 2021 09:30 AM in Perth

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