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The following books are highly recommended by Henk, both for HSE Professionals as well as for the Senior Manager who have the care for safety close to her heart and wants to understand more about this intriguing subject:

Managing The Unexpected by Karl E. Weick & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe.

This well written, easy to read, analysis of organisations in highly complex and dangerous settings gives a clear insight how High Reliable Organisations are setup for 'mindfullness' and insist to be a truly learning organisation. This mindfullness is defined by 5 characteristics:

          1. Pre-occupation with Failure
          2. Reluctance to Simplify
          3. Sensitivity to Operations
          4. Commitment to Resilience, and
          5. Deference to Expertise.

 This organiational mindset is beneficial to every organisation and highly recommended.

When Fish Fly by John Yokoyama and Joseph Michelli

If you want inspiration on how to uplift your company's culture towards mindfulness and playfulness, this little book about the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seatle is all you need. 

What I personally liked and learned from this book is the clarity of their vision forming. The way they enrolled and formalized individual commitment and team alignment to that vision and how they made the distinction between the state of BEING and the state of doing towards their vision. Peer coaching is discussed as the way whereby crew help live their commitments to one another. An interesting chapter demonstrates how crew members learn to recognize 'snags' along the way and turn them into breakthrough behaviours.

The World Famous Pike Place Fish Market specializes in throwing big fresh salmon to each other at customer's order. And it's quite a spectacle (search the web for videos). Normally, not a lot of things get thrown in any other business, but  this book is not to copy their way. It is to give you some insights, tips and hints on how others inspire their workforce towards a compelling vision. I'm sure this little book will give you fresh ideas for inspiring your team in achieving an outstanding HSE culture. Have fun reading this one.


The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley

How will ordinary people behave when confronted with the unexpected disaster. Will we act and know what to do, or will we be paralyzed. The idea is that we can do much better in such unimaginable situations. Paying attention to the safety instructions, read the evacuation routes in your hotel, walk the emergency stairs in your office building now and then, and do participate actively in full scale emergency drills. When we are confronted with disaster it will take time for the professional services to arrive. Until then, it comes down to ordinary folks like you and me.
It also gives great hints to the professional services to spent their money more on the instructions and training of the public or those not directly involved in the safety activities of the work environment. A few lines from the book.
"Regular people only feature into the [standard] equation as victims, which is a shame. Because regular people are the most important people at a disaster scene—every time. ... The vast majority of rescues [are] done by ordinary folks."
"Since 9/11 the U.S. government has sent over $23 billion to the states and cities in the name of homeland security. Almost none of that money has gone to intelligently enrolling regular people like you and me in the cause. Why don't we tell people what to do when we are on Orange Alert against a terrorist attack—instead of just telling them to be scared?"
London 2005: "Emergency plans had been designed to meet the needs of emergency officials, not regular people."
"Without too much trouble, we can teach our brains to work more quickly, maybe even more wisely, under great stress. We have more control over our fate than we think. We need to stop underestimating ourselves."
"Realistic practice brings out our faults—and then makes us stronger." "Abilities we think are innate almost never are." "Skill is my ability to do something automatically, at the subconscious level. How do I get that? I do that by repetition, by practicing the right thing. The only way you learn it is to program it."

A great read.


Removing Obstacles to Safety by Judy L. Agnew & Gail Snyder.

Removing Obstacles to Safety is a practical guide to the successful Behavioural Based Safety (BBS) methods used by organizations across the world. Written as a concise overview of a time-tested and proven technology, this book explains the BBS roles of organizational leaders as well as line employees. Each chapter includes a summary and a set of entertaining safety facts. You'll enjoy true case studies and a section of frequently asked questions. Through this book, every employee will understand the how and why of applying behavioral tools to make safety a habit while adding enjoyment to the everyday work environment.



Managing The Risks of Organizational Accidents by James Reason

This book should be compulsory reading for all engineers (whether maintenance engineers, design engineers, production engineers, mining engineers, chemical engineers or whatever) working in heavy and hazardous industries.

The book introduces a number of Reason's concepts and models for the effective management of organizational risk, including his now famous "Swiss Cheese" model, which considers the multiple defences that organisations have in place to prevent organizational accidents (these could be 'hard' defences, such as physical barriers, interlocks, alarms, personal protective equipment, etc., or 'soft' defences, such as regulatory surveillance, licensing, training, permit-to-work systems, and other personal oversight) as being 'layers' of defence - each with its own built-in weaknesses, or "holes". On most (almost all) occasions, incidents are prevented from becoming organizational accidents because they hit, and are captured, by one of these layers of defence. However, when all the holes in the defences line up, then there is potential for an organizational accident.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey

Two classics that don´t need any introduction by me, but did form a source of inspiration for my coaching with anyone in an organisation that wants to develop character and leadership. Although it provides no quick fix, these books helps to understand the requirements for HSE Leadership qualities, finding your own voice and helping others finding theirs. The 7 habits are defined as:
1- Be Proactive
2- Begin with the End in Mind
3- Put First Things First
4- Think Win/Win
5- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
6- Synergize
7- Sharpen the Saw

Highly, highly recommended!


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