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The behavioural aspects of Learning from Incidents

Safety is of prime importance for all industrial organisations. A lot of effort is put into raising safety awareness amongst employees. Often the focus is on procedures. They are put in place with the objective to reduce the execution risk of activities.


Over the last couple of years we have been working with a large oil and gas company in The Netherlands to help them with the behavioural side of working safely. This topic gets widespread attention in literature and a variety of behavioural safety programmes are offered and used. Despite all this effort incidents continue to happen. These incidents are to be considered opportunities to learn from and identify system weaknesses and allow further enhancements in hardware or the management controls such as procedures.


In this article we want to share our insights and offer a totally different approach, which is based on educational and learning practices and which offers an opportunity to provide a solid basis for an individual change in safety awareness and the accompanying behaviours. Furthermore the approach provides insight in the systemic issues influencing the execution of site activities.