Safety Differently

Safety Differently: The Movie

“How can you turn WHS into a Positive for  Team & Profits?”

After years of following and implementing strategies to increase team performance, we met Sidney Dekker and his team in Qld. What follows is more evidence on how focusing on the individual’s skills in WHS makes all the difference, watch the movie clip by clicking the link: Safety Differently: THE MOVIE (watch here)

See what Sidney Dekker and team says:

“‘Safety differently’ is about relying on people’s expertise, insights and the dignity of work as actually done to improve safety and efficiency. It is about halting or pushing back on the ever-expanding bureaucratization and compliance of work. The cost of compliance and bureaucracy can be mind-boggling—up to 10% of GDP, with every person working some 8 weeks per year just to cover the cost of compliance, paperwork and bureaucratic accountability demands. This is non-productive time. It has also stopped progressing safety. Over the last two decades, safety improvements have flatlined (as measured in fatalities and serious injury rates, for instance) despite a vast expansion of compliance and bureaucracy.” Source:

Safety Differently: The Movie tells the stories of three organizations that had the courage to devolve, declutter, and decentralize their safety bureaucracy. 

This movie is directed and produced by RideFree Media. It is crowd funded, and brought to you by Griffith University—for everyone to view for free. 

The Realization and Result

Origin Energy reduced the size of their Safety Management System by 90%. They made safety an operational issue, a field-focused one, cutting centralized safety staff and reducing the bureaucratic accountability requirements imposed on engineers in the field. 

Queensland Health discovered a profoundly different way to deploy local expertise and simulation to improve care processes. Rather than assembling caregivers in a central location and telling them how to do a particular procedure, simulation experts fanned out into the huge state, using local process simulations as tools for discovery and sensemaking, and asking people what they needed and wanted.

Woolworths Supermarkets ran a randomized controlled trial, taking everything related to safety out of a group of stores and telling the store manager: ‘don’t hurt anyone.’ Injuries went down, innovations went up and a deep sense of ownership blossomed. One store in that group won the annual safety prize.

Interestingly, these organizations discovered that much of their compliance and bureaucracy was self-inflicted. Laws and regulations demanded some things for sure, but the majority of the permits, tool restrictions, checklists, rules, guidance and procedures that penetrated deeply into the capillaries of people’s daily work were all driven internally or by their contracting arrangements to other organizations. 

Too many cooks in the rule-making kitchens, few or no calls for evidence of the need or efficacy of the rules, liability fears, and sheer bureaucratic entrepreneurism meant that it was easy to make things difficult. It was easy to add stuff, and almost impossible to take stuff out. But these organizations did, and did so successfully.

These organizations rediscovered ways to trust and empower their people. Their stories offer hope; they reinvigorate the humanity and dignity of actual work. These organizations learned to resist the kneejerk to centralize, standardize and control everything their people do. They now try to harness autonomy, mastery and purpose as drivers for people’s motivation to do the right thing. 

Their safety outcomes are impressive, as is the reduction of business drag; the happiness and engagement of their people speaks for itself. Their stories are an immense inspiration for everybody suffering under the weight of bureaucracy and compliance—whatever the domain they work in.

Note from Team Culture


We are thankful to Sidney and the team that put this together.

Equally, we thank our amazing clients that have adopted the values of their people and  understandings as part of their strategies.

This approach works, but it does not happen overnight or by itself, it requires learning with an experienced proven approach to bring the competencies together for ongoing success. Change can be awkward at the start, but most agree that it’s worth it for the future!

Other competencies make this flow, including  areas of filtered onboarding systems, proposed right fit goals and  leadership team engagement models and systems. 

Growth is built on the “influence of leaders”,  their competence and focused attention, helping their people change easier and faster. Safety is one of the avenues that can help develop a team and change the status quo of safety legislations and litigations.

The old ways driven by fear, compliance & control are the OLD status quo, we are breaking this status quo to open new opportunities to give business owners and their teams more  freedom and equality with better profits,  most agree it’s a good thing.

Hoping this was of good value.

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