Peer reviewed articles

The Dissenting Voice, Professional Safety, April 2013

1.Whistle blowing, or principled dissent, is not just about financial misconduct.

2.How an organization handles dissent can directly affect its safety performance.

3.The type of organization influences culture and directly affects how well dissent is tolerated affecting safety performance.

4.Safety professionals must often act as the dissenting voice and if it is not done well, dissenting can be costly.

Pyramid Power, Cover story Professional Safety, September 2014

1. Safety pyramids date back over 80 years

2.The validity of these ratios is doubtful

3. The original concept has been overlooked

4. Ratios still have their place today can be a valuable metric

Hypercompliance, Professional Safety, July 2016

1. Hypercompliance is about raising penalties around absolute rules

2. Hypercompliance may be taking us in the wrong direction

3. Raising penalties can result in employee disengagement

4. More rules do not mean a safer workplace

The Incident Mirror Technique

1. Incident investigations are important because they acknowledge that a failure has occurred, and a problem exists somewhere in the system.

2. Poor incident investigations can lead to more incidents because they fail to close gaps or fix problems in the system. 3. Managers and others who are expected to review incident reports seldom receive direction on how to validate these reports.

4. This article discusses the incident mirror technique, a method developed by the author that can be used by managers, safety practitioners and safety committees to quickly validate incident investigations.


Effective Safety Committees

Effective Safety Committees is the ultimate guide for safety personnel and employees on building and maintaining safety committees.

 A special section looks at the many pitfalls of building committees. There is even help on revitalizing committees that have lost effectiveness or focus.

Effective safety committees can be a powerful force for a safer and more engaging workplace. They can also be a rewarding experience for those who serve on the committees.

You can use the practical advice in the book to build and maintain an effective committee or committees.

This book offers resources for safety committee members and safety practitioners to improve committee effectiveness


Harassment and Workplace Violence Investigations

A practical guide

The only practical guide written for the Canadian workplace. This book offers real examples of investigations. It provides guidance on:

  • Complain process
  • Determining if investigations is required​
  • Investigation preparation
  • Communication with parties
  • External investigator tips
  • Conducting interviews
  • Evidence analysis
  • Report writing

The book offers information on the latest case law and the latest cases along with statistical information on the phenomenon of bullying and harassment across Canada and beyond.

This is a must have reference and guide for both internal and external investigators.ORDER YOUR COPY


Articles and Blogs

Night shifts, are they safe?

Night shift work has been around for a long time. Night shift is inherently more risky than day shift for a variety of reasons, yet many industries need a night shift to function effectively. These familiar industries include law enforcement, medical facilities, construction, and the oil industry. Identifying the risks is fairly straightforward.

Lessons from Burns Lake. Why charges were not an option

In 2012 the Burns lake sawmill exploded. A few months later the Lakeland mill near Prince George was almost completely destroyed by a similar explosion. Two years later the crown refused to proceed with charges against the mill owners citing irregularities in the WorkSafeBC investigation. There are plenty of lessons to be learned by all parties in these tragic events.

Risk Tolerant or Control Deprived?

Some people, groups, or organization are described as having a high or low risk tolerance. When it comes to workers, they often are not aware of the standard hierarchy of controls to manage safety risks or not involved. This leaves them with the choice of personal protective equipment and/or being careful. Are workers tolerant of high risk or are they left with limited control strategies?

When undetected deviation becomes and incident

The phrase normalization of deviation was made famous by the investigation report from the space shuttle Challenger. This speaks to how deviation from requirements or safe practice became normal and accepted. Very few organizations have systems in place to detect deviation from established processes in order to prevent ongoing normalization.

Is "Safety Culture" Dead?

In 1988, after the incident at Chernobyl, a new term arrived to arm safety professionals the world over. The report of the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) coined the term “safety culture.” Is "Safety culture" real or has it always been an artificial construct?

Distracted? Technology is the solution

Distracted driving is a consistent problem that policies or even discipline will not solve. We need to look to technology for the solution. Ironically, most of the most effective solutions were developed to stop teenagers from texting while driving.

Anyone Can Do Safety

It is phrase that makes some safety people cringe and others smile. Depending on who you talk to, safety is very simple or very complex. There is a real dichotomy out there in doing safety. After all when you think of a safety person the image that comes to mind probably does not reflect the reality today

Stupid got hurt at work

Yes, we have all seen the videos and heard the stories about some fool doing something stupid and getting hurt at work. We nod knowingly when we hear the story. Only stupid people get hurt at work

Curbing Rule Breakers

Every manager has had issues with people who just do not follow rules. Dealing with them comes with the territory. People fail to follow the rules for lots of reasons. As reasons vary so should your response as a manager. Some just feel the need to push the envelope. Others think the rules are stupid or do not apply. Dealing serial rule breakers usually ends badly, but perhaps we are missing something.

Warning! Important meeting ahead

Another meeting request from you-know-who can fill you with dread. We often hear about, or attend, meetings that are a complete waste of time. A bad meeting lasts for hours and all you can remember is thinking you can never get those hours of your life back.

Is leadership about being in charge?

I recently gave a talk that touched on leadership. It struck me that as a society we all too often equate leadership as an attribute that the boss or manager must have. I think that is really a shame.

Sharing or Stealing?

The ethics of sharing safety "Best Practices". Safety people often do not give credit for original work. Plagiarism brings to mind colleges and universities but it is also an issue in the world of Health and Safety.

Workers compensation - Time to Evolve?

​Workers’ compensation has its roots in Germany with Otto von Bismarck in 1884, and his worker “sick fund.” Thirty years later Canada passed its first workers’ compensation act in 1914 after the Meredith report was delivered in Ontario. On the 100th anniversary of the Meredith report and the first draft Workers Compensation Legislation drafted by Justice Meredith. is everything still OK or do we need to evolve those concepts.?

Trends in Health and Safety 2015

Looking ahead to 2015 there are some things that may impact the profession both in Canada and abroad. There is always a lot of guesswork in these sorts of things, particularly in new trends. I say guesswork because there is a big difference between visionary and prophet. Most are easy to see but many have uncertain outcomes.

System or Program?

Safety management system has become a buzzword. What is a system and do you really have one?

Spotting dilemma

If there is one thing that safety people can agree on, it is that spotting is dangerous. Beyond that there is an almost Pythonesque sketch akin to “Spot the Looney.” There are generally agreed upon rules such as never stand, or spot, in a place where you can get hit or run over. That about sums it up.

The mighty have fallen

By now, you have certainly heard, the unthinkable has happened. In July, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States added DuPont to the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

Trends in Health and Safety 2016

Looking ahead to 2016 we will see a year of interesting challenges for those in the safety profession. With the economy unstable, or in recession, many outcomes remain uncertain.

​Who should chair the safety committee?

​It is no secret that I am a believer in health and safety committees. However, there are many examples of safety committees floundering or failing. 
One of the biggest pitfalls I see is that safety people are chairing them.

Trends in health and safety for 2017

Looking ahead to 2017 we will see a year with some bright and interesting spots. It will remain a time of challenges. I have revisited some of the themes from last year. Others are new, and I hope they provoke some thought and conversation.

Safety professionals need fall protection training, too

Fall protection is the subject of large portions of safety regulation. It is made more complicated by having different kinds of fall protection. There are fall arrest systems, work positioning systems and fall restriction systems. It does not even end there. Adding to the complexity, there are also travel restriction and barriers with protection zones.

Top health and safety trends for 2018

New designation, management systems make the list

Due diligence widely misunderstood in safety community
​Due diligence is a phrase that gets bandied about in the world of health and safety as if safety people invented it.

The truth is it’s one of the most misused phrases and misunderstood concepts in the Canadian safety community. It is an excuse for the bureaucratization we see in modern safety because it is consistently misinterpreted.

9 health and safety trends for 2019

Looking ahead in 2019, some things that dominated the latter half of 2018 will continue to have an interesting impact on workplace health and safety: #1 is Harassment and bullying.

Bullying, harassment greatest workplace hazard of our generation

Harassment and bullying have long lived in the shadows as something that happens to other people (usually women). It has usually been the purview of human resources.

What are the secrets to a great safety training program?

Safety training is where everything starts. It is the beginning, the first step an aspiring safety professional will make in the OH&S sector. There are many moving parts to a good health and safety program.

Compliance is a risky business

One thing I have learned in my years in safety is that safety people love to talk about things like compliance and due diligence. These days I often wonder if the speakers even understand these concepts as the buzzwords build up knee-deep mired in the sea of rhetoric that springs up in these conversations.

9 health and safety trends for 2020

It looks like an interesting year ahead in 2020. Some trends have waned, and others still persist, but regardless, there are always new ones to keep the health and safety occupation interesting. Marijuana debate is out, COR overhaul is in

Lessons learned so far from COVID 19

As a health and safety professional, I found the pandemic recently had some great learning opportunities for health and safety practitioners.

COVID-19 and Recovery (Part 1/2)

With COVID-19, we have seen the emergency response and business continuity phases of this particular emergency. Pandemics are rare, and so employers did not have a pandemic response plan. Some had a business continuity plan for situations where people were not able to access the workplace.

COVID-19 and Recovery (Part 2/2)

The first part of this article dealt with planning for recovery and a return to normal business operations. Planning for the recovery phase of an emergency is just as important as planning for the onset of an emergency. 

Mentoring, coaching, and leading

In my view, every supervisor and every manager has an intrinsic duty to mentor their subordinates. I’ve done this for many years and have been very proud to see others go on to success as they discovered new talents or abilities that help propel their career forward.