Marketing Safety and Due Diligence

Marketing Safety and Due Diligence

I don’t get this constant need to make safety ‘sexy’. One of the videos that received an award at the recent Zero Vision World Congress in Safety is a typical example:

If you want to see how unprofessional Safety is, just check out how unethical and desperate Safety gets in marketing ( All of this is unprofessional stuff such an indictment of the industry, an industry that would love to be professional but that does so much that is unprofessional and unethical ( I wonder if real professions are saying ‘teaching is sexy’, ‘law is sexy’, ‘medicine is sexy’, ‘dentistry is sexy’ or ‘nursing is sexy’ and then getting awards from their global representative endorsing such unprofessional presentation!

The reality is actually quite simple. Risk and safety is about ‘helping’ people tackle and manage risk at work. It’s not rocket science. The work of gaining ‘assurance’ that risks are being tackled and controlled is to recognize risk indicators (what I call ‘iCues’) and respond appropriately (ALARP). Your risk ‘iCue’ ( is your level of risk intelligence. How intelligent are you at recognizing critical indicators of risk and tackling them? Critical indicators of risk occur at three levels: Primary (Physical), Secondary (Psychological) and Tertiary (Socio-Cultural) levels of risk. This is what Due Diligence is all about:


4. DUE DILIGENCE from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.

In the recent report on the tragic case of Jayson Bush we read:

‘The court heard the company had comprehensive safety systems in place at the time of the accident, but had failed to impose proper safety measures for Mr Bush’s specific task after the specifics of the work changed.’

So, obviously having ‘comprehensive systems’ in place obviously doesn’t make a workplace safe. The court makes it clear that being ‘intelligent’ about risk is about something else. The only way one can give an ‘assurance’ of Due Diligence is through effective face-to-face engagement at the coalface. Effectiveness is not about being ‘sexy’ or about more systems but rather about listening and conversing about risk. This is where risk intelligence comes in: are you good at recognizing critical indicators in risk(in the three layers)? One thing is for sure, as Greg Smith makes clear: ‘Paper systems’ do not provide evidence that risk are being managed (

Since when does a reference to ‘systems’ always imply bureaucracy? A walkaround, conversations or an effective toolbox are also systems and a good defense in court. Whilst paperwork will be subpoenaed, it is your testimony about how your tackled risk that will be critical.

So, why all this unprofessional marketing in safety? Is it because Safety at the very basics doesn’t know what to do? Does it not really know how to be professional? Is it because safety doesn’t really know how to relate to the everyday challenges of mortal/fallible people engaging in risk each day? Is it because the language of absolutes (zero) discourages engagement? Is it because the fixation on counting in the industry alienates people? Could it be that all this ‘noise’ about being ‘sexy’ or the many other ‘bells and whistles’ so popular in safety are a distraction from the real and fundamental work of ‘helping people tackle risk’.

The real challenge about Due Diligence is not about more paper systems but rather shifting emphasis to strategies of engagement that give ‘assurance’ that risk are being tackled.

If you want to learn more about real and practical Due Diligence then come to the Workshop in Sydney ( where Greg and I will not be offering anything ‘sexy’. No shiny bells and whistles, just the basics in how to identify risk (build your risk iCue) and engage others in ‘helping’ them manage risk. This is how you create ‘assurance’ in Due Diligence.

Safety doesn’t have to be sexy! Helping others simply manage their risk is ‘doable’ ( There are many simple, positive and practical things safety people can do to help people think intelligently about risk.


19. DOABILITY from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.



Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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