Dr Rob Long’s recent Safety Myths Series touched quite a few nerves in the safety industry, particularly his piece: Myth and Symbols in Safety, where he suggested that we should deconstruct the projected ‘truths’ of linearity and causality of models such as Swiss Cheese, Dominoes, Bow Tie and Hierarchy of Control. Rob and Brian Darlington (co-author of It Works! A New Approach to Risk and Safety) have come up with their alternative ICue Causation Symbol and I’m sure we will hear more from them on this in the near future.
Although praised in traditional safety, The old Swiss Cheese model being a linear model focused on controls is outdated, as there is no regard for the psychological elements as well as social or cultural elements. Probably a typical myth followed by many. Therefore as a result Dr Robert Long and I have developed the ICue Causation that appreciates that there is much more than a linear approach and that that there are numerous variables that contribute to incidents, events, multiple events , mental well-being, only to name a few. The ICue causation is not a model but rather a symbol. The three arrows with icons attached places focus on contributing factors in controls, psychological and cultural and the others a combination of many factors. The arrows come from and exit through many holes and directions indicating no linear approach. You might be wondering why we have included a confused looking mouse well the mouse represents wicked problems that can’t be fixed. The ICue Causation is just another example why safety should move from traditional safety to social psychology of risk.
Olivier Duquesnoy says
I imagine another ‘wrong-and-useful’ model based on the physics of waves: optical diffraction and interference. Like:
For each cheese barrier you put between the risk you identified and its target, the holes in the screen will diffract the light and many new trajectories appear (new risks, trade-offs, …), and possibly directed towards some more targets.
I don’t see this as a practical model. For me it is only a good picture of wicked complexity, and weakness of cheese and bow-ties models.
Have a nice day, and a wonderful weekend,
Rob Long says
Yes Olivier, a useful symbol to contrast to the deified symbol of Reason/Heinrich lineararity.
It simply shows there are other ways of thinking about risk as an alternative to the way Safety makes its many symbols sacred.
The sacralising of the symbols/myths of safety is mindblowing. Just deconstruct one and the madness enshews of accusations of being anti-safety. By anchoring to these useless myths/symbols Safety ensures it will never become professional.