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Summary

Work has never been as safe as it seems today. Safety has also never been as bureaucratized as it is today. Over the past two decades, the number of safety rules and statutes has exploded, and organizations themselves are creating ever more internal compliance requirements. Bureaucracy and compliance now seem less about managing the safety of workers, and more about managing the liability of the people they work for.

At the same time, progress on safety has slowed. Many incident and injury rates have flatlined. Worse, excellent safety performance on low-consequence events tends to increase the risk of fatalities and disasters. We make workers do a lot that does nothing to improve their success locally. And paradoxically, the tightening of safety bureaucracy robs us of exactly the source of human insight, creativity and resilience that can tell us how success is actually created, and where the next accident may well come from.

It is time for Safety Anarchists: people who trust people more than process, who rely on horizontally coordinating experiences and innovations, who push back against petty rules and coercive compliance, and who help recover the dignity and expertise of human work.

©2018 Sidney Dekker (P)2018 Sidney Dekker

What listeners say about The Safety Anarchist

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A MUST READ FOR HEALTH & SAFETY PROFESSIONALS

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a really beautifully written book demonstrating how we need to change how we manage safety in our organisations. Relevant examples are given, and it will be hard for any safety professional out there not to take on board some of Sidney's valuable insights. He shows safety up for what it has become, an overly controlling and bureaucratic function, that is detracting rather than adding value to businesses in many cases. What is great is that Sidney doesn't just show us where we are failing, he guides us in the direction of good principles, bringing us back to why health and safety came about in the first place - to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of people within our organisations. Absolutely brilliant...

Have you listened to any of Sidney Dekker’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I am a big fan of Sidney Dekker's, and have many hard copies of his books. To have the audio versions is brilliant, especially when Sidney was the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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classic book for the safety practitioner

A must listen, though unfortunately the delivery is flat and not in Dekker's usual enigmatic style.

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Quite Philosophical

Having previously consumed Dekker's Field Guide and much of the felt available media he is featured in on YouTube, this was much more of an examination of a particular world view and it's impact on society.

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Great accompany with the book

The book is inspiring and provoking when possible, Dekker's style is one you'll like or hate: not much gray area.

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  • AB
  • 27-01-19

Thought provoking if a bit odd and soporific delivery.

It’s classic Dekker, lot of crazy stuff surrounding nuggets on impressive philosophy. If you don’t know Dekker I wouldn’t start here. The performance is unfortunate. He’s a very passionate engaged speaker normally but I suspect he’s been told to talk slower and clearer for this. Unfortunately it loses engagement and the monotone is that of a bedtime story. Listen at 1.25 or 1.5 speed.

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Smarter Safety

States how simple safety should be and can be, with cold-face discussions and no bull.

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  • Adrian
  • 20-05-18

Killed it Sidney.

Mate, as an Aussie in Mining Safety you know I know what you're saying and I appreciate you saying it... I must however point out something you skimmed over - mining industry regulators and retail regulators are not the same beast. Especially a monster regulator such as QLD Coal. Much of what you're referring to regarding "risk" is rats and mice in an underground coal mine. We killed over 100 men and boys in the 80's/90's explosions due to Mine Mgrs doing what you suggest - let them "self-govern". Some safety cultures are so inbred with distrust and resent that they almost toe the line of malice in their collective decision making styles. You talk "work the rule" these guys do it death, sometimes literally. Love to talk more about it - hit me on LinkedIn "Adrian Thompson - BHP".

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  • Peter S
  • 13-05-21

interesting set of challenges for organisations

Good challenges to too much bureaucracy and some great anecdotes of well meaning idiocy in organisations. Highly recommended.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-08-20

Safety and Political systems can learn from this.

Correlations between political systems and safety systems abound. Really centers around psychology of workers and safety management. Dekker may consider using another narrator, his voice is a little unique.

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  • maria patricia canney
  • 26-08-20

Extraordinario e inspirador

Todos los que estemos comprometidos en
abrazar el cambio para avanzar en la
Complejidad e incertidumbre lo debemos
Leer o escuchar no una
Varias veces.
Muchas gracias al profesor Dekker

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  • Justin Halford
  • 07-02-19

Eastwood reads safety...

The author of the book was also the narrator. In had issue trying to concentrate due to his voice sounding like Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood). Also, had trouble with his over use several words. For instance., I hope I never here "authoritarian high modernism" ever Gain. The author did have some valid points and I will use it in my field. I just struggled to finish the book.

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  • Reader Boy
  • 15-01-19

Safety Do-Over

A slow starting book but some super ideas were presented in the last 3 chapters. I'd like to try some out, could be tricky in a bureaucracy organization whose existence is about enforcement and the Taylorism view of predetermined "best" way to perform work with a mindset that is set on compliance only.

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  • PJ
  • 23-10-18

Pure Gold by Sidney Dekker

My first book I read by Sidney Dekker was on Just Culture, as part of my Masters degree research, and this was his second book which I bought as an audio book.

Again, Dekker makes genuinely profound observations that shakes the foundations of conventional wisdom around safety and operational practices. This should not only be required reading/listening for safety specialists, but also for managers in organizations where operations safety is a concern.

I especial appreciated Dekker narrating his own book. His performance is excellent and I generally enjoy when authors narrate their own books as they give the deeper meaning- only they can tell the story with the profoundness intended.