Keene State College (KSC), in Keene New Hampshire, USA, is widely-recognized for their Safety and Occupational Health degree program. Many New England area Safety professionals are KSC Alumni. KSC’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has monthly educational events in concert with the Rho Sigma Kappa Honor Society. Cannon was invited to be the November 2016 presenter.
Cannon’s presentation “Investigation and Your Open Mind” introduced incident investigation as an integral component of a Safety Professional’s work. An emphasis was placed on thinking frameworks, and using these to guide the investigation process.
There are many ways to purposefully manage our thinking, “first we have to realize our ability to manage our own thoughts”, Cannon emphasized. Then, frameworks like the TOP-SET process and Edward de Bono’s 6 Hats can be brought into play for problem solving. Mind maps are an effective way to represent knowledge, questions and informational relationships.
Communication within the investigation team is key. Employ the power of dialogue. When we hear the thoughts and questions of others, it can stimulate more questions and ideas, and thus advance the investigation. We build upon the ideas of others, and the team benefits by recording these thoughts and questions- and using them to guide investigation activities.
While generating ideas and questions, it is important to examine ourselves. We all have inherent biases, and techniques can be applied to develop wider views for ensuring objectivity. Ensuring open thinking leads to a more thorough investigation.
Real-world examples were given illustrating James Reason’s Swiss Cheese theory.
Cannon wrapped up his talk by sharing three questions to ask yourself when promoting a Safety Culture, or undertaking a task <credit to Brad Brill>;
What will I be doing? How can it hurt me? How do I protect myself?