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No, it's not safety first

Earlier this week I posted a somewhat controversial video where I talked about the fact that safety isn't first, and shouldn't be.

At the time of writing this, the video has had over 2200 views and numerous comments, reshares and other discussions generated by others that have referenced my thoughts shared.

So let me clarify a bit more because I'm certain there's many out there who are wondering why the CEO of a company that specializes in workplace incident investigations and ICAM training is suggesting that it shouldn't be safety first in your workplace.

We investigate over 100 incidents a year (in the last 6 months alone, we've investigated 5 incidents which have resulted in 6 fatalities), and we deliver over 400 ICAM Investigation courses globally. The reality is, there are far too many incidents occurring in the workplace, especially serious and high potential incidents.

So why would I not support Safety First?

Because safety isn't a stand-alone thing we do. We don't turn it on or turn it off. We don't bolt it onto an activity we do.

It MUST be embedded in everything we do. As we work through the life cycle of our activities at work (I used the example of table coasters in the video), we need to understand risk and we then need to embed safe work practices into every step of the design, manufacture, and despatch (and beyond) process.

We need to proactively assess what we're doing. We need to reactively re-assess when things go wrong (and remember it doesn't have to be safety-related- ICAM is adaptable to process variations, mechanical breakdowns, IT failures- pretty much any type of incident!).

Safe work practices need to become "the way we work". It's business as usual.

Productions first, safety always. Not first. Not last. It's how we work.

Interested in Knowing More?

Further information on Safety Wise’s Incident Cause Analysis (ICAM) Training is available from our website:

Additional ICAM Related Services

Safety Wise also offers the following additional services for sites that adopt the ICAM investigation analysis method:

  • Quality review of incident investigations using ICAM

  • Participation in investigations as an external/independent party

  • Investigation coaching


ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Luke Dam (Chief Executive Officer)

Luke has worked in various industries over the years including pharmaceutical, retail, manufacturing, and transport including iconic brands like WesFarmers, Goodyear, CSL Limited, and Incitec Pivot Limited.

His work in OHS and learning and development has seen him deliver services to clients, both internal and external as well as managing service delivery teams around the world.

Luke holds a Graduate Certificate of Management (Learning) as well as a Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety, a Diploma of Training and Assessment Systems, a Certificate IV Workplace Training and Assessment, a Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response & Rescue and a Certificate II in Public Safety (SES Rescue).

Luke is extensively involved in a project to establish an association dedicated to confined space safety and to drive change in legislation to promote best-practice in this high-risk area. Luke is passionate about online OHS and incident investigation communities, moderating a number of large LinkedIn groups boasting over 11,000 members globally.


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