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A Scientific Approach to Taking the Luck Out of Safety
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM.

A new book entitled Safe By Accident: Take the Luck out of Safety – Leadership Practices that Build a Sustainable Safety Culture, by Judy Agnew and Aubrey Daniels, offers a scientific approach to improving workplace safety based on the science of human behavior. Published November 1, 2010, by Performance Management Publications (hard cover, $21.95), it is available at Agnew is senior vice president at Aubrey Daniels International (ADI) and holds a Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis. Daniels is the founder and chairman of ADI and an internationally recognized authority on management, leadership and workplace issues.


Safe by Accident was written for the leadership of companies who are interested in taking their organizations to the next level in safety. It is very informative on the science behind behavioral based safety programs. Managers and leaders of organizations who currently do not have or are just starting to look at a behavioral-based safety process would find this book very helpful.


Although it calls into question the effectiveness of many “time-honored” safety programs – calling them a waste of time and money and potentially creating a less safe work environment – it does offer suggestions on what to do instead. It is likely that most who read this book will find it hard to reject all the items that the authors feel are ineffective. With that being said, however, it does leave the reader with a more in-depth thought process around the “why” employees work at-risk and what a proactive organization can do to change a culture where that is accepted. At the very least readers of this publication will come away with two or three new ideas or thought processes that will help them to achieve a culture of safety.


This review is by Kris Chipman, Environmental, Health, & Safety Professional at Cianbro Fabrication & Coating Corporation, on behalf of the AISC Safety Committee. It is one of a series of book, training and product reviews available at Please visit the AISC safety page and take advantage of resources there. If you have safety ideas, products that deserve a review, or improvements to our model safety program elements, please send them to




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