ASSE Safety 2012 Highlights: Renewed interest in RCA programs, proactivity

Brian Hughes, Vice President

We attended the American Society for Safety Engineers “Safety 2012” conference in Denver, CO last week.  Our second major conference since launching Sologic in December 2011, this one was special because it represented our first opportunity to share Sologic with the Safety crowd, face-to-face, in an international forum.  The meaningful interaction and interest exceeded our expectations. 

I appreciated being invited to present safety best practices from the RCA perspective again this year.  As trainers, consultants, and investigators, we are positioned in a sort of crossroads of new ideas and thinking, which gives us unique opportunities to develop, combine and share valuable new insights. 

My presentation focused on one idea we hear raised continually: there is potentially tremendous value in conducting RCAs on events with positive outcomes.  The idea is to understand what caused the positive outcome so that we can replicate it.  Client work in 2011 provided us with some valuable real-life experience with this, and we were able to share it with this year’s conference attendees.  It was clearly an idea that many found intriguing -- I counted 130 people in the audience about five minutes before kicking off my presentation.  Engagement was good, with lots of pertinent questions and dialogue coming from attendees during and after the presentation, including at our booth. 

My primary goal was to show that conducting an RCA on an event with a significant positive outcome is not only interesting, but also lucrative.  I plan on using this presentation in the future, so I won’t give away all the good stuff here.  But one thing was surprisingly enlightening -- even though the focus of the investigation involves an event with positive outcomes, not everything we discovered was positive.  In fact, in the example I reference in the presentation, there were plenty of opportunities to do even better.  These would not have been uncovered without completing the RCA.  The same is true with events that have predominantly negative outcomes – rarely is everything rotten. 

Especially after my presentation, but even before, booth traffic was overwhelming at times.  I got the sense that companies are refreshing their commitment to RCA programs after a few years of uncertainty, and therefore looking at RCA methods, tools and providers with a fresh set of eyes.  One thing that was surprising, in a good way – even though many Sologic clients were in attendance – a large percentage of people who visited our booth were new faces. While we always appreciate the opportunity to catch up with old friends, there is something electrifying about hearing fresh experiences and perspectives, which in turn augment our cumulative perspective and benefit our entire client base.

We’ll be back next year.  We have some ideas for presentations in 2013, but if there is something you’d like to see us explore in greater detail – or if you have an idea/experience you’d like to co-present – please let me know.  The deadline is coming up fast (July 13) so there’s not a lot of time!  But even if the idea’s only half-baked, drop me a note and we can discuss the possibilities.

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