Reviews
Andrew Sharman, Routledge, £48 hardback *

Naked Safety: exploring the dynamics of safety in a fast-changing world (1st Edition)

Naked Safety is a thought-provoking and practical book intended to change perceptions about workplace safety. It suggests that safety management has lost its way and builds a strong case for a different approach, building real risk literacy. Sharman’s aim is to reduce bureaucracy, paperwork and performance charts to make things easier. He challenges the reader to think about how we work and to strip things back to basics – hence naked safety.

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Each chapter has a useful summary (headed “naked truths”) and a question set (“get naked”) to provoke critical thinking and a workplace review.

Part 1: Stripping back discusses the effects of globalisation, the governance landscape, the reality of risk and the value of safety. The globalisation chapter gives readers a broader perspective. Globalisation is presented as a “race to the bottom” that has led to 75% of the global workforce being located in low-income countries with poor safety standards. The book suggests that if globalisation is to be recognised as a force for good it has to raise the rate of economic growth in these countries. However, without global legislation and robust enforcement, the number of work-related injuries and deaths will inevitably increase. This is just one of Sharman’s naked truths.

Part 2: Getting down to business discusses the central pillars of safety, such as the role of corporate culture, change, safety culture, behaviour, safety leadership and engagement.

Part 3: Looking forward discusses the part played by the safety practitioner, performance management, health and wellbeing, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, the future of safety, and “creating safety”.

Noting that the safety professional’s role is marked by stigma, the book considers ways to repair this image and reposition practitioners as safety leaders. Though the world and the way we work have changed, the way we “do safety” has not, Sharman argues. Many organisations now find themselves on a performance plateau caused in part by following old models. The book calls on safety professionals to rethink their purpose, to accept a “new world order”. The author offers suggestions to do this: one is to think like the rest of the organisations we operate in and draw on the best practices of other business functions, which he says will lead to greater alignment.

Sharman provides an important guide for all professionals and business leaders and comes with an extensive reference section. Although experienced professionals will be familiar with much of the material, it will foster a healthy mindset in any reader and encourage us all to strip things back and, as the author says, get naked!

Routledge | www.routledge.com

* All prices correct at the time of review 

 

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