The book gets off to a great start by using the seasons of the year to profile different attitudes to safety, then follows a witty critique of different styles of safety manager, including the "reverend", "sergeant safety", the "official" and the "raggy dolls". It certainly grabbed my attention with the warning that safety teams can be one of the biggest obstacles to change in behavioural safety.
After this scene-setting, we move on with a series of reflections on why people behave as they do and how we might use these insights to steer things in the right direction. These are split broadly into a macro view (changing the organisation) and a micro view (changing the individual). Many of the quoted conversations have a ring of truth, and as an author, Stretton positions himself as a modest, human and friendly counsellor who is prone to the same corner-cutting temptations -- climbing onto a dining chair to change a bulb instead of fetching the steps -- as anyone else.
He sees the "all accidents are preventable" mantra as the "elephant in the room" that should be acknowledged and challenged. For me though, the book has its own elephant in the room, which is that it is self-published.
Self-publishing is a quick and easy way of bringing your thoughts to the world's attention. For the author, it means that it is always their book. But authors also miss out because there is no commissioning editor to force them to focus on their key messages, target readership and whether their content meets readers' needs. Nor is there any copy editor to de-bug their prose, warn them about things that don't quite make sense and correct typos. The result here is a bit rough around the edges: there are enough departures from the norms of grammar and syntax (and even words that are completely missed out) to leave the reader sometimes struggling to understand the point.
If you can get past that though, the author's warmth, humanity and commitment comes through, as does the depth of his practical experience.