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Cristian
Sylvestre

Safety and human error prevention specialist.

Profile

Cristian Sylvestre is the Managing Director of SafeStart, a human error prevention programme that has achieved a consistent 60-90% reduction in workplace incidents within six to 12 months of its implementation. He has had a long career in safety, having held various senior safety and environmental roles in ICI, Shell and other organisations over a 20 year period where he has developed a unique way of thinking about safety.

Cristian is a human error prevention specialist - not from an academic or psychological perspective but from a practical one. He is currently assisting a number of organisations develop and implement leading edge human error prevention programs focused at the individual level.

The programs he helps organisations implement reduce incident rates by teaching people how to be responsible for their own safety - safety culture change through human error prevention.

Cristian, who holds a Chemical Engineering Degree with Honours and a Masters Degree, is a frequent speaker at safety conferences across Australia and New Zealand. He has presented numerous keynote presentations in public and private events to a varied number of industries.

Expertise
Talking Points

Keeping Your Mind on the Job

Why do so many people still get hurt at work? Most incidents don't happen because the person didn't know the hazard was present or what controls were required. Incidents typically happen because the person wasn't focused at the time, and as a result, came into contact with a hazard. Traditional approaches to rectify this concentrate on...
Retraining, in case the problem was a lack of knowledge;
Reviewing the decision making framework, in case it was a 'bad' decision; and
Discipline, in case it was a deliberate act.
However, the problem of poor focus is not able to be solved by the traditional approaches listed above. We are accustomed to blaming tiredness, problems at home, outside distractions and other external factors that are outside the control of the workplace for poor focus.

Most organisations have worked out that our behaviour has a lot to do with our injuries. However, they have a tendency to address the issue assuming that our behaviour is always 'deliberate' - it's either about a judgement or a 'choice'. Sometimes it is. When it isn't, it has a lot to do with operating in 'autopilot' mode.

Recent research has shown that over 95% of acute injuries are caused by specific behavioural patterns - the same mistakes (albeit unintentional) we make repeatedly. This means that over 95% of incidents are preventable.

Neuroscience has confirmed this recently by discovering the part of the brain that is responsible for 95% of our behavior. That is, it has located where our 'automatic' or 'habitual' brain lives.

Because habits cannot be turned 'on' or 'off', these easy to understand and instinctive behavioural patterns that cause people to get hurt apply at work, at home and on the road as well.

'Keeping Your Mind on the Job' takes people through an 'eye opening' journey of discovery so they can understand how they get hurt for themselves. It relates this to what neuroscience has identified as the 'missing piece' to the safety puzzle and explores how we can make better use of this new found understanding.

We can't control distractions and external factors. But we can teach people how to manage their 'automatic' behaviour better. The areas covered include...
The important role 'self' plays in injuries;
The behavioural patterns that result in 95% of all acute injuries;
The three step incident causation model; and
The difference between the deliberate brain (when we do things consciously) and the 'automatic' or 'habitual' brain (when we do things on 'autopilot').
The information in this presentation gives people a different perspective for incident causation. It encourages them to take responsibility for their own safety. It deals with maximising safety culture improvement by acknowledging that people need help to keep their minds focused on the job at hand.

Using Our Brain as Personal Protective Equipment

When we injured ourselves as children, our parents asked us: 'Did you hurt yourself?' They didn't automatically blame the hazard; rather, they saw that at least part of the cause was in our own behaviour. By contrast, safety legislation and safety management systems at work leave us thinking that only hazards cause injuries, not people. In other words, people are not responsible for their own safety - it's the hazards fault.

Being the hazard's fault does not always address the problem because we cannot deal with all the hazards all the time. Some organisations have worked out that our behaviour has a lot to do with our injuries. However, they have a tendency to address the issue assuming that our behaviour is always a 'choice'. When we get hurt, sometimes it involves a 'choice' but most of the time it doesn't. Recent research shows that over 95% of acute injuries are caused by a specific and universal pattern of human behaviour - the same mistakes (albeit unintentional) we make repeatedly. This means that over 95% of incidents are preventable.

'Using Our Brain as Personal Protective Equipment' outlines the easy to understand and instinctive patterns of human behavior that cause people to get hurt. Interestingly, they not only apply at work, but also at home and on the road as well.

The presentation takes people through an 'eye opening' journey of discovery so they can understand how they interact with the things around them and how they get hurt. The areas covered include...
The 13 most common acute injuries people have;
The three sources of unexpected events that cause incidents and the role 'self' plays;
The personal injury pyramid for life;
The four states and four critical errors that result in 95% of all acute injuries people have;
The three step incident causation model;
The significant role human error prevention (or individual mindfulness) plays in improving safety culture (or organisational mindfulness);
The information in this presentation gives people a different way to think about safety and a different perspective about their own behavior. It encourages people to take responsibility for their own safety. Most incidents do not happen at work, they happen at home and on the road. This presentation deals with safety for all aspects of life. Off the job safety incidents affect many more people than on the job safety incidents - to the tune of 3:1 (for fatalities) and 10:1 (for injuries) in western societies. But not much is available to manage off the job safety.

This presentation deals with maximizing safety culture improvement by acknowledging that people make mistakes without meaning to - not just at work, but also at home and on the road as well.
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