“I embarked on the path of human and organizational performance (HOP) and Safety II thinking around 2017. My journey began in the wake of a major fatality event in another organization I had been part of.” Cindi Nandlal, a seasoned professional, shares her journey of discovery, highlighting the challenges she faced and overcame along the way.

Struggling with Disillusionment

The unfortunate event sparked a period of disillusionment in me with the safety discipline. I felt that the existing tools and philosophies didn’t quite measure up when dealing with significant events and their inherent complexity.

Discovering a New View

I attended a session by Todd Conklin at the American Society of Safety Professionals conference, where I was introduced to HOP, which was referred to as the ‘New View.’ This was something I had no prior knowledge of, and it took me by surprise as I had always prided myself on being up-to-date in my field.

Impact of a Single Book

Undeterred by my lack of knowledge, I purchased and read Todd Conklin’s ‘Pre Accident Investigation’ book. This book resonated deeply with me, offering a satisfying understanding of complexity and how fatalities occur.

Juggling Two Responsibilities

At the time of the fatality, I was wearing two hats: I was a non-executive director and the HSC lead. The weight of these roles was immense, but Conklin’s book inspired me to delve deeper into the field, despite the growing discomfort it brought.

Pursuit of More Knowledge

My discomfort spurred my search for more knowledge. I began reaching out to professionals like Bob Edwards and Andrea Bakker on LinkedIn, listening to podcasts, and exploring every available avenue to gain more insights.

Books That Guided My Journey

The five books that profoundly impacted me were ‘The Field Guide to Human Error’ by Sidney Dekker, ‘Risk-Based Thinking’ by Tony Muschara, ‘Paper Safe’ by Gregory Smith, ‘Pre Accident Investigation’ by Todd Conklin, and ‘Think Again’ by Adam Grant. The last one, while not a safety book, encouraged rethinking and reframing one’s perspective.

A Journey of Continuous Learning

As I continued to immerse myself in the HOP journey, I discovered other resources such as the writings of Nick Milton and the podcast by Todd Conklin. My immersion in the HOP space became my tool to constantly challenge and broaden my understanding.

This has been my journey as a safety professional, grappling with the complexities of my field, navigating a path that is often uncomfortable yet ultimately rewarding.