Episode Summary

On today’s episode, we discuss if it’s wise to adopt a “zero-harm” policy and if it is actually beneficial to improving safety.

Episode Notes

We use the papers, Zero Accident, Vision-Based Strategies in Organizations; Zero Vision, Enlightenment, and Religion; and UK Construction Safety: A Zero Paradox to frame our discussion. Tune in to hear what we think!


  • The concept of zero-harm.
  • The pros and cons of a zero-harm approach.
  • When management makes safety-focused decisions.
  • Can zero-harm lead to distorted reporting?
  • Can you accurately compare zero and non-zero groups in a study?


“Yes: Every individual accident, there’s ways that we can find that it could have been avoided, but do we think that we can run a national road network and never kill anyone?”

“I think we have to keep in mind that if you’re not going to do quantitative evaluation research, then the conclusions that you draw can’t be quantitatively evaluated conclusions.”

“Over the study period, the zero group had four fatalities and the non-zero group had no fatalities.”


Zwetsloot, G. I., Kines, P., Wybo, J. L., Ruotsala, R., Drupsteen, L., & Bezemer, R. A. (2017). Zero Accident Vision based strategies in organisations: Innovative perspectivesSafety science91, 260-268.

Dekker, S. (2017). Zero commitment: commentary on Zwetsloot et al., and Sherratt and DaintyPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety15(2), 124-130.

Zwetsloot, G. (2017). Vision Zero: promising perspectives and implementation failures. A commentary on the papers by Sherratt and Dainty, and DekkerPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety15(2), 120-123.

Sherratt, F., & Dainty, A. R. (2017). UK construction safety: a zero paradox?Policy and Practice in Health and Safety15(2), 108-116.

Sherratt, F., & Dainty, A. R. (2017). Responses to the vision zero articlesPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety15(2), 117-119.

Dekker, S. W., Long, R., & Wybo, J. L. (2016). Zero vision and a Western salvation narrativeSafety science88, 219-223.

Dekker, S. (2017). Zero Vision: enlightenment and new religionPolicy and Practice in Health and Safety15(2), 101-107.