Episode Summary

On this episode, we discuss why people break safety rules at work. Tune in to hear our discussion about the reasons safety rules are often broken.

Episode Notes


  • How to figure out which rules will be effective.
  • We use the paper Catching Them at It as a framework for our discussion.
  • Why rules are broken.
  • Who to interview to get to the heart of the matter.
  • Self-efficacy.
  • Balancing the need for compliance with decision-making.
  • How certain rules can be contradictory or problematic.


“In all safety-critical environments, there are endless possibilities for individuals actions to influence the work outcomes.”

“There are a lot of safety academics who don’t even like that construction of thinking about safety in terms of rule…”

“If you give people freedom, sometimes you’re not going to like where they take that freedom.”


Iszatt-White, M. (2007). Catching them at it: An ethnography of rule violation. Ethnography, 8(4), 445-465.