Episode Summary

On this episode, we discuss reality-based safety science.

Episode Notes

We have just co-authored a paper with two other researchers and it examines the big picture of safety science. We don’t usually like to plug ourselves, but we’re very excited about this particular accomplishment. We use his paper, A Manifesto for Reality-Based Safety Science, to frame our discussion.


  • Why practitioners shouldn’t tune out this podcast.
  • Evidence-based medicine as a reform movement.
  • Studying work, not accidents.
  • Investigate and theorize before measuring.
  • The lag in safety science.
  • Forecasting theories.
  • How safety knowledge is not fixed.


“There was a strong perception that there was a lot of evidence about what worked and didn’t work, that wasn’t making its way into practice.”

“When you study an accident, all of the analysis that you do is necessarily driven by counterfactual reasoning and hindsight bias.” 

“If the researchers are influencing it, if the researchers are controlling it, if the researchers are doing it, it stops being a case study and it becomes action research…”