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The Safety Anarchist


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Table of Contents



Chapter 1: A Case for Change

Chapter 2: We know what's best for you

Chapter 3: Authoritarian High Modernism

Chapter 4: The safety bureaucracy

Chapter 5: What gets measured, gets manipulated

Chapter 6: The infantilization of us

Chapter 7: A new religion

Chapter 8: A non-deterministic world

Chapter 9: Anarchy versus anarchism

Chapter 10: Ways out



About the Author

Sidney Dekker (PhD, The Ohio State University, 1996) is currently Professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he runs the Safety Science Innovation Lab. More at


'Having been a safety professional for 28 years I am absolutely appalled at this man's attitude towards the safety profession. My work colleagues and I could not believe it when he referred to health and safety professionals as 'Safety Nazi's' and HR as 'Human Remains'. Does this man honestly believe that 250 years after the industrial revolution safety professionals have made little or no difference to reducing the risk of injury in workplaces...what a disgrace!! And then he goes on to say that if a worker gets killed at work he must have been a good worker, is he serious? I was absolutely gobsmacked at his comment. What a waste of money. Let's hope he never returns to our State.'

'Best work on health and safety I have ever seen. Thoroughly researched, real-life examples and common sense. Dekker avoids all the usual garbage and bureaucratese that is so counterproductive to safety, and which completely bedevils the safety profession and regulators.' - Audience responses to Safety Anarchist lecture, 2016

'There is deep and meaningful content in here - though the articulations on issues such as authoritarian high modernism, synoptic legibility and the superiority of rationality certainly had this reviewer reaching for a reference book. As respite, the book closes with suggestions on a new way forward - each well-positioned, timely and relevant.' - Andrew Sharman CFIOSH, IOSH Magazine

'This book should appeal to anyone working in organizations, and although the topic is safety, I suspect that things are not much different for any functional discipline in a large organization. If you are a safety professional, I'd suggest taking a deep breath, opening your mind and thinking critically about your current role while reading. If you then decide you want to make changes, I'm sure you'll get support by passing a few copies of the book around your management team.' - David J. Provan, School of Humanities, Griffith University

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