Safety is a subject which, in this industry, is always a pre-occupation, whether or not some incident has, for the moment, focussed media and public attention on it. The reason is both moral and commercial. Moral in that we all have an obligation to minimise risks to people; commercial in that none of us has a vested interest in accidents, and more particularly because we know that safety, efficiency and cost effectiveness go hand in hand and are not in conflict. Good safety management is quite simply one aspect of a good and efficient operation; there is every reason to strive after it. The only question is how?

Our industry is man-made and man-operated. All accidents are either Acts of God or caused by people. There is no other agency involved.

In regard to Acts of God, we can pray. In regard to the remainder we need to get hold of and hang on to the crucial point, that people are both the cause of accidents and the prime defence against accidents.

The title of my paper refers to emphasis.

The theme of my paper will be that because people are individuals and difficult to generalise about, the great weight of attention is given over to hardware, equipment, systems and procedures which can be specified, spelt out, written down and measured against, with at least the appearance of authenticity and with a comfortable feeling of responsibility.

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