Where do good questions go to die? How does the rise of idols help or hinder us? What’s the pathless path? And what does it mean to work towards enduring relevance?

Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap.

Since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Welcome to you, you’re in the right place.  If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve! And of course welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.

Dr Jason Fox joins us for a chat today.  Jason’s name has come up numerous times in previous podcasts, from me and some of my guests.  Jason’s been on the list to talk to as there are so many points of reference or connectedness, or as Jason says today ‘poly-angulating’.  Jason’s writing and thinking has influenced the way I think and work, and the recent launch of his own podcast The Cleverness  seemed like a great occasion to link up.  It was a real pleasure to go meandering with him, and for you to join us.


There are plenty of podcasts, books and other references in this conversation, so I’ve included all the links at safetyontap.com/ep096.  While you are there, you can download my personal handwritten reflection notes from this chat, which includes your own reflection template, plus you can get a transcript of the episode for your future reference. That’s all at safetyontap.com/ep096

We’re nearing episode 100! I’m pretty excited about it, not because the number is particularly special, but because of what it represents.  For me, it represents an opportunity to celebrate something new, something that started out as an experiment and has grown into a mission for me, and community for all of us.

So how to celebrate? I’d love to put you on my podcast.  Send me an email to andrew@safetyontap.com and let me know briefly what episode or episodes have made a positive impact on you and how, and I’ll put you on the air! That might sound uncomfortable for some of you, which means that’s exactly what you need to do.  Don’t shy away from it.  Episode 50 worked really well with amazing contributions from a handful of people, I’d love to showcase even more.  Send me an email and we’ll make it happen.  Don’t delay, it’s fast approaching!

Here’s my chat with Dr Jason Fox:



Links to some of the things we discussed :

The Problem with Struggle Porn

On-being Podcast, with Krista Tippet.

Building the Plane while we’re flying it, a funny video of a common idiom

The Courage to be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Some general reading I’ve found helpful about institutional logics  here


and here


A recent talk by Prof Andrew Hopkins on problems with culture, and safety culture (get ready to be challenged)

I love how different this conversation was to previous interviews.  Firstly, it wasn’t an interview, it was a conversation.  Second, did you notice how it was hard to tell when it started and when it finished? I think there is a lesson in that for all of us that sometimes having nice neat discreet distinctions works, but being a little less rigid, defined, or structured can work just as well as much as we feel discomfort from the apparent lack of order.

I also stopped recording right at a juicy question, when I asked Jason about him making meaningful progress.  Jason also talked about how some of the best conversations happen before or after the main conversation.  It’s like the meeting after the meeting, where so much important and relevant dialogue happens.  Take that as both a teaser and a takeaway: how are you searching for those emergent, unplanned, and super valuable interactions? What relationships are you cultivating so you can ask deep questions, and bravely if still uncomfortably lean into the response?

And I’m sorry for the popping noises from the microphone.  Ironically before we hit record, Jason and I were getting nerdy about microphones and I was saying that the one I was using was pretty cheap and good quality.  Seems not.  How ironic!

Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Jason:

Takeaway #1: Resist the urge to simplify.  My takeaways each episode are designed to be my personal reflections, which doesn’t mean they will be yours! It is more effortful, and time consuming to do your own reflection, but you will get more from it.  So don’t take what anyone else has done, or suggests on face value.  This ain’t the three steps to implementing learning from this podcast.  It’s me practicing what I preach.  On that note too, I’ve reflected on how I articulate taking action.  Sometimes it’s ok not to act, and to think more.  That’s cool.

Takeaway #2: I’m not a huge reader in the arts or philosophy, though I dabble in the latter.  But Jason’s descriptions of modernism, postmodernism and metamodernism got me really curious.  I’m reading more info this, in particular looking for where these may have informed or challenge our ways of thinking and working in health and safety.  As a snippet, Vermulen and van den Akker asset that “the postmodern culture of relativism, irony, and pastiche is over, having been replaced by a post-ideological condition that stresses engagement, affect, and storytelling”.  It makes me curious to learn more, which is a good sign for my growth.  What about you? What different perspectives inform or shape you, and us? Could you benefit from looking up and out from your normal spaces of thinking and sources of insight?

Takeaway #3:  This one might be a little reductionist, and action oriented, but indulge me.  Jason’s work talks about shaping our enduring relevance.  I think health and safety professionals are at great risk of becoming irrelevant.  Thinking and working differently are necessary for us to survive and thrive.  But getting started can be hard.  So my simplistic and actionable takeaway is just to reflect on how often you say no, and how often you say something other than no.  And if you’re worried what that alternative might be, just try and say YES, AND….then fill in your own blank at the end of that sentence.  I’ve seen it drastically change the way people think and work, and fuel their own relevance.

I would really love to hear what your takeaways were from that chat.  You can let me know via andrew@safetyontap.com, or better yet let’s start a more open conversation if you post a comment over at safetyontap.com/ep096, then everyone can benefit.  I read and reply to every single comment.

Thanks so much for listening.  Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way?  (which, by the way, might simply to do more exploring, reading, reflecting or thinking or dialogue).  Seeya!


Here’s your FREE download of:

 – my handwritten notes, PLUS a reflection template for you to use for this episode.  


 – The full transcript of this episode.  

I’ll also send you the links to all the available back-catalogue of reflection templates and transcripts so you can access these at any time.