This is a conversation about a really important mission to improve health and safety. It’s also about extreme difficulty, persistence, and how being professional might actually mean straying far outside your one specific professional domain.

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.

Today my guest is Gareth Lock. Gareth doesn’t easily fit in a box or under a single label, as you’ll hear in a moment. Military, flying, human factors, HOP, and diving.

I’ve wanted bring a conversation with Gareth to you for a while, for three reasons. First, the people I know and trust have said wonderful things about him. Second, he is generous – his writing, travel, courses, and social media contributions are a cut above the rest. Just following him on Linkedin for three months and that is like a mini-course on its own. And third, Gareth is tackling some wicked problems in the health and safety space, and I had to see what lessons he is learning from what is very tough work.

Here’s Gareth:

What didd you take out of that conversation with Gareth Lock? I’d love to hear, and he would too. We’d all benefit if you posted a comment over at I personally reply to all your comments, because I value hearing from you and so do my guests.

My reflections, are maybe what you might call reading between the lines. It’s not explicitly what Gareth said, but what is hidden in between what he said.

Here’s my two takeaways from that conversation with Gareth Lock:

Takeaway #1: Gareth is not tied to a single discipline. He is a military guy but not stuck in that mindset. He is a human factors guy, but embracing HOP even though it arguably copies and waters down long standing human factors work. He draws on insights from language, story and storytelling, sensemaking, mental models, simulation and digital technology. He is being professional by not being stuck in any single professional domain. How often do you find yourself stuck, because you are just sticking with health and safety professional stuff? How often do you go outside, or beyond health and safety, to do your work?

Takeaway #2: Change must take into consideration the whole system you are working in. I mean system as all the parts and how the are connected. Gareth realises that the way change happens in diving is very different depending on whether it’s commercial or recreational diving, so he changes to suit. He also talked about how influencers, leaders, and first movers in the dividing space have been critical to his mission, which reflects the social aspects of the system he is in. How much time do you spend thinking about the system you are in, in all it’s facets?

If you liked this conversation, then here’s a few more podcats that will help you pull some of the threads we talked about today.

Speaking of the meaning of words and language, check out my conversation with Adam Johns in Ep162

Gareth mentioned the usefulness of mental models to help people make sense of things, learn more about mental models in Ep197

And in Ep165 we’ll explore how data fails when it is missing a story, and how storytelling needs to be a greater part of how we work.

And all the way back in Ep004, the inimitable Dr Drew Rae who talks us through how storytelling works in his work.

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?


Transcript – Ep221: Get outside your lane, with Gareth Lock

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