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Human Factors Conference Speaker Spotlight: Michael Abrashoff

Mike Abrashoff

Former U.S. Navy Captain Michael Abrashoff will be the opening keynote at the SafeStart Human Factors Conference this November.

Abrashoff is best known for taking command of the worst-performing navy ship and crew in the Pacific Fleet and turning them into the best in the fleet—using the same crew—in only one year. His speaking style aligns with SafeStart thought leaders in that he challenges his audience to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture. In his keynote, he will discuss how people can apply the same principles to their own sites and tie them in with human factors.

Abrashoff recently sat down with SafeStart’s Rodd Wagner to give you a preview of what you can expect from his presentation at the conference. Here’s a quick snippet:

Rodd Wagner: The hazards off the job most people would understand, but maybe very few would understand the hazards on the job. What are the greatest risks to life and limb on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer?

Mike Abrashoff: Anything can go wrong, from not tagging out a piece of electrical equipment when you’re working on it and getting electrocuted to not turning a valve properly and you have an oil spill. Everything we do on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is dangerous. Any minute of any day somebody could get seriously injured or killed. So that’s why we have to have solid procedures in place, but also we have to have a solid commitment on the part of the crew to adhere to those procedures. And you can’t order excellence and you can’t order safety, it’s part of a culture you create. One of the things I’ll be talking about at the conference is you can have the best procedures in the world, but if your people aren’t disciplined and if they aren’t connected to their work, then that’s when accidents happen. The best procedures in the world aren’t going to save you from that.

You can listen to the full interview on our website and register online for the SafeStart Human Factors Conference where Mike Abrashoff will be delivering the keynote.

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