Given the different models about risk and accidents, what should your safety department do, and how and where should it be organized? The answers tend to differ across industries. Until not so long ago, for example, many hospitals would have no meaningful safety function. Even the airline I flew for had a safety department of exactly one person. Now, in many ways that could be a good thing: it prevents the bureaucratization of safety, or the sense that safety is the problem of the safety department and that everybody else can just focus on operations. But it can also have downsides: a lack of safety intelligence in the organization, or an inability to respond adequately to incidents, for instance. So let’s look at the other side. I know a construction company that has hundreds of safety people globally. Oil majors may have even more. Many people in those safety departments, however, may be kept busy with record-keeping and managing various liabilities and accountabilities, and may have little sense of what it takes to do an operational job safely. Indeed, the correlation between the number of safety people and these organizations’ and industries’ safety records seems pretty loose.