Introducing: The Safety Brains Trust

Greg Matten

Safe work practices start with a different mindset involving core values, emotions and processed thinking, according to the founder of The Safety Brains Trust, Greg Matten.

The Hibiscus Coast based business, which launched in December, is engaging with small to medium sized business, as well as large corporations, to talk about safety from a different perspective.

“The traditional approach is to look at processes, layers of controls and defenses, all managed by a ‘safety department’,” Greg says.

“We’re tipping this on its head by creating awareness and understanding around safety being an outcome of the behaviour of individuals and groups, which in turn is driven by thoughts based on beliefs and values.

“We live in times of rapid (technology-driven) change, cultural diversity, information overload, distraction, fatigue and increasing stress. These are often impediments to safe outcomes, so there is a lot of potential for human factors to lead to unsafe outcomes.”

Instruction is delivered in modules over six to 12 months, and covers mental resilience, human factors and effective communication, and cognitive safety.

The team – Greg, plus collaborators Jamie Ford and Jake Sachs – has a diverse range of experience across many sectors from not-for-profits to teaching and mental wellness.

Greg himself has had 30 years in the aviation industry, including four years as a pilot in the South African Air Force. He has also worked as a flight instructor, an aircraft accident investigator, and as the investigation and audit manager for an airline. He moved to New Zealand in 2008 to give his two sons a better life and shifted to the Hibiscus Coast seven years ago.

Greg says he will approach high schools in the area soon to discuss rolling out a pilot programme called SOFT (Safe Outcomes Focused Thinking) aimed at students in their last years of school.

“It would be a real investment in the future, because although the benefits probably wouldn’t manifest in statistics for five to 10 years, the benefits to society would be immediate. The idea is to create an entirely new workforce that understands that safety is the outcome of a deliberate and considered way of thinking and acting.”

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