With son and friends on the first tee at the Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
Brooks Carder is a principal in Carder and Associates LLC and a consultant to major corporations in industrial safety. He received a BA from Yale and a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. His career spans several years on the Psychology faculty at UCLA, followed by over 30 years in various senior executive positions in small businesses. During the entire period, he was engaged in consulting as well.
In the late1980¹s, Carder became acquainted with the work of W. Edwards Deming, and, with Dr. Deming¹s encouragement, wrote several articles on the psychological aspects of quality for Quality Progress. In 1990, Carder was one of the first to apply Deming¹s principles to industrial safety.
Working with a client, Patrick Ragan, who was at that time Safety Director of Rhone-Poulenc’s North American chemical business, he developed an improvement process based on an employee survey. The survey and the improvement process are described in more detail on the Safety improvement process page of this website, in a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Safety Research, and in their book, Measurement Matters; How Effective Assessment Drives Business and Safety Performance. The process begins with a safety culture survey of all employees, including senior management. Results are fed back to the employees and improvement teams are formed to work on the issues revealed by the survey. Their first job is to understand why the employees answered as they did. Based on that understanding, improvement plans are developed and implemented.
The typical result of these efforts is a reduction in the accident rate of 30-50 percent. Perhaps more important is the fact that the survey deals extensively with process safety. This relates to the production, storage, transportation, and use of hazardous materials. In chemical plants, refineries, and nuclear facilities the accident rates tend to be low, but the potential exists for major incidents, like the meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979, or the explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005, which killed 15 and injured more than 170.
In addition to the book and the articles described above, Carder and Ragan authored the chapter on Benchmarking and Performance Criteria, in The Safety Professionals Handbook, published by the ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers). Carder has authored over 50 articles in scientific and professional journals.
Carder continues to refine the survey process. In the Spring of 2013 he completed a survey for a large multinational, covering 12,000 employees, on six continents, in eight languages.
His clients have included ExxonMobil, Monsanto, Bayer, GE, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Nestle, and Abbott Laboratories.
Carder's most recent work is bringing the power of positive psychology to the practice of safety and quality.