Dan Petersen – Safety Icon

November 13, 2012 Dave Weber No Comments


Dan Petersen (1932 – 2007) is considered by many to be one of the fathers of modern safety.  He has received just about every honor and award there is in occupational safety and health including being named a “Fellow” of the ASSE, and being voted national president of the ASSE.

In the 1950’s and before, occupational safety was the relm of engineers and inspectors.  Industrial safety programs focused strictly on the machine/tool/environment.   Dan Petersen (a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Management) and his close friend D.A. Weaver were among the first to recognize and address the human behavioral side of safety.

Dan was a prolific writer, and wrote extensively on:

  • behavioral safety
  • culture assessment
  • perception surveys
  • managing employee stress
  • performance measurement & reward
  • accountability – safety by objectives
  • human error reduction
  • safety supervision

I first met Dan Petersen in 1975 at a seminar he was conducting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Then in 1994 we reconnected when I hired him to write a book on safety accountability  for  my employer.

Dan Petersen’s writings should be considered requisite reading for all safety practitioners and occupational safety students.    I strongly encourage you to buy one or more of his 18 books; all of which are available through our Amazon.com click-through ad on the right.   


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