Since the Chernobyl accident in 1986 there has been significant effort in a number of industries (e.g. nuclear power, chemical and offshore oil and gas, space, medicine and air traffic management) to measure safety culture and safety climate. In some industries, notably nuclear power where arguably safety culture originated (or at least flourished), large-scale accidents since Chernobyl have been avoided (although an incident at the US Davis Besse nuclear plant in 2002 reminded the industry of the dangers of poor safety culture). Certain other industries have been less fortunate. The UK’s Piper Alpha offshore platform disaster (1988; 167 dead) had many safety culture attributes (Cullen, 1990), and was a salutary lesson for the oil and gas industry.Yet the Texas City explosion (2005: 15 dead, 170 injured) was also seen as a safety culture accident (Baker, 2007), in particular an over-focus on occupational safety rather than process safety culture. A new CEO was brought in following Texas City and pledged to sort out the safety problems, yet five years later BP suffered America’s worst environmental disaster with the explosion and resulting oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon platform (11 dead; environmental unquantified at this time), despite his efforts. The space industry has also seen the Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986: seven dead), seen bymany as a quintessential ‘safety culture’accident (videos on safety culture and Challenger are often used to help managers understand the link between their decision-making and safety). Yet in 2003 the space shuttle Columbia disaster occurred (seven dead), with a new management failing (as with Challenger) to recognise the relevance of engineering concerns for safety. In these industries, either safety culture does not prevent accidents, or it is not improving enough, and/or safety culture is not ‘sharp enough’

where it needs to be, which is at the so-called ‘blunt end’ (management). This paper is concerned with the latter hypothesis; we need to help CEOs ‘fight the good fight’ (for safety).