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November 10, 2014

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Behavioural Safety

Behavioural safety information and resources

Behavioural safety plays a significant role in helping avoid accidents and ill-health at work.

Behavioural safety is the application of behavioural research on human performance to the problems of safety in the workplace.

Behavioural safety is changing unsafe behaviour into safe behaviour

Everybody who works to reduce accidents in the workplace is concerned with human behaviour as, according to the HSE website, up to 80% of accidents are often attributed to human error.‟

Two approaches to behavioural safety

There are two basic approaches to improving the human factors in safety: 1) changing the way people think and feel to change behaviour; or 2) directly address the behaviour to get people to do the right things at the right time. The first is encapsulated in ‘hearts and minds’ campaigns, while behavioural safety processes address the second. Many believe the issue is binary: adopt one or the other.

Which works best? No quantitative evidence is available to show the hearts and minds approach positively impacts safety performance. Conversely, numerous published studies show quantifiable impacts on injury reduction from behavioural safety approaches.                    

Both approaches attempt to engage employees in safety. Engaged employees are five times less likely to be hurt, and seven times less likely to experience an LTI[i],[ii], however, changes in a person’s values, beliefs, and attitudes have to come from within. Based on a person’s self-evaluation showing the tangible effects of desired outcomes, this is uncertain and takes a long time to affect behaviour[iii]. Depending on the person’s commitment to change it also takes between two to eight months of consistent performance for behaviour(s) to become a habit[iv]. Importantly, engaging work-groups in safety, rather than individuals, leads to greater behaviour change and incident reduction

.

Regardless, many safety professionals fail to consider the power of the prevailing situation when attempting behaviour and attitude change[vi]. In safety, this often means the presence of human error traps[vii], system faults, physical hazards, poor communications, lackadaisical safety leadership, etc. Optimising the situation optimises behaviour. For example, there is compelling evidence that completing corrective actions to eliminate hazards (i.e. change the situation) leads to an average 21% change in people’s safety behaviour[viii]. In turn, the behaviour change can be the precursor for belief and attitude changes[ix],[x].

Scientific research shows that any safety improvement initiative is doomed to failure if it does not concurrently address: 1) the way people think and feel about safety; 2) people’s safety behaviour, and 3) the prevailing situation. So the question arises: why does a large portion of the safety profession ignore the opportunities presented by this tri-partite approach?

Behavioural safety articles

Is online training a ‘new normal’?

Avoiding the pitfalls of online training with some simple steps. Dr Nick Bell shares his thoughts about this new way of working.

‘Placing health & safety at the forefront of the procurement decision making process’. Thames Water’s Karl Simons discusses the AMP6 Engagement Strategy

SHP caught up with Thames Water’s Karl Simons to learn about the culmination of a major five-year investment programme titled AMP6, that would see a radical shift in direction and lead to outcomes never seen by a major capital programme before.

Managing a safe return to work after lockdown

Offering some guidance on business recovery management, global operations and safety management consultancy DuPont Sustainable Solutions has put together some tips and a checklist to help businesses manage a safe restart.

From Crisis to Opportunity: 5 things leaders must do to reset culture

Ella NilaKanthi Ford explores why a new kind of leadership is needed to help organisations move forward safely in these changing and challenging times.

Assess your safety culture for free: Safety Culture Snapshot App from RMS & Gensuite

Gensuite, a configurable best practice, cloud-based HSE software platform provider, in partnership with European safety leadership consulting firm RMS, is offering the free Safety Culture Snapshot App to managers, supervisors and team leaders looking to assess and enhance their team’s safety culture.

Webinar: Safely back to business

In this on-demand webinar, hear from SafetyCulture’s COO Alistair Venn, GM of EMEA Dan Joyce, and VP of Product Brian Swift as they discuss what companies need to do to get their workers safely back to work and how important a data-driven early warning system is for businesses.

It’s time for safety to shine

As lockdown kicked in, no one saw the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity. But opinions can change, as the results of a latest Insight document reveal.

Using social safety to drive behavioural change

Are you one of the growing number of organisations applying behavioural safety principles? Have you checked that the behavioural principles you’re applying are based on the most up-to-date evidence? Or are they based, as too many are, on Pavlovian theories of reward and punishment developed a century ago by studying dogs salivating for food?

‘As long as we’re sensible the crisis could pay great dividends for us as a profession,’ SHP meets Neil Lennox, Head of Group Safety & Insurance at Sainsbury’s

Anyone who is a registered customer of Sainsbury’s, or any major supermarket chain for that matter, will have no doubt been kept regularly updated by email about the ongoing work to tackle coronavirus in branches up and down the country. But what about the workers behind the scenes, in the warehouse and logistics arm of food retail?

Spotlight on university safety and security

We look at how a commercial and an academic venture are tackling the security challenges faced by university students.

Health and safety when ‘dragonhunting’

‘Long before I facilitated health, safety and wellbeing training, I helped groups of friends to plunder lost tombs and avert Orc invasions. My name’s Nick and I play Dungeons and Dragons’. What could health and safety trainers could learn from a dungeon master?

How the construction industry is recognising and tackling fatigue

Marcus de Guingand from Third Pillar of Health, explores some of the common findings in respect of fatigue in construction from conversations with industry professionals. He’ll also delve into some of the consequences and look at how you can help reduce this hidden problem.

The New Rules of Safety: Pace and urgency

Professor Andrew Sharman explores how leadership communications influence not just the pace of work, but the urgency of worker safety and offers a new way for leaders to talk about production without creating a contest between safety and getting the job done.

Psychological safety and a culture of fear

During these turbulent times, it has been sobering to see countries engage in the under-reporting of pandemic incidents, which is also a major problem in workplace safety. This provides a timely reminder that we need be better at giving people a voice in workplace safety to increase the number of reports. One avenue that holds promise is “Psychological Safety” which is a construct that addresses how “safe it is here for people to speak up without fear”.

‘The world needs positive psychology for the next few months’

Positive Psychology (not to be confused with positive thinking) is the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities, and organisations to thrive.

Practitioner’s Guide – Integrating environment and sustainability into organisational culture

The prophetic words of Dylan are often used but: ‘the times they are changing’… particularly in the context of the environment and sustainability.

20 things about absence and health in 20 years

After 20 years of Health and wellbeing at work surveys, the CIPD has reflected on what has changed – and what’s stayed the same – over the years…

‘Time’ for health and safety?

It goes without saying that everyone should make time for health and safety. However, thinking about ‘time’ from different perspectives can improve our understanding about health and safety behaviours, and enable us to anticipate and keep pace with changes in the world of work.

Six tips to improve workplace safety

Whether your premises is an office, a warehouse, a shop, or anywhere, it is important  to practice good safety in the workplace.

How do you find the software you need in the EHS software maze?

The issue of EHS software is often post dated with the comment: ‘do we really need it’. Like most applications, it isn’t a necessity, but it will make your life and the world of compliance much easier. Finding the right application, however, is the stumbling block for many.

Is it enough to operate legally?

This April sees the introduction of more stringent requirements around ‘day one’ statements of employment particulars (including sick pay & benefit entitlements). Carl Laidler, Director of Wellbeing at Health Shield Friendly Society, argues that, in order to ensure compliance, trust, reputation, businesses need to ensure a culture of organisational wellbeing.

[i] Harter, J K., Schmidt, F. L. , Killham, E. A., & Asplund, J. W (2006). Q12® Meta-Analysis. Gallup Consulting;

[ii] Lockwood, N. R. (2007). Leveraging employee engagement for competitive advantage: HR’s strategic role. HR magazine, 52(3), 1-11.

[iii] Rothman, A. J. (2000). Toward a theory-based analysis of behavioral maintenance. Health Psychology19(1S), 64.

[iv] Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H. W.W. & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 998–1009.

[v] Cooper, M.D. (2009). Behavioral Safety: Process Design Considerations. Professional Safety, 54 (2), 36-45.

[vi] Cooper, M.D. (2000). ‘Towards a Model of Safety Culture’. Safety Science, 32 (6), 111-136.

[vii] Cooper, M.D. & Finley, L.J. (2013). Strategic Safety Culture Roadmap. BSMS, Franklin, IN

[viii] Cooper, M.D. (2010). Safety Leadership In Construction: A Case Study. Italian Journal of Occupational Medicine and Ergonomics: Suppl. A Psychology, 32(1), pp A18-A23.

[ix] Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49(1), 65-85.

[x] Cooper, M.D. & Phillips, R.A. (2004). Exploratory analysis of the safety climate and safety behavior relationship, Journal of Safety Research, 35, 497 – 512.

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS
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