Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
November 10, 2014

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

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

Safe return to the workplace guidance for employers

Trades Union Congress has published a document which sets out the union approach to keeping workers safe as the UK Government eases restrictions following the third lockdown.

Webinar: How a ‘Responsible Person’ selects competent fire risk assessors and management support

On Wednesday 5 May at 11:00 this Praxis42 webinar, hosted by SHP, will debate how to establish competence in the selection and appointment of resources that support an organisations fire life safety strategy.

Sex and the safety message…

Tim Marsh revisits an old article of his and asks, is it better to risk offending the few to get an important message over to the many? Or is there a bigger picture that renders such short-term concerns irrelevant?

London Fire Brigade launches external review of its culture

The London Fire Brigade has announced that it has opened an independently-led external review of its culture.

4 ways your mind plays tricks when investigating an incident

This article considers a typical incident investigation and uses it to illustrate four common biases we are all prone to – and what we can do to overcome bias when investigating a safety incident.

How technology can help boost workplace wellbeing

Sue Horsfall, HR Director, Agilitas, explores how the shift to home working will have an effect on mental health and how, if tackled correctly, the benefits could be long lasting. She also shares her insight into how to innovate and trust in technology, which could result in a better world for mental health, both inside and outside the workplace, in years to come.

Health, safety and wellbeing planning for a post-pandemic world

Following its June 2020 Crisis Culture report, exploring how organisations were dealing with COVID-19 from a HSW perspective, Culture Change specialists Tribe has launched its second report exploring where we now find ourselves in 2021.

World Sleep Day: How can employers implement effective fatigue risk management?

Safety consultants Baines Simmons presents a perspective on fatigue in the workplace and fatigue risk management systems.

Unseen and Alcumus unite to help eradicate modern slavery from supply chains

UK-based anti-slavery charity Unseen has formed a new partnership with Alcumus to help increase awareness of the role of accreditation and digital solutions in demonstrating that an organisation is ethical, compliant and transparent.

Keeping 12,000 employees safe during COVID-19

Mark Patterson, Director of SHE at SSE, speaks about how the energy firm’s Safety Family programme and how its health & safety strategy, helped it react quickly and effectively to COVID-19.

Bringing wellbeing to remote workers

Nichola Ebbern, Head of Health and Safety at Shepherds Bush Housing Association, talks about the transformation from a desk-based company, to a totally home based one, during the coronavirus pandemic and the impact that it has had on employee wellbeing.

How to support women’s health in the workplace

Some small, but achievable, steps to help promote women’s health in the workplace.

‘Be the hummingbird’

SHP focuses on a book described as an ‘anthology of the world’s best thought leaders, all in one place’, One Percent Safer, which was put together during the first UK lockdown to provide nuggets of wisdom to make your organisation one percent safer and to raise funds for the One Percent Safer Foundation.

Webinar: The importance of influencing to drive proactive safety

In this webinar, hosted by SHP, SHE Software will discuss the importance of digitisation of health and safety and how this can drive a proactive approach.

Human behaviour: Rule following and risk perception

Group Health and Safety Manager, Joe Smith, tries to get to the bottom of why people do, or don’t, follow the rules and why it takes supervision or disciplinary action before some toe the line and work safely all of the time.

Webinar: Who is responsible for driver risk management?

Learn best practices of establishing and maintaining a company-wide safety culture and how COVID-19 has impacted driver risk management.

What health and safety can learn from the book ‘How Spies Think’

Tim Marsh takes a look at the David Omand book and applies some of its findings to health and safety.

Sustaining a safety culture

With new year behind us and many resolutions already broken, Tim Waples, Director of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), discusses how having a good safety culture requires everyone rigorously sticking to the goals.

Breaking the 0.1 lost time injury frequency rate plateau

Karl Simons, Chief Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer at Thames Water, talks to SHP about the work that has gone in to achieving a LTIFR of 0.09 for the first month of 2021.

European Parliament wants to ensure the right to disconnect from work

The European Parliament wants to protect employees’ fundamental right to disconnect from work and not to be reachable outside working hours.

COVID-19: Adapting workplaces and protecting workers

EU-OSHA has published guidance which aims to help employers and workers to stay safe and healthy in a working environment.

[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
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments