Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Human Dynamics of Injury Prevention Part 2

Getting people to accept safety programs ...

"Whether employees are in a group or working alone, the acting and coaching components of people-based safety can have a positive impact on the safety culture.

In my article last month, I discussed the human dynamics of injury prevention by revising the research-based principles of people-based safety (PBS), and contrasted this approach with behavior-based safety (BBS) - a popular and effective way to prevent workplace injuries.1

The PBS process is not a substitute for BBS, but rather an evolution for greater acceptance and effectiveness. The components of PBS discussed in this second of a three-part series reflect the essence of BBS.

The four skill components of PBS are acting, coaching, thinking and seeing - ACTS.2 In a total safety culture, people act for injury prevention; coach one another to identify barriers to safe acts and provide constructive behavior-based feedback; think in ways that activate and support safe behavior; and focus and scan to see the hazards.

The Acting of People-Based Safety

It's fitting that the components of PBS spell "acts," because safety depends upon the actions of people. Various principles and procedures of PBS target attitudes, perceptions and thoughts. But if improvement in these areas does not result in relevant behavior change, there is no benefit to occupational safety.

Because behavior change is the bottom line, BBS has prevented workplace injuries in many organizations through the successful implementation of an interpersonal observation and feedback process. But what about the many times people work or drive alone?

The PBS approach adds to BBS by teaching ways to implement self-coaching and increase self-accountability for safety. In this regard, it's critical to understand the three forms of voluntary behavior - other-directed, self-directed and habitual.3

A BBS observation-and-feedback process initiates and sustains other-directed behavior. Workers increase safe behavior and decrease at-risk behavior because others - their peers - hold them accountable. With continued application of this coaching process, proponents of BBS hope safe behavior transitions from other-directed to habitual. This objective reveals some critical distinctions between PBS and BBS."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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