Psychology of Safety



Psychology of Safety


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Geller, E. Scott, 1942The psychology of safety handbook / E. Scott Geller.--2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-56670-540-1 1. Industrial safety-Psychological aspects. I. Title. T55.3.B43 G45 2000 658.3′82′01—dc21


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© 2001 by CRC Press LLC Lewis Publishers is an imprint of CRC Press LLC No claim to original U.S. Government works International Standard Book Number 1-56670-540-1 Library of Congress Card Number 00-063750 Printed in the United States of America 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Printed on acid-free paper

To my mom (Margaret J. Scott) and dad (Edward I. Geller) who taught me the value of learning and reinforced my need to achieve. To B. F Skinner and W. Edwards Deming who developed and researched the most applicable principles in this text and inspired me to teach them.

To my wife (Carol Ann) and mother-in-law (Betty Jane) whose continuous support for over 30 years made preparation to write this book possible. To the students and associates in our university Center for Applied Behavior Systems whose data collection and analysis provided practical examples for the principles.

To my daughters (Krista and Karly) who I hope will someday experience the sense of accomplishment I feel by completing this Handbook. To my eight associates at Safety Performance Solutions, Inc., who I hope will continuously improve their ability to assist others worldwide in achieving a Total Safety Culture.

Psychology influences every aspect of our lives, including our safety and health; and psychology can be used to benefit almost every aspect of our lives, including our safety and health. So what is “psychology” anyway? My copy of The American Heritage Dictionary (Second College Edition, Copyright 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Company) defines psychology as 1. The science of mental processes and behavior. 2. The emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, group, or activity (page 1000). Similarly, the two definitions in the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Copyright 1989 by Merriam-Webster, Inc.) are 1. The science of mind and behavior. 2. The mental and behavioral characteristics of an individual or group (page 587). In both dictionaries, the first definition of “psychology” uses the term “science” and refers to behavioral and mental processes. Behaviors are the outside, objective, and observable aspects of people; mental or mind reflects our inside, subjective, and unobservable characteristics. Science implies the application of the scientific method or the objective and systematic analysis and interpretation of reliable observations of natural or experimental phenomena. So what should you expect from a Handbook on the Psychology of Safety? Obviously, such a book should show how psychology influences the safety and health of people. To be useful, it should explain ways to apply psychology to improve safety and health. This is, in fact, my purpose for writing this text—to teach you how to use psychology to both explain and reduce personal injury. As a science of mind and behavior, psychology is actually a vast field of numerous subdisciplines. Areas covered in a standard college course in introductory psychology, for example, include research methods, physiological foundations, sensation and perception, language and thinking, consciousness and memory, learning, motivation and emotion, human development, intelligence, personality, psychological disorders, treatment of mental disorders, social thought and behavior, environmental psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and human factors engineering. This book does not cover all of these areas of psychology, only those directly relevant to understanding and influencing safetyrelated behaviors and attitudes. In addition, my coverage of information within any one subdiscipline of psychology is not comprehensive but focuses on those aspects directly relevant to reducing injury in organizational and community settings.

This information will help you improve safety and health in any setting, from your home to the workplace and every community location in between. You can apply the knowledge gained from reading this book in all aspects of your daily life. Most organized safetyimprovement efforts occur in work environments, however, because that is where the exposure to hazardous conditions and at-risk behavior is most obvious. As a result, most (but not all) of my illustrations and examples use an industrial context. My hope is that you will see direct relevance of the principles and procedures to domains beyond the workplace. A psychology of safety must be based on rigorous research, not common sense or intuition. This is what science is all about. Much of the psychology in self-help paperbacks, audiotapes, and motivational speeches is not founded on programmatic research but is presented because it sounds good and will “sell.” The psychology in this Handbook was not selected on the basis of armchair hunches but rather from the relevant research literature. In sum, the information in this Handbook is consistent with a literal definition of its title— the psychology of safety. The human element of occupational health and safety is an extremely popular topic at national and regional safety conferences. Safety leaders realize that reducing injuries below current levels requires increased attention to human factors. Engineering interventions and government policy have made their mark. Now, it is time to include a focus on the human dynamics of injury prevention—the psychology of safety. Most attempts to deal with the human aspects of safety have been limited in scope. Many trainers and consultants claim to have answers to the human side of safety, but their solutions are too often impractical, shortsighted, or illusory. To support their particular program, consultants, authors, and conference speakers often give unfair and inaccurate criticism of alternative methods. Tools from behavior-based safety have been criticized in an attempt to justify a focus on people’s attitudes or values. In contrast, promoters of behavior-based safety have ridiculed a focus on attitudes as being too subjective, unscientific, and unrealistic. Both behavior- and attitude-oriented approaches to injury prevention have been faulted in order to vindicate a systems or culture-based approach. The truth of the matter is that both behaviors and attitudes require attention in order to develop large-scale and long-term improvement in people’s safety and health. There are a number of books on the market that offer advice regarding the human element of occupational safety. Unfortunately, many of these texts offer a limited perspective. I have found none comprehensive and practical enough to show how to integrate behavior- and attitude-based perspectives for a system-wide total culture transformation. This Handbook was written to do just that and, in this regard, it is one of a kind. Simply put, behavioral science principles provide the basic tools and procedures for building an improved safety system. However, the people in a work culture need to accept and use these behavior-based techniques appropriately. This is where a broader perspective is needed, including insight regarding more subjective concepts like attitude, value, and thought processes. Recall that psychology includes the scientific study of both mind and behavior. Therefore, a practical handbook on the psychology of safety needs to teach science-based and feasible approaches to change what people think (attitude) and do (behavior) in order to achieve a Total Safety Culture. I refer to a Total Safety Culture throughout this text as the ultimate vision of a safetyimprovement mission. In a Total Safety Culture, everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis. At work, employees go beyond “the call of duty” to identify environmental hazards and at-risk behaviors. Then, they intervene to correct them. Safe work practices are supported with proper recognition procedures. In a Total Safety

Culture, safety is not a priority that gets shifted according to situational demands. Rather, safety is a value linked to all situational priorities. Obviously, building a Total Safety Culture requires a long-term continuous improvement process. It involves cultivating constructive change in both the behaviors and attitudes of everyone in the culture. This book provides you with principles and procedures to make this happen. Applying what you read here might not result in a Total Safety Culture. However, it is sure to make a beneficial difference in your own safety and health, and in the safety and health of others you choose to help. I refer to helping others as “actively caring.” This book shows you how to increase the quality and quantity of your own and others’ actively caring behavior. Indeed, actively caring is the key to safety improvement. The more people actively caring for the safety and health of others, the less remote is the achievement of our ultimate vision—a Total Safety Culture.

Who should read this book?
My editor has warned me that one book can serve only a limited audience. I know he is right but, at the same time, a practical book on reducing injuries is relevant for everyone. All of us risk personal injury of some sort during the course of our days, and all of us can do something to reduce that risk to ourselves and others. Therefore, a book that teaches practical ways to do this is pertinent reading for everyone. The average person, however, will not spend valuable time reading a handbook on ways to reduce personal risk for injury. In fact, most people do not believe they are at risk for personal injury, so why should they read a book about improving safety? While I believe everyone should read this Handbook, a text on the psychology of safety is destined for a select and elite audience—people who are concerned about the rate of injuries in their organization or community and want to do something about it. This Handbook represents an extensive revision of my 1996 book, The Psychology of Safety. Every chapter in the earlier edition has been updated and expanded, and three new chapters have been added—one on behavioral safety analysis, another on intervening with supportive conversation, and a third on promoting high-performance teamwork. As a result, this edition is substantially longer than the first. This is the first time I have prepared a second edition of a textbook, and I was sensitive to the fact that new editions should justify their existence. I believe it is unfair to prepare another edition of a book that is not a significant improvement over an earlier edition, although I have seen this happen many times. I have often purchased a follow-up edition to a book only to find very little difference between the two versions. This is frequently the case with college textbooks. This book offers significantly more information than the 1996 version. Thus, readers of the first edition will not be disappointed if they purchase this Handbook. Plus, there are many potential applications of this text. It is a comprehensive source of psychological principles and practical applications for the safety professional or corporate safety leader. It could also be used as required or recommended reading in a number of undergraduate or graduate courses. More specifically, this Handbook is ideal for courses on human factors engineering, safety management, or organizational performance management. Many engineering and psychology departments do not offer courses with safety or human factors in their titles. However, this Handbook is quite suitable for such standard courses as applied psychology, organizational psychology, management systems, engineering psychology, applied engineering, and even introductory psychology.

Fun to read
The writing style and format of this handbook are different from any professional text I have written or read. Most authors of professional books, including me, have been taught a particular academic or research style of writing that is not particularly enjoyable to read. When did you last pick up a nonfiction technical book for recreational or “fun” reading. To attract a larger readership, this text is written in a more exciting style than most professional books, thanks to invaluable editorial coaching by Dave Johnson, editor of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News. Each chapter includes several original drawings by George Wills to illustrate concepts and add some humor to the learning process. I intersperse these drawings in my professional addresses and workshops, and audiences find them both enjoyable and enlightening. I predict some of you will page through the book and look for these illustrations. That is a useful beginning to learning concepts and techniques for improving the human dynamics of safety. Then, read the explanatory text for a second useful step toward making a difference with this information. If you, then, discuss the principles and procedures with others, you will be on your way to putting this information to work in your organization, community, or home.

A testimony
Throughout this book, I include personal anecdotes to supplement the rationale of a principle or the description of a technique or process. I would like to end this preface with one such anecdote. In August 1994, the Hercules Portland Plant stopped chemical production for two consecutive days so all 64 employees at the facility could receive a two-day workshop on the psychology of safety. Management had received a request for this all-employee workshop from a team of hourly workers who previously attended my two-day professional development conference sponsored by the Mt. St. Helena Section of the American Society of Safety Engineers. Rick Moreno, a Hercules warehouse operator and hazardous materials unloader for more than 20 years, wrote the following reaction to my workshop. He read it to his coworkers at the start of the Hercules workshop. It set the stage for a most constructive and gratifying two days of education and training. If you approach the information in this Handbook with some of the enthusiasm and optimism reflected in Rick’s words, you cannot help but make a difference in someone’s safety and health. Knowledge is precious. It is like trying to carry water in your cupped hands to a thirsty friend. Ideas that were crystal clear upon hearing them, tend to slip from your memory like water through the creases of your hands, and while you may have brought back enough water to wet your friend’s lips, he will not enjoy the full drink that you were able to take. So it is with this analogy of the Total Safety Culture. Those who were there can only wet your lips with this new concept. Not a class or a program, but a safe well way to live your life that spills into other avenues of our environment. It has no limit or boundaries as in this year, this plant. It is more like we are on our way and something wonderful is going to happen. Even though no answers are promised or given, the avenues in which to find our own answers for our own problems will be within

That is why it is important that everyone has the opportunity to take a full drink of the Total Safety Culture instead of having our lips wet. Scott Geller October. this material will be used as a source of principles and procedures that you can return to for guidance and benchmarks along your innovative journey toward building a safer culture of more actively caring people. Hopefully.our reach . This Handbook is for you—Rick Moreno—and the many others who want to understand the psychology of safety and reduce personal injuries. Something wonderful is going to happen. . E. 2000 . .


D. Working Safe. a trade magazine disseminated to more than 75. Geller is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. In 1983 he received the Virginia Tech Alumni Teaching Award and was elected to the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. he has authored more than 300 research articles and over 50 books or chapters addressing the development and evaluation of behavior-change interventions to improve quality of life. Dr. the American Psychological Society. Understanding Behavior-Based Safety. Ph. is a senior partner of Safety Performance Solutions. To date. Scott Geller. Geller earned a teaching award in 1982 from the American Psychological Association and every university teaching award offered at Virginia Tech.000 companies. and current consulting editor for Behavior and Social Issues. government agencies. The Psychology of Safety Handbook. Scott Geller has taught and conducted research as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His recent books in occupational health and safety include: The Psychology of Safety. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence. Geller and his partners at Safety Performance Solutions (SPS) have helped companies across the country and around the world address the human dynamics of occupational safety through flexible research-founded principles and industry-proven tools. in 1990 he was honored with the university Sporn Award for distinguished teaching of freshman level courses. better known as Virginia Tech.E. Geller has been the principal investigator for more than 75 research grants that have involved the application of behavioral science for the benefit of corporations. and the International Journal of Behavioral Safety. Geller has written almost 100 articles for Industrial Safety and Hygiene News. for more than three decades. Professor E. and communities. Building Successful Safety Teams. the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. current associate editor of Environment and Behavior (since 1982). the Behavior Analyst Digest. He is past editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (1989 –1992). In addition.—a leading edge organization specializing in behavior-based safety training and consulting. Dr. Inc. . institutions.The Author E. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility. and in 1999 he was awarded the prestigious W. In this capacity. and the primer: What Can Behavior-Based Safety Do For Me? Dr. Dr. and the World Academy of Productivity and Quality Sciences.


but it took me 25 years of training and experience to prepare for the artistry. social dynamics. My primary areas of graduate study were learning. I started my professional career in 1969 as assistant professor of Psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). While writing the first edition and this revision took substantial time. and scholarship. consultants. Therefore. Ted Ayllon and Nate Azrin. I developed sincere respect and appreciation for the scientific method as the key to gaining profound knowledge. university colleagues. and countless university students. While the artist—Jan D’Esopo—was signing my print. I was introduced to the scientific method at Wooster and applied it to my own behavioral science research during both my junior and senior years. “Well. I have been preparing to write this text since entering the College of Wooster in Wooster. Pitz) gave me special coaching in research methodology and data analysis and refined my skills for professional writing. Gordon F. Drs. Those learning experiences (brief in comparison with all my other education) convinced me that behavior-focused psychology could make large-scale improvements in people’s lives. “depending on how you look at it. Almost all exams at this small liberal arts college required written discussion (rather than selecting an answer from a list of alternatives). and human information processing and decision making. I received early experience and feedback at integrating concepts and research findings from a variety of sources. My tenure and promotion to associate professor were based entirely upon my professional scholarship in this domain. In 1968. Puerto Rico. This . personality. Throughout five years of graduate education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. OH. I was introduced to the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis (the foundation of behavior-based safety) from one graduate course and a few visits to Anna State Hospital in Anna. However. The chairman of both my thesis and dissertation committees (Dr. Actually. were conducting seminal research in this field.” I feel similarly about completing this Handbook which is an extensive revision and expansion of my earlier book—The Psychology of Safety—published in 1996. safety professionals. in the mid-1970s I became concerned that this laboratory work had limited potential for helping people. IL.” I asked. it took me only 25 minutes to fill the canvas.” “What do you mean. I purchased an attractive print of a newborn colt from an artist at Galeria San Juan.” she replied. researchers. With assistance from undergraduate and graduate students. IL. I developed a productive laboratory and research program in cognitive psychology.Acknowledgements In December 1992. the effort pales in comparison to the many years of preparation supported by invaluable contributions from teachers. in 1960. “It took 25 minutes or 25 years. research. I asked her how long it took to complete the original. where two eminent scholars. This insight was to have dramatic influence on my future teaching.

I focused my research on finding ways to make this happen. Richard A. and friendship of two individuals—Harry Glaser and Dave Johnson—have been invaluable for my preparation to write this text. Everett. Anheuser-Busch Companies. Over the years. I turned to another line of research. Motor Vehicles.S. colleagues. community theft.. evaluated. Perhaps this brief history of my professional education and experience legitimizes my authorship of a handbook on the psychology of safety. Department of Energy. General Motors Research Laboratories. the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation.” It would take pages to name all of these friends and acquaintances. Education. and Welfare. the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. transportation management. and the Virginia Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.. Domino’s Pizza. You know who you are—thank you! The advice. Winett and Peter B. the U. Financial support from a number of corporations and government agencies made our 30 years of intervention research possible. Sara Lee Knit Products. Hoechst-Celanese. This led to a focus on the application of behavior-based psychology to prevent unintentional injury in organizational and community settings. and then I would necessarily miss many. the Motors Insurance Corporation. Department of Education. researchers. My graduate students managed most of these field studies.conflicted with my personal mission to make beneficial large-scale differences in people’s quality of life. which I co-authored with Drs.S. and this could not have been possible without dedicated contributions from hundreds of university students. the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. They also provided valuable positive reinforcement to prevent “burnout. Critical for this preparation were our numerous research projects (since 1970). feedback. Exxon Chemical Company. and refined a number of community-based techniques for increasing environment-constructive behaviors and decreasing environment-destructive behaviors. and students—who prepared me for writing this book. my students and I applied behavior-based psychology to a number of other problem areas. and these organizations made it possible for my students and me to develop and systematically evaluate ways to improve attitudes and behaviors throughout organizations and communities. the National Science Foundation. Given my conviction that behavior-based psychology has the greatest potential for solving organizational and community problems. including prison administration. and Welfare and Institutions. the U. we received significant research funds from the Alcohol. Litter Control. and Mental Health Administration. Department of Transportation. my purpose for providing this information is not so much to provide credibility but to acknowledge the vast number of individuals—teachers. and alcohol-impaired driving. I am also indebted to the numerous guiding and motivating communications I have received from corporate and community safety professionals worldwide. Profound knowledge is only possible through programmatic research. the U. my students and I developed.S. Department of Health. However. and I am truly grateful for their valuable talents and loyal efforts. school discipline. In the mid-1970s we began researching strategies for increasing the use of vehicle safety belts. Besides targeting environmental protection. Therefore. This prolific research program culminated with the 1982 Pergamon Press publication of Preserving the Environment: New Strategies for Behavior Change. Inc.S. Daily contacts with these individuals shaped my research and scholarship and challenged me to improve the connection between research and application. the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug Abuse. Inspired by the first Earth Day in April 1970. the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Inc. I first met Harry Glaser in September 1992 after I gave a keynote address at a professional development .

Nick Buscemi. the talent and insight of Dave Johnson have been incorporated throughout this Handbook. my colleagues at Safety Performance Solutions: Susan Bixler. However. I had a lot to learn.conference for the American Society of Safety Engineers. Preparing these articles laid the groundwork for this Handbook. Also vital to bridging the gap between research and application has been my long-term alliance and synergism with Dave Johnson. and Angie Krom. and Josh Williams. As an author of more than 300 research articles and former editor of the premier research journal in the applied behavioral sciences (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis). combining tables and diagrams (which he refined) with George Wills’ illustrations and the word processing from Gayle Kennedy. my relationship with Harry Glaser improved my ability to communicate the practical implications of academic research and scholarship. and facilitator guides. Chuck Pettinger. many more. Beginning in 1994. Mike Gilmore. I have submitted 97 articles to ISHN and each profited immensely from Dave’s suggestions and feedback. plus many. and I am eternally beholden to him. I am hopeful the synergy from all your contributions will help readers make rewarding and longterm differences in people’s lives. training manuals. Anne French. Thus. All of these people. Scott Geller October. As Executive Vice President of Tel-A-Train. Dave served as editor of the first edition of this text. I have written an article for a “Psychology of Safety” column. In particular. That year I submitted five articles on the psychology of safety. Inc. Steve Roberts. without the craft and dedication of Brian Lea. and Dave did substantial editing on each. That was the start of ongoing collaboration in developing videotape scripts. and from Kent Glindemann—research scientist for the Center for Applied Behavior Systems. Dave and I began learning from each other in the spring of 1990 when I submitted my first article for his magazine. As a result. editor of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (ISHN). the illustrations could not have been combined with the text for use by the publisher.. Kelli England. I thank you all very much. I also sincerely appreciate the daily support and encouragement I received from my graduate students in 2000: Rebecca Click. Every time one of my articles was published. This was invaluable preparation for writing this text. I knew quite well how to write for a research audience in psychology. dedicating long hours to improving the clarity and readability of my writing. I learned something about communicating more effectively the bottom line of a psychological principle or procedure. have contributed to 40 years of preparation for this Psychology of Safety Handbook. However. In fact. I continue to learn from him. Harry decided that a video-training series on the human dynamics I presented in my talk would be useful. Molly McClintock. I hope you agree. VA). E. The illustrations throughout this handbook were drawn by George Wills (Blacksburg. Sherry Perdue. and Cassie Wright. In this regard. Jeff Hickman. Brian coordinated the final processing of this entire text. 2000 . Dave Johnson showed me that when it comes to writing for safety professionals and the general public. which I think add vitality and fun to the written presentation. Chris Dula.


. . . . . . . .21 Theory as a map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 The old three Es . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Integrating approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 The mission statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 The critical human element . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Considering cost effectiveness . . . . . . . .6 Stress management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Behavior-based vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Selecting the best approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Chapter 1 Choosing the right approach . .7 Poster campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 The fallacy of relying on common sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Group problem solving . . .30 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Three new Es . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 A basic mission and theory . . . . . . . . .8 The folly of choosing what sounds good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Chapter 3 Paradigm shifts for total safety . . . . .16 Start with behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Contents Section one: Orientation and alignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 The behavior-based approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Management audits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Personnel selection . . . person-based approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Chapter 2 Starting with theory . . . . . . . . . . .22 Relevance to occupational safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Behavior-based programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Comprehensive ergonomics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Near-miss reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Government action (in Finland) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 The person-based approach .5 Engineering changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Relying on research . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 Biased by our past . . .46 From priority to value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Shifting paradigms . . . . . . . . . .41 From fault finding to fact finding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Empowerment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Cognitive failures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Chapter 4 The complexity of people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 The power of publicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 From government regulation to corporate responsibility . . . . . . . . . .60 Mode errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 Power of authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 From reactive to proactive . . . . . . . .48 References . . . . . . .66 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Description errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 From a piecemeal to a systems approach . . . . perception. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 . . . . . . .46 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Understood and controllable hazards . . . . . .67 Chapter 5 Sensation. . . . . . .57 Capture errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Relevance to achieving a Total Safety Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Interpersonal factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ergonomics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 From rugged individualism to interdependent teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Fighting human nature . . . . .62 Peer influence . . . . .76 Real vs. . . . . . . . and perceived risk . . .64 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 From top-down control to bottom-up involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 Biased by context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Acceptable consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Learning to be at-risk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Loss-of-activation errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Section two: Human barriers to safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 The power of choice . . . . .78 Sympathy for victims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Familiarity breeds complacency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . perceived risk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Dimensions of human nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Mistakes and calculated risks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Sense of fairness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 From quick fix to continuous improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 From outcome focused to behavior focused . . . . . . . . .37 From failure oriented to achievement oriented . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Enduring values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 An example of selective sensation or perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 Perceived risk .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114 Intervention by managers and peers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Section three: Behavior-based psychology . . . . . . . . . . . . .117 Observational learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98 Person factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139 Properties of behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129 The DO IT process . . . . . .103 The self-serving bias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 Fit for stressors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 What is stress? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 The eyes of the beholder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136 Person–action–situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Chapter 6 Stress vs. . .140 A personal example . . . . . . . . . . .134 What is behavior? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130 Defining target behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136 Outcomes of behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140 Recording observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137 Describing behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102 The fundamental attribution error . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124 In conclusion . . . . . .93 Work stress profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126 Chapter 8 Defining critical behaviors .100 Social factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 References . . . . . .Risk compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111 Increasing safe behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 Direct assessment and evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138 Observing behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Overlapping types of learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 Coping with stressors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138 Multiple behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Identifying stressors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 Support from research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .142 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 Attributional bias . . . . .115 Learning from experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Constructive or destructive? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 Chapter 7 Basic principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110 Reducing at-risk behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Implications of risk compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . distress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 References . . . .116 Operant conditioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140 Measuring behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137 Interobserver reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115 Classical conditioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 Primacy of behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.183 Safe behavior promise . . . . . . . . . . . . .158 Are extra consequences used effectively? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195 . .177 Principle #2: Maintain salience with novelty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153 Reducing behavioral discrepancy . . . .192 Principle #6: Implicate consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151 Chapter 9 Behavioral safety analysis . .169 Accountability vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166 Three types of behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177 Habituation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .148 Observing multiple behaviors . .172 Section four: Behavior-based intervention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182 Changeable signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167 The flow of behavior change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184 The “Flash for Life” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Using the critical behavior checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171 References . . .170 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165 Intervention and the flow of behavior change . . . . . . . . . . . .155 Is a quick fix available? . . . . . . . .143 Two basic approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166 Three kinds of intervention strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190 Point-of-purchase activators . . . . . . . . . .191 Activating with television . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159 Is there a skill discrepancy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173 Chapter 10 Intervening with activators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .183 Principle #4: Involve the target audience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160 What kind of training is needed? . . . .151 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195 Incentives vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .178 Warning beepers: a common work example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157 Is at-risk behavior rewarded? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . safety education . . . . . . . . . . . . .1149 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156 Is safe behavior punished? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .191 Buckle-up road signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164 An illustrative example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162 Safety training vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . disincentives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155 Can the task be simplified? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182 Worker-designed safety signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160 Is the person right for the job? . . .147 Starting small . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175 Principle #1: Specify behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .188 Principle #5: Activate close to response opportunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163 Different teaching techniques . . . . . . . .162 Behavior-based safety training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181 Principle #3: Vary the message . . . . . . . . . . .165 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .186 The Airline Lifesaver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210 Four types of consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .222 Doing it wrong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238 Intervening as a safety coach . .211 Managing consequences for safety . . . . . . . . . . external consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 Bringing tangibles to life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257 Self-appraisal of coaching skills . . . . . . . . . .233 Various intervention approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241 “O” for observe . . . . . . .222 Doing it right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242 “A” for analyze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223 An exemplary incentive/reward program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256 “H” for humor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256 “E” for esteem .250 “C” for communicate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .261 Chapter 13 Intervening with supportive conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233 Selecting an intervention approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207 Internal vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .259 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .204 Consequences in school . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .239 The safety coaching process . .234 Multiple intervention levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212 Four behavior-consequence contingencies for motivational intervention . . . . . .213 The case against negative consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . extrinsic consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209 An illustrative story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256 “P” for praise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 Resolving conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .214 Discipline and involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . .239 Athletic coaching vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236 Increasing intervention impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200 Chapter 11 Intervening with consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 . . . . . . . . . . .259 References . . . . . . . .230 Chapter 12 Intervening as a behavior-change agent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226 Safety thank-you cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . .199 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Setting goals for consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205 Intrinsic vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240 “C” for care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250 “H” for help . . . .256 “L” for listen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256 What can a safety coach achieve? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .265 The power of conversation . . . . . . . . . . . .203 The power of consequences . . . . . . . . .226 The “Mystery Observee” program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .228 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216 “Dos” and “don’ts” of safety rewards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . safety coaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .266 Building barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .295 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .279 Make recognition personal for both parties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281 Use tangibles for symbolic value only . . . . . .273 Beware of bias . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281 Let recognition stand alone and soak in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Defining culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .284 Show sincere appreciation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287 Relive the journey toward injury reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288 Choosing the best management conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288 Use tangible rewards to establish a memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .268 Making breakthroughs . . . . . . . .285 Quality safety celebrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .269 The art of improving conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .282 Receiving recognition well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .293 Understanding actively caring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277 Supportive conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .278 Recognizing safety achievement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .278 Recognize during or immediately after safe behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .291 Section five: Chapter 14 Actively caring for safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .281 Deliver recognition privately and one-on-one . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277 Instructive conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .270 Seek commitment . . . . .276 Coaching conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285 Embrace the reciprocity principle . . . .271 Transition from nondirective to directive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .286 Celebrate the outcome but focus on the journey . . . . .283 Avoid denial and disclaimer statements . . . .284 Relive recognition later for self-motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285 Ask for recognition when deserved but not forthcoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .271 Ask questions first . . . . .286 Do not announce celebrations for injury reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .275 Conversation for safety management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .283 Listen attentively with genuine appreciation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .270 Do not look back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .280 Connect specific behavior with general higher-level praise . . . . .269 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .271 Stop and listen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .277 Delegating conversation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 Defining public image and self-esteem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287 Show top-down support but facilitate bottom-up involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289 The role of competence and commitment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .274 Plant words to improve self-image . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287 Facilitate discussion of successes and failures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .275 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .289 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .282 Secondhand recognition has special advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288 Solicit employee input . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285 Recognize the person for recognizing you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .343 Direct test of the actively caring model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .353 Self-esteem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and impulse control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .346 Nurturing emotional intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .342 Personal control . . . . . . . .313 Summary of the decision framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .321 Chapter 15 The person-based approach to actively caring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .314 A consequence analysis of actively caring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .320 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .364 . . . . . . . . .361 The power of choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .342 Belonging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .What is actively caring? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317 Experiencing context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Should I intervene? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .325 Actively caring from the inside . . . . . . . .319 Summary of contextual influence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .328 Actively caring states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .348 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337 A safety culture survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .357 Personal control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .344 Actively caring and emotional intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .296 Three ways to actively care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .312 Steps 4 and 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .353 Enhancing the actively caring person states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .347 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329 Measuring actively caring states . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . states . . . . . . . . . . . emotions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .338 Support for the actively caring model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .342 Optimism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .345 Safety. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317 An illustrative anecdote . . . . . . . . . . . . . .309 Step 2. . . . . .320 References . .328 Searching for the actively caring personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Is something wrong? . .338 Theoretical support for the actively caring model . . . . . . . . . .354 Self-efficacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .326 Person traits vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .300 A hierarchy of needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297 Why categorize actively caring behaviors? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .304 Lessons from research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .298 An illustrative anecdote . . . . What should I do? . . . . . . . . . . . .311 Step 3. . . . .305 Deciding to actively care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .314 The power of context . . . .349 Chapter 16 Increasing actively caring behaviors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .302 The psychology of actively caring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .338 Check your understanding . . . .339 Research support for the actively caring model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .309 Step 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Am I needed? . . . . . . . . .318 Context at work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .341 Self-esteem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .371 Education and training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .389 From one-to-one communication to group interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .374 Reciprocity: “Do for me and I’ll do for you” . . . . . . .381 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .389 Group gambles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .374 Commitment and consistency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388 From individual jobs to team tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .417 Developing a comprehensive evaluation process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rewards .414 Chapter 18 Evaluating for continuous improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .412 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .395 Develop an action plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . restructure. . . . . . . . . . . .388 From self-dependence to team-dependence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .387 Paradigm shifts for teamwork . . . .412 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .415 Limitations of performance appraisals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Optimism . . . . . . . . . . .416 What is performance improvement? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .394 Establish a team charter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .382 Section six: Putting it all together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . or renew the team . . . . . . . . . . . . . .415 Measuring the right stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410 Performing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388 From individual to team performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410 Norming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .380 Reinforcers vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .393 Clarify the assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388 From competitive rewards to rewards for cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392 Cultivating high-performance teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .367 Directly increasing actively caring behaviors . .372 Consequences for actively caring . . . . .409 Storming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408 The developmental stages of teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .377 Some influence techniques can stifle trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392 Selecting team members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .400 Evaluate team performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .366 Belonging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .423 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .403 Disband. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .380 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . .399 Make it happen . . . . . . . . . . . . .411 Adjourning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .420 What to measure? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .405 In summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .422 Evaluating environmental conditions . . . . . . . . . .409 Forming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .373 The reciprocity principle . . . . . . . . . . . . .390 Overcoming groupthink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .389 When teams do not work well . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .385 Chapter 17 Promoting high-performance teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .438 Evaluating costs and benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .439 You cannot measure everything . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .442 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .451 Involvement of contractors . .474 Chapter 20 Reviewing the principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .471 Atmosphere of the culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .498 Subject Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .497 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .450 Awareness support—activators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .452 Cultivating continuous support . . . . . . . . . . . . .427 Reliability and validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .445 Starting the process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .451 Follow-up instruction/booster sessions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .443 Chapter 19 Obtaining and maintaining involvement . . . . . . . . . .455 Communication to sell the process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .450 Tangible consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .436 An exemplar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .451 Ongoing measurement and evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .471 Attitude of the leaders .452 Trouble shooting and fine-tuning . . . . . .470 Relevance to industrial safety and health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .478 In conclusion . .Evaluating work practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .447 Sustaining the process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .450 Performance feedback—consequences . . .523 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .447 Setting up an education and training process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .441 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .470 Achievement of the team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .446 Developing evaluation procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .462 Planning for safety generalization . . . . . . . . .453 Safety management vs. . . . safety leadership . . . . . . . . . .446 Creating a Safety Steering Team . . . . . . . . .435 What do the numbers mean? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .501 Name Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .427 Evaluating person factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .459 Overcoming resistance to change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .473 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .430 Cooking numbers for evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .446 Management support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .477 The 50 principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .472 In conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .453 Where are the safety leaders? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .467 Building and sustaining momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


section one Orientation and alignment .


” Keep in mind this marketing information usually comes from selected client case studies. this does not stop consultants from showing us impressive results regarding the success of their approaches. In fact. long-term difference in the safety and health of your workplace. and community. The principles and practical procedures you will learn are not based on common sense nor intuition.chapter one Choosing the right approach The basic purpose of this book is outlined in this chapter to explore the human dynamics of occupational health and safety. and concerned workers today scramble to find the “best” safety approach for their workplace. Many recommendations seem counter to “pop psychology” and traditional approaches to safety. Programs that offer the most benefit with least effort sound best. this text describes the basic ingredients needed to improve organizational and community safety. However. but rather on reliable scientific investigation. Learning the principles and procedures described here will enable you to make a beneficial. Typically. More importantly. given the “lean and mean” atmosphere of the times. and throughout entire communities. So keep an open mind while you read about the psychology of safety. Selecting the best approach With so many different approaches to safety improvement available. whatever offers the cheapest “quick fix” sells. When consultants try to sell . This is not surprising. you will find sufficient information to improve any safety process. how can we select the best? My first thought is to ask.”—Peter Senge Safety professionals. “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. but will they really work to improve safety over the long term? This text will help you ask the right questions to determine whether a particular approach to safety improvement will work. neighborhoods. Very few of these “success stories” were collected objectively and reliably enough to meet the rigorous standards of a professional research journal. Nor does it prevent them from implying (or boldly stating) that we can obtain similar fantastic results by simply following their patented “steps to success. there are few systematic comparisons of alternative safety interventions. team leaders. are there objective data available from program comparisons to shed light on our dilemma? Unfortunately. home. from increasing the quantity and quality of productivity in the workplace to improving quality of life in homes. The information is relevant for most other performance domains. and to show how they can be managed to significantly improve safety performance. “What does the research indicate?” In other words.

then give their approach special consideration in your selection process. because each report appeared in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. Most of the published research on safety improvement systematically evaluates whether a particular program worked in a particular situation. They are ranked according to the mean percentage decrease in injury rates as detailed by Guastello in his careful analysis of the published reports. All of the studies selected for his summary were conducted in a workplace setting since 1977. If they can show you a published research report of their impressive results or a professional presentation of a program very similar to theirs. More research on program impact is clearly needed. I believe it is safe to say the behavior-based and comprehensive ergonomics approaches lead the field. 10 different approaches to safety improvement were represented in the 53 research articles summarized by Guastello. the program ranking should be considered preliminary. Figure 1. Guastello provided rare and useful information for deciding how to improve safety. Because one-half of the percentages were based on three or fewer research reports.1 depicts the low end of research quality. From my reading of Guastello’s article. The validity and applicability of even published research varies dramatically.4 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 1. In other words. an approach to safety with this kind of data to you. where Stephen Guastello (1993) summarized systematically the evaluation data from 53 different research reports of safety programs. Personnel selection. ask them if they have published their results in a peer-reviewed journal. but it does not compare one approach with another. You can assume the evaluations were both reliable and valid.1 Some research is not worth considering. this research tells us whether a particular strategy is better than nothing. Such research has limited usefulness when selecting between different approaches. As listed in Figure 1. the most . but offers no information regarding the relative impact of two or more different strategies on safety improvement. and each study evaluated program impact with outcome data (including number and severity of injuries). An exception can be found in a 1993 review article in Safety Science.2. as are systematic comparisons.

Some of these programs included goal setting and/or incentives to encourage the observation and feedback process. To appreciate this ranking of program effectiveness. 1991). with insufficient evidence to favor one over another.177 employees).2. it is helpful to define the program labels given in Figure 1. Behavior-based programs Programs in this category consisted of employee training regarding particular safe and atrisk behaviors. systematic observation and recording of the targeted behaviors. With the exception of “near miss” reporting. Here are brief descriptions of these approaches to reduce workplace injuries. 1993. at-risk behavior. (Adapted from Guastello. Comprehensive ergonomics The ergonomics (or human factors) approach to safety refers essentially to any adjustment of working conditions or equipment in order to reduce the frequency or probability of an environmental hazard or at-risk behavior (Kroemer. With permission. is among the least effective.2 Research comparisons reveal informative ranking of approaches to reduce work injuries.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 5 Figure 1. the other program techniques are clearly in the middle of the ranking. See Petersen (1989) for a comprehensive review of behavior-based studies in the research literature and for more evidence that this approach to industrial safety deserves top billing.) popular method (26 studies targeted a total of 19. and feedback to workers regarding the frequency or percentage of safe vs. An essential ingredient in these .

like a robot catching an operator in its work envelope and impaling him or her against a structure. productivity. emergency kill switches. employee training. 2. program evaluation. designated managers were trained to administer a standard International Safety Rating System (ISRS). 3. operations personnel met voluntarily to discuss safety issues and problems. Behavioral training. robotic innovations usually require additional engineering intervention such as equipment guards. and workplace redesign to prevent injury from robots. Disseminating information to work supervisors regarding the cause of workplace injuries and methods to reduce them. observation. organizational rules. Guastello noted a direct relationship between injury reductions and the amount of time devoted to dealing with the ergonomic recommendations of a diagnostic survey. . and off-the-job safety. task observations. radar-type sensors. Group problem solving For this approach. however. Conducting periodic work site inspections. and feedback (as detailed in Section 4 of this Handbook) are also needed following engineering redesign. personal protective equipment. Thus.6 Psychology of safety handbook programs was a diagnostic survey or environmental audit by employees which led to specific recommendations for eliminating hazards that put employees at risk or promoted atrisk behaviors. Specially certified ISRS personnel visit target sites and recognize a plant with up to five “stars” for exemplary safety performance. management training. Setting standards for safe machine repair and use. task and procedures analysis. This approach is analogous to quality circles where employees who perform similar types of work meet regularly to solve problems of product quality. 1990). health control. and to develop action plans for safety improvement (Saarela. accident analysis. Managers conduct the comprehensive audits annually to develop improvement strategies for the next year. Government action (in Finland) In Finland. engineering controls. Management audits For the programs in this category. It is noted. planned inspections. See Bjurstrom (1989) for more specifics regarding this Finnish national intervention. two government agencies that are responsible for labor production target the most problematic occupational groups and implement certain action strategies. See Guastello (1989) for further discussion of the development and application of an ergonomic diagnostic survey. and cost. emergency preparedness. accident investigations. See Eisner and Leger (1988) or Pringle and Brown (1990) for more specifics on application and impact of the ISRS. These include 1. This system evaluates workplaces based on 20 components of industrial safety. These include leadership and administration. that the robotic interventions introduced the potential for new types of workplace injuries. Engineering changes This category includes the introduction of robots or the comprehensive redesign of facilities to eliminate certain at-risk behaviors.

Accident proneness characteristics targeted for measurement and screening have included anxiety.” and “Check railing and platform couplings (on scaffolds). general expectancies about personal control of life events. including cultural factors or environmental events. Although measuring and screening for accident proneness sounds like a “quick fix” approach to injury prevention. 1992). Poster campaigns The two published studies in this category evaluated the accident reduction impact of posting signs that urged workers at a shipyard to avoid certain at-risk behaviors and to follow certain safe behaviors.” “Gather hoses immediately after use. All of these factors are covered in this Handbook. 1984).” “Wear your safety helmet. Additionally. could cause both . impulsivity. Personnel selection This popular but ineffective approach to injury prevention is based on the intuitive notion of “accident proneness. so a person might show them at home but not at work or vice versa. 1989). Briefly. many have exhibited these inconsistently—risk taking is likely to be influenced by environmental conditions. and self-reported alcohol use. Exercise was often a key action strategy promoted as a way to prevent stress-related injuries in physically demanding jobs (Cady et al. safety personnel at the shipyard gave work teams weekly feedback regarding compliance with sign instructions (Saarela et al. tension. and structured interviews were used to develop the poster messages (Saarela. distractibility. social adjustment. reliability. this technique has not worked reliably to prevent workplace injuries because 1.” For one study. I shall discuss the topic of stress as it relates to injury prevention in Chapter 6. finding correlations between certain personal characteristics and injury rates does not mean the proneness factors caused changes in the injury rate (Rundmo. 2. beliefs about injury control.. The instruments or procedures available to measure the proneness characteristics are unreliable or invalid. this method has several problems you will readily realize as you read more in this Handbook about the psychology of safety.” The strategy is to identify aspects of accident proneness among job applicants and then screen out people with critical levels of certain characteristics.. Murphy. environmental audits. In the other study. 3. insecurity. The characteristics do not carry across settings. Most signs were posted at relevant locations and gave specific behavioral instructions like “Take material for only one workday. Also. group discussions. sensation seeking. it is possible that factors other than the posters themselves contributed to the moderate short-term impact of this intervention approach. 1990. boredom susceptibility. although individuals have demonstrated different risk levels. 1985). Other factors. Thus. including ways to maximize the beneficial effects of safety signs (in Chapter 10). A person with a higher desire to take risks (such as a sensation seeker) might be more inclined to take appropriate precautions (like using personal protective equipment) to avoid potential injury..Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 7 Stress management These programs taught employees how to cope with stressors or sources of work stress (Ivancevich et al. 1989).

* but the overall number of injuries did not change. directly address the human aspects of safety. * “Near miss” is used routinely in the workplace to refer to an incident that did not result in an injury. any safety intervention that improves the safety-related behaviors of workers will prevent workplace injuries. behavior-based safety and comprehensive ergonomics. Indeed. The other scientific publication in this category reported a 56 percent reduction in injury severity as a result of increased reporting of near hits. The success of comprehensive ergonomics depends on employees observing relationships between behaviors and work situations. The three employees here are looking at a contributing factor in almost every injury—the human factor.8 Psychology of safety handbook the personal characteristics and the accident proneness. One program in this category increased the number of corrective suggestions generated but did not reduce injury rate. “near hit” is used throughout this text instead of “near miss.2 requires that you consider the human element or the psychology of safety. The bottom line is illustrated in Figure 1.3 Human dynamics contribute to almost every injury. The behavior-based approach targets human behavior and relies on interpersonal observation and feedback for intervention. The critical human element Every safety approach listed in Figure 1.b) for additional details regarding problems with this approach to injury prevention. the most successful approaches.3. Thus. See Geller (1994a. Figure 1.” . “Near-miss” reporting This approach involved increased reporting and investigation of incidents that did not result in an injury but certainly could have under slightly different circumstances. Because a literal translation of this term would mean the injury actually occurred.

The folly of choosing what sounds good The theory. M. Branson “Personal Excellence” by K. and videotapes addressing concepts seemingly relevant to the psychology of injury prevention. equipment. Covey “First Things First” by S. R. many seminars at national and regional safety conferences purporting to teach aspects of the psychology of safety have attracted standing-room only crowds. research. In recent years. • • • • • “Coping with Difficult People” by R. R. Safety professionals are hungry for insights. Just look at these titles from recent conferences of the National Safety Council or the American Society of Safety Engineers. and tools in psychology are so vast and often so complex that it can be overwhelming to decide which particular approach or strategy to use. Canfield “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by S. A. Merrill. we are easily biased by common-sense words that sound good. inaccurate or incomplete reference to psychological theory or research. and invalid or irresponsible comparisons between various approaches to dealing with the psychology of safety. Valid theory. audiotapes. I noted erroneous and frivolous statements. As a result. or environmental conditions to make the job more “user friendly” and safe.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 9 and then recommending feasible changes in behavior. It seemed a primary aim of several presentations was to “sell” their own particular program or consulting services by overstating the benefits of their approach and giving an incomplete or naive discussion of alternative methods or procedures. achieving success in safety requires concerted efforts in the realm of psychology. and R. Sometimes. In recent years. See the text edited by Oborne et al. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • “Managing Safe Behavior for Lasting Change” “Humanizing the Total Safety Program” “The Human Element in Achieving a Total Safety Culture” “The Psychology of Injury Prevention” “Behavior-Based Safety Management: Parallels with the Quality Process” “Behavioral Management Techniques for Continuous Improvement” “Improving Safety Through Innovative Behavioral and Cultural Approaches” “Safety Leadership Power: How to Empower All Employees” “Moving to the Second Generation in Behavior-Based Safety” “Potholes in the Road to Behavioral Safety” “Implementing Behavior-Based Safety on a Large Scale” “Motivating Employees for Safety Success” “Integrating Behavioral Safety into Other Safety Management Systems” “From Knowing to Doing: Achieving Safety Excellence” “Safety and Psychology: Where Do We Go From Here?” I attended each of these presentations and found numerous inconsistencies between presentations dealing with the same topic. Today. Covey. (1993) for a comprehensive discussion of the psychological aspects of ergonomics. Today. I have listened to the following audiotapes—representing only a fraction of “pop psychology” tapes with topics relevant to the psychology of safety. R. Blanchard “How to Build High Self-Esteem” by J. principles. R. Merrill . and procedures founded on solid research evidence are often ignored. there is an apparent endless market of self-help books.

Waitley “Transforming Stress into Power” by M. Tracy “The Psychology of Winning” by D. Hill “Increasing Human Effectiveness” by R. J. Ziglar “Top Performance” by Z. This might be the case not only because authors and presenters are unaware of the latest research. Nightingale “Unlimited Power” by A. but also because many of the best techniques for individual and group improvement do not sound good—at least at first. including supervisors. Does this repetition of good-sounding self-help strategies make them right? Some of the most cost-effective strategies for managing behaviors and attitudes at the personal and organizational level are not even mentioned in many of the pop psychology books. Brian Tracey. and motivational speakers who seem to have special intuition or common sense for selecting approaches to help people improve. were selected and listened to with trust and optimism because they sound good—not because there is solid scientific evidence that the strategies work. The fallacy of relying on common sense Since we live psychology every day. there is no doubt that good common sense can go a long way in selecting effective techniques for benefiting human achievement. Indeed. strategies suggested for developing self-esteem and building personal success are quite similar. Denis Waitley. Stuberg “The Courage to Live Your Dreams” by L. Tom Peters. which comes from the experience of the researcher. and videotapes. Also. Anthony Robbins. White “Goal Setting” by Z. As mentioned. The primary purpose of this text is to teach the most effective approaches for dealing with the human aspects of occupational safety and health. including attitude and behavior change. These principles and procedures were not selected because they sound good. line workers. Tracey “The Universal Laws of Success and Achievement” by B. At a four-day Quality Enhancement . Ziglar “The Secrets of Power Persuasion” by R. Dawson “The 12 Life Secrets” by R. safety professionals. and many others who successfully market techniques for increasing human potential and achievement are particularly skillful at selecting those principles and procedures backed by research. if any. Willard Which. Many of the same anecdotes and quotes from famous people are repeated across audiotapes. Brown “The New Dynamics of Goal Setting” by D.4. of these pop psychology audiotapes gives safety professionals the “truth”—the most effective and practical tools for dealing with the human aspects of safety? Many of the strategies to promote personal growth and achievement. Robbins “The Psychology of Achievement” by B. Waitley “Self-Esteem” by J. common sense is subjective. Tracey “The Psychology of Success” by B. based on a person’s everyday selective experiences and biased interpretation of those experiences. I prefer principles and procedures based on scientific knowledge.10 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Psychology of safety handbook “The Science of Personal Achievement” by N. audiotapes. Tazer and S. Moawad “Lead the Field” by E. I have met many people. But as depicted in Figure 1. with goal-setting and self-affirmations (such as repeating “I am the greatest” to oneself) leading the list. but because their validity has been supported with sound research.

decision making is a biased shot in the dark. • Common sense knowledge is individual. for example. Contrary to popular belief there is not too little common sense in business. “Experience teaches us nothing. • Common sense knowledge is vague. Consider. I heard W. Daniels. a world-renowned educator and consultant in the field of organizational performance management. Aubrey C. scientific knowledge is gained through theory-driven objective experimentation. scientific knowledge questions the obvious. Thus. scientific knowledge is gained through controlled experimentation. Edwards Deming assert. . scientific knowledge is precise. • Common sense cannot be counted on to produce consistent results. reflecting the need to be cautious when relying on only common sense to deal with human aspects of occupational health and safety. • Common sense knowledge accepts the obvious. while scientific knowledge must be pursued deliberately and systematically.” Deming called for theory to guide objective and reliable observations.” Daniels lists the following distinctions between common sense and scientific knowledge. Dr. Bringing out the Best in People. that’s why American business is in such a mess. I have heard or read a number of psychology-related statements from motivational speakers and consultants that sound like good common sense but in fact contradict scientific knowledge. • Common sense knowledge is acquired in ordinary business and living. while common sense is gained through biased subjective experience. that he is “on a crusade to stamp out the use of common sense in business. Some of these statements appear so many times in the pop psychology literature that they are accepted as basic truths. asserts in his book.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 11 Figure 1. Seminar in 1991. when in fact they cannot be substantiated with objective evidence. applications of scientific knowledge yield the same results every time. there is too much.4 Without science. and to integrate the results from these systematic data-based experiences. the following 15 myths which are commonly stated but make no sense. scientific knowledge is universal. • Common sense is gained through uncontrolled experience.

Ask yourself the question “How could they know?” and you will see that this statement is ridiculous. or follow a stretch and exercise routine. it is always better to communicate one-to-one in private.” Think about what is being said here.” Psychology of safety handbook Sound familiar? Actually whether correcting behavior or giving recognition. others fear verbal harassment from peers. It is even the title of a self-help book. I like the conclusion.12 Myth 1. Have you been kissing up to the boss again?” Myth 2. “We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. “We can only motivate ourselves. That’s something worth learning. Then a local farmer reminded me. but the number of times belt use occurred before it became automatic varied dramatically across individuals. primarily because we learn more from correct than incorrect performance. efficient. for example. “77 percent of our mental thoughts are negative. It takes 21 days for an egg to hatch into a chicken. They imagine someone saying. Myth 4. You learn what you need to continue in order to be successful. Myth 3. “Reprimand privately but recognize publicly.” I am sure you have heard this foolish assertion. Their occurrence will probably always require some deliberate motivating influence. how ingrained was a person’s routine of entering and starting a vehicle without buckling up? How inconvenient is the simple buckle-up behavior for a certain individual in a particular vehicle? Some behaviors are so complex or inconvenient they never become habitual. and frankly insults the intelligence of most listeners. What do you learn when you make a mistake? You learn what not to do. “Why did you deserve that ‘safe-employee-of-the-month’ award? I’ve done as much around here for safety as you. but consider how much more you learn when you do something correctly and receive feedback that you are correct. .” I have heard more than one pop psychologist make this statement to justify the need to give more positive than negative feedback. These important safety-related behaviors are never likely to become automatic. But to claim that a certain proportion of negative thoughts pervade the minds of human beings is absurd. Some people are embarrassed by public commendation. or perhaps habitual. In Section 4 of this Handbook. But to presume there is a set number of repetitions needed for habit formation is downright silly. and depended partly on the strength of the old bad habit. We do need more recognition for correct behavior than correction for incorrect behavior. Never recognize a person in front of a group without that person’s permission. Myth 5. complete a behavioral audit. That is why it is important to support the safe work practices of our friends and teammates. Specifically. not others. Many people have developed the habit of safety-belt use. Consider the chain of behaviors needed to lock out a power source. “Do something 21 times and it becomes a habit. convenient. or we could not motivate others to choose the safe way of doing something when the at-risk alternative is more comfortable. Behavior needs to be repeated many times to develop fluency and then a habit. For years I have wondered where the “21” came from.” It is a good thing this frequent pop psychology statement is untrue. whether external or self-imposed.

1993) has been read by too many safety professionals. One’s talent is the ultimate observable factor determining whether a particular task is done well. Longterm success of a performance team. We try to find our niche. 1994. Myth 8.” Perhaps you have even made a similar assertion to motivate someone to try harder. “Incentives and rewards are detrimental to self-motivation. there is a finite range of jobs we can perform effectively. Several selection techniques can be used to match talent with job. whether in sports or industry. “Brainpower. Environmental. “You can do anything you want. and desire make the difference. Of course. Few of us can become the professional athlete. “People can perform any job they really want. It is very important to recognize and understand our limitations. and this can have a temporary detrimental effect on individual performance. 1998).” Perhaps the most common theme among the research-based management/leadership books I have read is that talent is the key to success. is dependent on matching talents with tasks or functions. but surely they cannot be true. 2000). Myth 6. this myth is getting dispersed at safety conferences and in safety magazines. The key is to use a behavior-based approach to incentive/reward programs.” I am sure you have heard something like. Of course. Most of us could not even become President. these factors contribute to an individual’s interests and abilities. Incentives and rewards are far more likely to benefit desired performance and even self-motivation for long-term behavior change if they are used correctly. By the time we reach employment age. which together define talent. Such assessment tools help determine people’s special interests and skills. 1996). and psychological factors limit our potential and narrow the range of things we can do with our lives. experience. or movie star we would like to be. Eisenberger and Camerson. we should attempt to become the best we can be within our limitations.” This unfounded statement is related to the previous pop psychology myth. it is short-lived (Carton. Naturally. but this should not lead to despair. 1999). “trying harder” cannot substitute for talent. Myth 7. words like these sound good. A popular book entitled Punished by Rewards (Kohn. Yes. which are largely determined when a person applies for a job. and method.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 13 I discuss the role of external motivational intervention to increase safe behavior and decrease at-risk behavior. I only want to discredit the myth that only self-motivation works. you can insult one’s intelligence or self-motivation by using the wrong type of intervention to improve a particular behavior (Geller.5. equipment. 1996. Now. entertainer. or desire (see especially Buckingham and Coffman. As illustrated in Figure 1. from interviews and interest questionnaires to abilities tests and behavioral observation. Cameron and Pierce. people can learn new tasks and thereby expand their possibilities. if you just persist long and hard enough. indicates this negative impact is relatively infrequent and if it does occur. as I detail later in Chapter 11 of this Handbook. not brainpower. as well as to realize our special interests and skills. physical. however. . Rather. motivation. So a manager’s critical challenge is to select the right (talented) person for a job. but there is a limit. Research. and is frequently used by safety professionals to criticize all applications of incentives to improve safety performance (Krause. Here.

“Spend more time with the least productive workers. managers or supervisors have the talent and time to “fix” an employee’s weaknesses. to support desired (e. the more time it will take. the more weaknesses people have.5 Motivation cannot substitute for equipment and method. Those employees more successful at a particular task are more talented and. . at-risk) behavior. this discussion leads to an opposite assumption and action plan. few. It is far more cost effective to identify people’s strengths and give them the kind of job opportunities that benefit from their talents and enable them to flourish. It is far more cost effective to keep talented personnel working at optimal levels than helping those less talented at a particular role improve their effectiveness.” This seems to be a common theme in supervisory counseling and performance appraisal sessions. This also follows from an assumption that the more productive workers know what they are doing and do not need supervisory attention. I mean more than a list of job components on a behavioral checklist. “Identify people’s weaknesses and fix them. contribute more to the successful performance of a team or business unit. They can provide objective feedback. Myth 9. of course.14 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 1. However. Managers who believe this is their job will naturally spend more time with the least productive employees. Managers need to assure these people have what it takes to make the best of their talents. Myth 10. These employees need supportive feedback and recognition.g.. resources and managerial support are limited. However.g. Here.. In many if not most job settings. if any. safe) behavior and correct undesired (e. I am referring to a person’s relative ability to perform a certain job.” Attempting to fix people’s weaknesses takes time. therefore.

few people like criticism and most people enjoy genuine praise. and have different needs. They need to believe they are contributing individually and creatively to their team. We are all unique. My refutation of Myth 9 leads to an obvious contradiction of this myth. “There is one best way to perform every job. But I hope I have made my point. it is safe to make some generalizations. This was termed “The Peter Principle” by Lawrence Peter (1969). and maintain talent. Myth 12. should you really treat people the way you want to be treated? What kind of job recognition would you want—public or private? Would you want a manager to emphasize competition or co-operation when requesting more applications of your talent? Would an incentive to work overtime insult you or demotivate you? Would you appreciate an extrinsic reward for your extra effort? Do you want cash. managers should play favorites. “Promotion is the best way to reward excellence. however. including a higher salary and more authority. When you give talent an opportunity to improve. it does. Specifically. “Don’t play favorites. I am sure you see how this myth can stifle creativity and the ability to keep talents thriving on the same job. not see it leave for another position. to individuals who excel at a particular job. with continued promotions people can be promoted to jobs at which they are actually incompetent. Of course. For example. with perhaps some minimal acceptance. When working with people to identify job-related talents. and interests. Allowing for and expecting people to find better ways to perform a job will lead to continuous improvement. desires. After finding the best talent for a job and enabling that talent to flourish and improve. a meal for two at a local restaurant. For this to happen.” This myth is obviously detrimental to optimizing a system. or two tickets to the football game on Saturday? Many more questions could be asked related to desired ways to select. given the need to keep people working at tasks that use their talents. recognition and promotion need to occur within the same job assignment. This is unlikely if they feel they are only following someone else’s protocol or assigned checklist. . but rather listen empathetically and observe carefully to find out how to treat others. support. Okay. but now I have gone too far.” This myth is of course inconsistent with the prior myth that managers should spend more time with less productive employees. you followed my logic up to this point. In fact.” This is a common belief in many traditional hierarchical organizations. Myth 14. managers need to keep that talent on the job. As I indicated previously. Yet it seems commonplace to offer promotion. and then helping the best talents succeed where needed. How can anyone refute “The Golden Rule”? I question the literal translation of this rule. managers need to spend more time with their more talented employees. But effective managers do not assume others like what they like. How much of a paradigm shift would this be for your company? Can your culture develop heroes at every role? Myth 13. It must be possible for an employee to be promoted to a higher status level by doing the same job rather than leaving for another.” I bet this statement is heavily ingrained in your belief system and it is difficult for you to consider this a myth. It is simply not wise nor valid to assume everyone else wants to be treated as you want to be treated. “Follow The Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 15 Myth 11. Sustaining talent on a particular job requires workers to feel like heroes.

for example. At this point. without any empirical verification. however. However. who also found property damage to be a reliable predictor or leading indicator of personal injury (see Bird and Davies. This ratio between at-risk behavior and injury was first proposed in the 1930s by H.” This statement does show the connection between behavior and injury. It has been repeated so often. does not generally support the following common statements related to the psychology of occupational health and safety. Thus. This happens all too often when dealing with a topic like psychology about which everyone has an opinion from their biased common sense. case studies will illustrate the practicality and benefits of a particular principle or procedure. Rewards for not having injuries reduce injuries. Relying on research This Handbook teaches research-based psychology related to occupational safety. Research in psychology. Manage only that which can be measured. with reference to scientific knowledge obtained from systematic research. some safety pros refer to it as “Heinrich’s Law. Zero injuries should be a safety goal. is not about a pro-active vs. The approaches presented in this text were originally discovered and verified with systematic and repeated scientific research in laboratory and field settings. Heinrich (1931). re-active approach to safety. 1996). its status was elevated to “basic principle” or “natural law. Attitudes need to be changed before behavior will change. as verified empirically by Frank Bird in 1966 and 1969. and implies that a pro-active approach to injury prevention requires attention to behaviors and near hits. All injuries are preventable. I hope you are open to questioning the validity of good-sounding statements that are not supported by sound research.16 Psychology of safety handbook Myth 15. the number of at-risk behaviors per injury is much larger than 300. • • • • • • • • • • Practice makes perfect. Start with behavior Many pop psychology self-help books. by reading this text you will improve your common sense about the psychology of safety. and after years of use in safety speeches and publications. audiotapes.” It started as a mere estimate. People will naturally help in a crisis. Human nature motivates safe and healthy behavior. “Behavioral . but rather how the long-term repetition of an unfounded proclamation that sounds good can become a common myth with presumed validity. Spare the rod and spoil the child. W.” I could not end this brief list of unfounded claims without adding the most popular myth in the field of industrial safety. These and other common safety beliefs will be refuted in this book. My point here. Safety should be considered a priority. “For every 300 unsafe acts there are 29 minor injuries and 1 major injury. Sometimes. and motivational speeches give minimal if any attention to behavior-based approaches to personal achievement. but the validity of the information was not founded on case studies alone.

. Professor Skinner and his followers have shown over and over again that behavior is motivated by its consequences. personal approaches should not be used. This Handbook will teach you how certain feeling states critical for safety achievement— self-esteem. was one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated scientists and scholars of this century. because it takes people to implement the tools of behavior management. Skinner. internal (unobserved) personal states of mind continually influence observable behaviors. As illustrated in Figure 1. the scientific principles and procedures from behavioral science have been underappreciated and underused. and belonging—can be increased by applying behavioral science. it is Figure 1. empowerment. an attitude of frustration or an internal state of distress can certainly influence driving behaviors. and vice versa. The term “behavior” has negative connotations. F. It is important to consider the feelings and attitudes of employees. This Handbook teaches you how to apply behavioral science for safety achievement.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 17 control” and “behavior modification” do not sound good. the founder of behavioral science and its many practical applications. Thus. and thus behavior can be changed by controlling the events that follow behavior. B. while changes in observable behaviors continually affect changes in person states or attitudes. But this principle of “control by consequences” does not sound as good as “control by positive thinking and free will.” Therefore. The research recommends we start with behavior. primarily because the behavior management principles he taught did not sound good. Indeed. It is possible to establish interpersonal interactions and behavioral consequences in the workplace to increase important feelings and attitudes. I will show you how increasing these feeling states benefits behavior and helps to achieve safety excellence.6.6 Behavior influences attitude and attitude influences behavior. But the demonstrated validity of a behavior-based approach does not mean the better-sounding. Two particularly insightful but underappreciated and misunderstood books by Skinner are Walden Two (1948) and Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971).” Dr. as in “let’s talk about your behavior at the party last night.

1994. Detrimental effects of reward: reality or myth?. 363. Cameron. Inc. coaching. A. And all of this could start with a relatively insignificant behavior change in one employee— a “small win. Buckingham. workshop presented by Quality Enhancement Seminars. principles. Cincinnati. Program for increasing health and physical fitness of fire fighters. Safety and the Bottom Line.. Educ.. Behav.. Taylor & Francis.18 Psychology of safety handbook possible to “think a person into safe behaviors” (through education.. J. and to illustrate practical procedures for applying these principles to achieve significant improvements in organizational and community-wide safety. R. W. 27 110. Small changes in behavior can result in attitude change. The principles and procedures are not based on common sense nor intuition. it is most cost effective to target behaviors first through behavior management interventions (described in this text) implemented by employees themselves. fancies. The differential effects of tangible rewards and praise on intrinsic motivation: a comparison of cognitive evaluation theory and operant theory. References Bird.. J. Daniels. Be ready to relinquish fads. J.. Loganville. Inc.. 1989. C. Institute Publishing. L. 1996. Res. J. This spiraling of behavior feeding attitude. Mital. Occup. and I promise greater safety achievement in your organization if you follow the principles and procedures presented here. Approach this material with an open mind. F.. New York. Reference to the research literature is given throughout this text to verify the concepts. E... New York. 2nd ed. but rather on reliable scientific investigation. Med. attitude feeding behavior. and intrinsic motivation: a meta-analysis. productivity.. In an industrial setting. in Advances in Industrial Ergonomics and Safety.. as reflected in their daily behavior. M. S. and Davies. Quality. and procedures discussed.. Some will contradict common folklore in pop psychology and require shifts in traditional approaches to the management of organizational safety. Bjurstrom. which are to teach principles for understanding the human aspects of occupational health and safety. McGraw-Hill. 64. Rev. Anal. GA. and Coffman. L. Am. I have outlined the basic orientation and purpose of this text.” In conclusion In this initial chapter. 1985 Carton.. and folklore for innovations based on unpopular but research-supported theory. Deming. reward. Cady. 2000. Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Priority to key areas and management by results in the national accident prevention policy. J. 1996. and Pierce.. M. D. Eisenberger. and consensus-building exercises). and Cameron. OH. J. .. E. followed by more behavior change and more desired attitude change. and it is possible to “act a person into safe thinking” (through behavior management techniques). 51. and Karwasky.. May 1991. P. 19. London. Ed. 1996. First.. Jr.. Reinforcement. D. W. Read some of these yourself to experience the rewards of scientific inquiry and distance yourself from the frivolity of common sense. 237. R. A. Thomas.. I promise this “psychology of safety” is based on the latest and most reliable scientific knowledge. 1153. behaviors feeding attitudes and so on can lead to employees becoming totally committed to safety achievement. 1999. R. and competitive position. Bringing out the Best in People. Psychol. Simon & Schuster. C.. C.

2000. 1988... E. A. Incentive Plans. 1994b. Occup.. 141. 1989.. The international safety rating system in South African mining. Do we really know how well our occupational accident prevention programs work?. Saf. S. J.. and Brown. R. Saf. 1969. Motivating employees for safety success. E. and Aaltonen. W. 20.. 10. S. Taylor & Francis.. T. Psychol. 473.C. Kroemer. A poster campaign for improving safety on shipyard scaffolds. Res. M.. 28(11). Encycl. 1993. Saf. New York. Occup. M. Matteson... 445.... Risk perception and safety on offshore petroleum platforms. Saarela. 1990. 1993... L. Skinner. R. J. 1989. T. F.. Oborne. 149. International safety rating system: New Zealand’s experience with a successful strategy. L. Ivancevich.. Aloray. 1989. S. Safe Behavior Reinforcement. New York. 252.. 11. a Scientific Approach.. D.. Murphy. 57. Occup. Occup. Petersen. Kohn. Prof. H. 12. R. 1984. S. Alfred A. Saf. M. K. J. J. 16. 45(3). Krause. Praise. Psychol. Survey reliability vs. Hum.. J. T. K. Freedman. Shipley. H. B. and Leger.. J. validity. P. Prev. M. F. 61. Hyg. and Phillips.. Person-Centered Ergonomics: a Brontonian View of Human Factors. Res. E. and Other Bribes.. Morrow. Saarela. J. Pringle. Ergonomics. P. Branton. R. 1931.. and Stewart. Guastello. Guastello. 3. 255. Heinrich... 1991.. 1948. 22. 1971. Saf. News. B. E. McGraw-Hill.. F. S. J. D. J. What’s in a perception survey?.. Saf. T. L. Peter. S. S. Am. S... Part II. News. S.. Saf. 21. Eds.. Walden Two. 177. Geller. 32(9). 28(12). An intervention program utilizing small groups: a comparative study.. .. Hyg. Sci. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York. Accid.. Houghton Mifflin.. A. K. L. Worksite stress management interventions. Accid. Ind.. Occupational stress management: a review and appraisal. 1990. 53. Hyg. MacMillan. Biol.. 1994a. J.. News. J. 12. New York. 1990. H. Accid. 1998. The effects of an informal safety campaign in the ship building industry. Accid. Geller. 45. Washington.. D. Saarela. 1. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars. 41. 12. 10.. Perceived risk. Ind. 1993. Sci. Saf. 1992. The Peter Principle.Chapter one: Choosing the right approach 19 Eisner. 1989. A’s.. Industrial Accident Prevention. Saari. 21. Knopf. job stress and accidents. D. K. 15. Anal. New York. New York.. Rundmo. Leal. Geller. Skinner. Catastrophe modeling of the accident process: evaluation of an accident reduction program using the Occupational Hazards Survey. How to select behavioral strategies. J. J. Ind. L.


A critical challenge. This vision for a Total Safety . and performance expectations. New procedures or intervention programs are tried seemingly at random. Productivity. behavior. Then teach these principles to your employees so they are understood. By summarizing the appropriate theory or principles into a mission statement. It is important to develop a set of comprehensive principles on which to base safety procedures and policies. is to choose the most relevant theories or principles for your company culture and purpose. 1990) emphasizes the same point in his popular books The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. and person-based factors.1. You will see how a vision for a Total Safety Culture is a necessary guide to achieve safety excellence. and appreciated.”—Kurt Lewin As you know. This buy-in is certainly strengthened when employees or associates help select the safety principles to follow and summarize them in a company mission statement. plan. A basic principle here is that safety performance results from the dynamic interaction of environment. or supporting set of principles. This is theory-based safety. The mission statement Several years ago I worked with employees of a major chemical company to develop the general mission statement for safety given in Figure 2. and develop an appropriate and feasible mission statement that reflects the right theory. it is difficult to design and refine procedures to stay on course. Achieving a Total Safety Culture requires attention to each of these. you have a standard for judging the value of your company’s procedures. policies.chapter two Starting with theory In this chapter we consider the value of theory in guiding our approaches to safety and health improvement. some safety efforts suffer from a “flavor of the month” syndrome. without an apparent vision. accepted. I make a case for integrating person-based and behavior-based psychology in order to address most effectively the human dynamics of injury prevention. Covey (1989. and Competitive Position. This was the theme of Deming’s four-day workshops on Quality. “There’s nothing so practical as a good theory. Without a guiding theory or set of principles. employees’ acceptance and involvement suffer. A theory or set of guiding principles makes it possible to evaluate the consistency and validity of program goals and intervention strategies. of course. Principle-Centered Leadership and First Things First co-authored by Merrill and Merrill (1994). When the mission and principles are not clear.

ownership.1 reflects a destination for safety within the realm of psychology. To that end. and encourages innovation. employees learned basic psychological theories most relevant to improving occupational safety. supported by scientific data from research in psychology. My client sent me step-by-step instructions to take me from Interstate 95 to Palatka. but is a value associated with every priority. along with operational (real-world) definitions. optimism. Culture serves as a guideline or standard for the material presented throughout this book. FL. Reinforces the need for employees to actively care about their fellow coworkers. enthusiasm.1 The principles and procedures covered in this Handbook are reflected in this safety achievement mission statement. but it is based on appropriate and comprehensive theory. Promotes the philosophy that safety is not a priority that can be reordered. but sufficient I presumed to get the job done—to get me to the Holiday Inn in Palatka. . Before developing this statement. and leadership. These principles are illustrated throughout this text. empowerment. Figure 2. limited in scope for sure. in the same way a corporate mission statement serves as a yardstick for gauging the development and implementation of policies and procedures. teamwork. That was my map. This story also reflects the difficulty in finding the best theory among numerous possibilities. education. training. a TSC: Promotes a work environment based on employee involvement. Builds self-esteem. I had the opportunity to conduct a training program at a company in Palatka. Theory as a map I would like to relate an experience to show how a theory can be seen as a map to guide us to a destination. Recognizes group and individual achievement. The mission statement in Figure 2. But while at the National Car Rental desk. This mission statement might not be suited for all organizations.22 Psychology of safety handbook Mission Statement A Total Safety Culture continually improves safety performance. pride. an attendant said my client’s directions were incorrect and showed me the “correct way” with National’s map of Jacksonville.

but one pulled out a detailed map of Florida and eventually found the town of Palatka. but another vehicle had also just stopped in the parking lot. As depicted in Figure 2. and Palatka was not on the map. But National’s map showed details for a limited area. Perhaps. Without a complete perspective. I was desperate for a solution to my problem and had no other place to turn. But I stuck by my decision. And I got lost. . I could not verify the attendant’s directions with the map. with no personal verification. grubby characters in a pick-up truck loaded with motorcycles that I was lost and wondered if they knew how to get to Palatka. I now had a professionally printed map and directions from someone in the business of helping customers with travel plans—a consultant. a motivated worker cannot reach safety goals with the wrong theory or principles. It was late Sunday night and the gas station off the exit ramp was closed. The packaging of this theory was not impressive. but I accepted this new “theory” anyway. but motivation without appropriate direction can do more harm than good. I chose the theory that looked best. I was quick to give up my earlier theory (from my client’s handwritten instructions) for this more professional display. I drove closer and announced to four tough-looking. but my back was against the wall.2 Start your journey with the right theory. nor could I compare these directions with my client’s very different instructions. I wondered whether I was now on the right track. I could not see the details in the dark. After traveling 15 miles. After all. I certainly needed to reach my destination that night.2.Chapter two: Starting with theory 23 Figure 2. so to speak. and drove another ten miles before exiting the highway in search of further instruction. In other words. As I left the parking lot with a new theory. I began to question the “National theory” and wondered whether my client’s scribbling had been correct after all. None of these men had heard of Palatka. it is critical to start out with the right map (or theory).

principles. When employees appreciate and affirm the theory. the one who gave me the handwritten instructions. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. It is relevant. On this foundation. Whom should I believe? Fortunately.24 Psychology of safety handbook the theory obtained from the National Car rental attendants was correct and I had missed an exit. each had a different theory on the best way to travel between the Jacksonville airport and Palatka. they will get involved in designing and implementing the action steps. there is a huge market of self-help books. except the need for an appropriate theory—in this case a map. Obviously. research. I told the human resource manager and the safety director. They will also suggest ways to refine or expand action plans and theory on the basis of systematic observations or scientific evidence. Without a relevant theory my experience taught me nothing. As discussed in Chapter 1. This does not mean you should avoid the slick. I looked beyond the slick packaging and went with the guy who had the more comprehensive perspective (the larger map).” At breakfast. though. because I did not have a visual picture or schema (a comprehensive map) in which to fit the various approaches (or routes) they were discussing. The theory that got me to Palatka was not the most professional or believable. This is the best kind of continuous improvement. nor was it “packaged” impressively. I did not have a framework or paradigm to organize their verbal descriptions. Many are sold or taught as packaged programs or stepby-step procedures for any workplace culture. This theory got me to the Holiday Inn Palatka. and procedures given in pop psychology books and audiotapes are founded on limited or no scientific data. that the more comprehensive map enabled me to find my destination. I only wish these factors were given much less weight than scientific data. and videotapes addressing concepts seemingly relevant to understanding and managing the human dynamics of safety. culture-relevant procedures and interventions can be crafted by employees who will “own” and thus follow them. Many of the anecdotes. and consultants to help solve people problems related to safety. about my problems finding Palatka. In other words. well-marketed approaches to occupational safety. When the workforce understands the theory and accepts the summary mission statement. The human resource manager recommended the route I eventually took. teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Interestingly. It reminded me of the dilemma facing many safety professionals when they choose approaches. Theories. Their discussion was not enlightening. The safety director stuck with his initial instructions. . In fact it got me more confused. I have found that many of the human approaches to improving safety are limited in scope or theoretical foundation. audiotapes. more of the material was probably used because it sounded good rather than because systematic research found it valid. it is more useful to teach comprehensive theory and principles. programs. Then it is a good idea to have an employee task force summarize the theory in a safety mission statement. Relevance to occupational safety That evening I thought about my experience and its relevance to safety. intervention processes based on the theory will not be viewed as “flavor of the month. As the old saying goes.” but as an action plan to bring the theory to life. A theory should serve as the map that provides direction to meet a specific safety challenge. In the long run. it is important to teach the basic theory to everyone who must meet the challenge. In fact. and tools in psychology are so vast and often so complex that it can be an overwhelming task to select a theory or set of principles to follow.

. Motives. Standards. This Total Safety Culture mission is much easier said than done. Coaching. and they intervene to correct them. safety is considered a value linked with every priority of a given situation. behaviors that reduce the probability of injury often involve environmental change and lead to attitudes consistent with the safe behaviors. 2. procedures. Changes in one factor eventually impact the other two. In other words. • Safe work practices are supported intermittently with rewarding feedback from both peers and managers. Person Knowledge. 3. • People “actively care” continuously for the safety of themselves and others. • People go beyond the call of duty to identify unsafe conditions and at-risk behaviors. and temperature). physical layout. Intelligence. Abilities. • Safety is not considered a priority that can be conveniently shifted depending on the demands of the situation. standards. For example. as well as going beyond the call of duty to intervene on behalf of another person’s safety). tools. when people choose to act safely.1 reflects the ultimate in safety—a Total Safety Culture. but it is achievable through a variety of safety processes rooted in the disciplines of engineering and psychology. These behaviors often result in some environmental change. rather.3. a Total Safety Culture requires continual attention to three domains. 1989. Environment factors (including equipment. Recognizing. Communicating. Skill. 1. . Machines Housekeeping. Heat/Cold Engineering. Geller et al. they act themselves into safe thinking. Behavior factors (including safe and at-risk work practices. • Everyone feels responsible for safety and does something about it on a daily basis. These three factors are dynamic and interactive. In a Total Safety Culture. 1989) and is illustrated in Figure 2. This is especially true if the behaviors are viewed as voluntary. Operating Procedures Figure 2. Demonstrating ''Actively Caring'' Equipment. beliefs.Chapter two: Starting with theory 25 A basic mission and theory The mission statement in Figure 2. Person factors (including people’s attitudes. Personality Environment Safety Culture Behavior Complying. This triangle of safety-related factors has been termed “The Safety Triad” (Geller. and personalities). Tools.3 A Total Safety Culture requires continual attention to three types of contributing factors. Generally.

or feelings. Most can be classified into one of two basic approaches: person-based and behavior-based. FL. person-based approaches There are numerous opinions and recommendations on how the psychology of safety can be used to produce beneficial changes in people and organizations. behavior-based approaches attack the clients’ behaviors directly. They teach clients new thinking strategies or give them insight into the origin of their abnormal or unhealthy thoughts. behavior. The behavior and person factors represent the human dynamics of occupational safety and are addressed in this book. Paying attention to only behavior-based factors (the observable activities of people) or to only person-based factors (unobservable feeling states or attitudes of people) is like using a limited map to find a destination.4 illustrates the complex interaction of environment. attitudes. most psychotherapies focus on changing people either from the inside (“thinking people into acting differently”) or from the outside (“acting people into thinking differently”). Behavior-based vs. In contrast. and behavior factors. as with my attempt to find Palatka. person. The mission to achieve a Total Safety Culture requires a comprehensive framework—a complete map of the relevant psychological territory. from neurosis to psychosis. Person-based approaches attack individual attitudes or thinking processes directly. and person factors. depending upon the nature of the problem. Many clinical psychologists use both person-based and behavior-based techniques with their clients. They change relationships between behaviors and their consequences. That is. can be classified as essentially person-based or behavior-based. Sometimes the same client is . most of the numerous psychotherapies available to treat developmental disabilities and psychological disorders. The basic principle here is that behavior-based and personbased factors need to be addressed in order to achieve a Total Safety Culture. These two divergent approaches to understanding and managing the human element represent the psychology of injury prevention.4 Performance results from the dynamic interaction of environment.26 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 2. Figure 2. In fact.

The person-based approach Imagine you see two employees pushing each other in a parking lot as a crowd gathers around to watch. and believing is a critical determinant of personal success. 1976). Ineffectiveness and abnormal thinking and behavior result from large discrepancies between one’s real self (“who I am”) and ideal self (“who I would like to be”). Is this aggressive behavior. and mental attitude are essential to understanding and appreciating the human dynamics of a problem. or personal interactions. and self-help books. . Alfred Adler. as evidenced by the current market of pop psychology videotapes. in fact. Concepts like intention. attitudes. 5. Thus. This text will show you how to integrate relevant principles from these two psychological approaches in order to achieve a Total Safety Culture. such as the behavior-based principles of performance management or the permanent personality trait perspective of psychoanalysis. I am convinced both are relevant in certain ways for improving health and safety. People are much more than their behaviors. Focusing only on observable behavior does not explain enough. motivation. a person-based approach in the workplace applies surveys. The present state of an individual in terms of feeling. The key principles of humanism found in most pop psychology approaches to increase personal achievement are 1. Abraham Maslow. A wide range of therapies fall within the general framework of person-based. However. or a teaching/learning demonstration. behaviors. that one person was being hostile while the other was just having fun or the contact started as horseplay and progressed to aggression. 4. as well as personal effectiveness and achievement. conditions. personal interviews. subjective interpretation. Individuals have far more potential to achieve than they typically realize and should not feel hampered by past experiences or present liabilities. from the psychoanalytic techniques of Sigmund Freud. horseplay. 2. It is possible. a truly accurate account might require you to assess each individual’s personal feelings. thinking. Everyone is unique in numerous ways. This scenario illustrates a basic premise of the person-based approach. creativity. you will decide whether this is aggression.Chapter two: Starting with theory 27 treated with person-based and behavior-based intervention strategies. Some current popular industrial psychology tools—such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and other trait measures of personality. One’s self-concept influences mental and physical health. 6. selfesteem. and Carl Jung to the clientcentered humanism developed and practiced by Carl Rogers. Individual motives vary widely and come from within a person. Humanism is the most popular person-based approach today. or mutual instruction for self-defense? Are the employees physically attacking each other to inflict harm or does this physical contact indicate a special friendship and mutual understanding of the line between aggression and play? Perhaps if you watch longer and pay attention to verbal behavior. and focus-group discussions to find out how individuals feel about certain situations. or risk taking propensity—stem from psychoanalytic theory and practice. audiotapes. or intentions. horseplay. 3. The special characteristics of individuals cannot be understood or appreciated by applying general principles or concepts.. and Viktor Frankl (Wandersman et al. intrinsic motivation.

Figure 2. Then in Section 5. environmental. (Contingencies are relationships between designated target behaviors and their supporting consequences).5 It is an S-R world after all. The behavior-based approach starts by identifying observable behaviors targeted for change and the environmental conditions or contingencies that can be manipulated to influence the target behavior(s) in desired directions. 1990) will recognize these eminent industrial consultants as humanists. intentions. I have much more to say about this ABC approach to understanding and improving behavior in Sections 3 and 4 of this Handbook. . Skinner rejected for scientific study unobservable factors such as self-esteem.28 Psychology of safety handbook Readers familiar with the writings of Deming (1986. 1974). and attitudes. For many applications. The basic idea is that behavior can be objectively studied and changed by identifying and manipulating environmental conditions (or stimuli) that immediately precede and follow a target behavior. escape. Therefore.5 any of our daily behaviors are directed by preceding activators and motivated by ensuing consequences. as shown in Figure 2. or avoid after performing a target behavior. The antecedent conditions (which I call “activators”) signal when behavior can achieve a pleasant consequence (a reward) or avoid an unpleasant consequence (a penalty). they are right. Accordingly. people are motivated by the consequences they expect to receive. activators direct behavior. He researched only observable behavior and its social. In his experimental analysis of behavior. I explain how the person-based approach of the humanists can be integrated with the behavior-based approach to bring out the best in people and their organizations for the sake of achieving a Total Safety Culture. However. The behavior-based approach The behavior-based approach to applied psychology is founded on behavioral science as conceptualized and researched by Skinner (1938. or advocates of a personbased approach. 1993) and Covey (1989. and consequences determine whether the behavior will recur. and physiological determinants. Humanists maintain that this ABC (activator—behavior—consequence) analysis is much too simple to explain human behavior.

Also. counsel. subjective.. Unfortunately. Ward. correct. Thus.. • When we lecture. 1995. More than three decades of research have shown convincingly that this on-site approach is cost effective. certain behaviors change as a result (Fishbein and Ajzen. In contrast. clinical psychologists receive specialized therapy or counseling training for four or more years. Goldstein and Krasner. attitudes. In contrast. From the start. a behavior-based process can be continually refined or altered. rehabilitation institute. 1965). teachers. is that humanists and behaviorists are complete opposites (Newman. first-line supervisors. Behavior-based methods are especially cost effective for large-scale applications. teachers.. Behaviorists are considered cold. or educate others in a one-on-one or group situation. 1992. Geller et al. Greene et al. McSween. see comprehensive research reviews by Elder et al. the idea was to reach people where problems occur—in the home. 1987). DePasquale and Geller. the person-based therapy process can be very timeconsuming. Wandersmann et al. and safety managers use both approaches in their attempts to change a person’s knowledge... they usually adjust their mental attitude and self-talk to parallel their actions (Festinger. making it cumbersome to assess therapeutic progress and obtain straightforward feedback regarding therapy skills. friends. 2000). 1989. 1994. 1957). we are operating from a behavior-based perspective. we are not always effective with our person-based or behavior-based change techniques. In order to apply person-based techniques to psychotherapy. followed by an internship of at least one year.g. By obtaining objective feedback on the impact of intervention techniques. Integrating approaches A common perspective. and caring.Chapter two: Starting with theory 29 Considering cost effectiveness When people act in certain ways. skills. Most parents. attitudes. 1976). And there is plenty of evidence that the behavior-based approach can dramatically improve an organization’s safety performance (e.. we are essentially using a person-based approach. 1982. or discipline others for what they have done. requiring numerous one-on-one sessions between professional therapist and client. supervisors. with limited . and often we do not know whether our intervention worked as intended. and workplace. production. values. even among psychologists. 1987. and health-related problems as a direct result of this approach to intervention (e. humanists are thought of as warm. and thinking styles is a demanding and complex process. This intensive training is needed because tapping into an individual’s perceptions. or coworkers the behaviorchange techniques most likely to work under the circumstances (Ullman and Krasner. primarily because behavior-change techniques are straightforward and relatively easy to administer and because intervention progress can be readily monitored by the ongoing observation of target behaviors. 1999. Consequently. and mechanistic. behavior-based psychotherapy was designed to be administered by individuals with minimal professional training. 1975). when people change their attitudes. for example—and to teach parents. or thinking strategies. person-based and behavior-based approaches to changing people can influence both attitudes and behaviors. objective. transportation. internal dimensions of people are extremely difficult to measure reliably. or behaviors. school. operating with minimal concern for people’s feelings. either directly or indirectly.g. Much community-based and organizational research has shown substantial improvements in environmental. • When we recognize. Petersen.

Given the foundations of humanism and behaviorism.. First Things First. New York. Profound knowledge on the person side comes from cognitive science. but not both. many consultants in the safety management field market themselves as using one or the other approach. 1989. Covey. W. This text shows you how to meet this challenge. Simon & Schuster. R. or coaches do not directly change their clients. Both the internal and external dimensions of people are covered in this Handbook as they relate to improving organizational safety. In fact. Center for Advanced Engineering Study. Figure 2. . Indeed. R. It is my firm belief that these approaches need to be integrated in order to truly understand the psychology of safety and build a Total Safety Culture. But it cannot be effective unless the work culture believes in the behavior-based principles and willingly applies them to achieve the mutual safety mission. In conclusion Theory or basic principles are needed to organize research findings and guide our approaches to improve the safety and health of an organization. When employees understand and accept the mission statement and guiding principles. S. R. You will do the training by using the observation and feedback techniques detailed later in Section 4 to improve your own or someone else’s behavior. A basic principle introduced in this chapter is that the safety performance of an organization results from the dynamic interaction of environment. R. New York. from the inside out. R. E.6 summarizes the distinction between person-based and behavior-based psychology and shows that both approaches contribute to understanding and helping people. The action plan will not be viewed as one more flavor of the month. 1994. References Covey. MA. New York. Simon & Schuster. Out of the Crisis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.. A. The basic humanistic approach is termed “nondirective” or “client-centered. Covey. to achieve a Total Safety Culture we need to integrate person-based and behavior-based psychology. The behavior and person dimensions represent the human aspect of industrial safety and reflect two divergent approaches to understanding the psychology of injury prevention. a vision for a Total Safety Culture incorporated into a mission statement is needed to guide us in developing action plans to achieve safety excellence. but rather provide empathy and a caring and supportive environment for enabling clients to change themselves.” Therapists. they become more involved in the mission.30 Psychology of safety handbook concern for directly changing another person’s behavior or attitude. counselors. S. Deming. S. This is crucial for cultivating a Total Safety Culture. whereas the behavior-based approach is founded on behavioral science. and person factors. This involves a person-based approach. The best I can do is provide education by improving your knowledge and thinking about the human dynamics of safety improvement.. R. Principle-Centered Leadership... Merril. the behavior-based approach is more cost effective than the person-based approach in affecting large-scale change. Therefore. behavior.. 1986. it is easy to build barriers between person-based and behavior-based perspectives and assume you must follow one or the other when designing an intervention process. Simon & Schuster. but as relevant to the right principles and useful for achieving shared goals. Taken alone. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. the workforce will help design and implement the action plans. 1990. and Merril. Cambridge. Similarly.

May 1991. Elmsford. 1987. Attitude. P.. J. I. Belief. OH. J. Modern Applied Psychology. DePasquale.. Newport. and Everett. P.. E. thoughts. 1957... beliefs. and Iwata. E. Winett. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.. E. 1987. Inc. 1999. Fishbein. Geller. F. J. New York. J. and competitive position. E. intentions External Behaviors: coaching.6 process. F. Education. M. Hovell. Motivating Health Behavior. E. S.. Deming. CA. 1989. W. Preserving the Environment: New Strategies for Behavior Change. 1989. Behav.. Inc.. 10(1). Van Nostrand Reinhold... Cambridge. Organ.. B. M. Make-A-Difference. Critical success factors for behavior-based safety: a study of twenty industry-wide applications. Lawrence. Reading. Res. Geller. Cincinnati. E. Elder. and Ajzen. MA. R. and Geller.. recognizing. perceptions.. 237. The internal and external aspects of people determine the success of a safety Deming. A. The New Economics for Industry. Lehman. A. S. Pergamon Press.. E. and Kalsher. S. B. VA. and values. Geller.. S. . Pergamon Press. Greene.. 181.. T. A. Goldstein. R. Addison-Wesley.Chapter two: Starting with theory 31 People Internal States Traits: attitudes. Saf.. M. Delmar Publishers. R. Behavior Analysis in the Community: Readings from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. J. G. complying. S. 1975. 1982. Geller. and Mayer. personalities. Managing occupational safety in the auto industry. KS. and Krasner. 1994. Stanford University Press. University of Kansas Press. New York. Winett. and Behavior: an Introduction to Theory and Research. Van Houten. productivity.. workshop presented by Quality Enhancement Seminars. Eds. R. Center for Advanced Engineering Study. MA. 1993. Geller. R. 1995. Stanford. W. NY.. The Values-Based Safety Process: Improving Your Safety Culture with a Behavioral Approach. D. Government. A.. L. P. McSween.. Quality... and actively caring * Education * Person Based * Cognitive Science * Perception Surveys * Training * Behaviour-Based * Behavioral Science * Behavioral Audits Figure 2. Behavior Analysis Training for Occupational Safety. Intention. E. 30. communicating. Manage.. Festinger.. S. E. A. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.. L. feelings. B. New York.

32 Psychology of safety handbook Newman. Petersen. Inc. L. 1989. 45(3). New York. B. & Winston. Humanism and Behaviorism: Dialogue and Growth. New York. Knopf. 1976.. F. Eds. 1965. B. B. 1992. A. and Krasner. The Reluctant Alliance: Behaviorism and Humanism... 1974. Alorey. Prometheus Books. Prof. Buffalo. P. D. The Behavior of Organisms.. One size doesn’t fit all: customizing helps merge behavioral and traditional approaches. Popper. 1938. Pergamon Press. Alfred A. Saf. . D. Skinner.. Rinehart.. Safe Behavior Reinforcement. About Behaviorism. New York.. Skinner. P. Case Studies in Behavior Modification.. Holt. 2000. S. 33. Ward.. Acton. Wandersman. F.. Copley Publishing Group. Ullman. New York. and Ricks... MA. NY. L.

and evaluation. The old three Es Enthusiasm for the early “psychological approach” waned because of the difficulty measuring its impact (Barry. It assumed people were responsible for most accidents and injuries. 1931). and that injury prevention depends on controlling that energy. it was thought that accidents could be reduced. this focus on accident proneness has not been effective. As the first administrator of the National Highway Safety Bureau [now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]. As I discussed in Chapter 1. 1975). attitude. The first systematic research began in the early 1900s and focused on finding the psychological causes of accidents. and resulted in developing personal protective equipment (PPE) for work and recreational . Also. 1992). the seminal research and scholarship of Haddon (1963. This so-called “psychological approach” held that certain individuals were “accident prone. the person factors contributing to accident proneness are probably not consistent characteristics or traits within people. personality. fear. The prevention focus now shifted to engineering and epidemiology. but vary from time to time and situation to situation.”—Joe Batten Safety in industry has improved dramatically in this century. Reducing accidents was typically attempted by “readjusting” attitude or personality.chapter three Paradigm shifts for total safety This chapter outlines ten new perspectives we need to adopt in order to exceed current levels of safety excellence and reach our ultimate goal—a Total Safety Culture. In addition. ergonomics. usually through supervisor counseling or discipline (Heinrich. 1968) suggested that engineering changes held the most promise for large-scale. The traditional three Es of safety management—engineering. stress. or emotional state (Guarnieri. A Total Safety Culture requires understanding and applying three additional Es—empowerment.” By removing these workers from risky jobs or by disciplining them to correct their attitude or personality problems. Haddon believed injury is caused by delivering excess energy to the body. long-term reductions in injury severity. usually through mental errors caused by anxiety. education. Let us examine the evolution of accident prevention to see how this was accomplished. and enforcement—have only gotten us so far. “Mindsets are yesterday—mind growth is tomorrow. Haddon was able to turn his theory and research into the first federal automobile safety standards. partly because reliable and valid measurement procedures are not available.

This brief history of the safety movement in the United States explains why engineering is the dominant paradigm in industrial health and safety (Petersen.. I certainly do not suggest abandoning tradition. let us turn our attention to industry. 2.S. Each year since 1990.34 Psychology of safety handbook environments. 1982. The current rate of safety belt use in the United States is about 70 percent (NHTSA. Educate people regarding the use of the engineering interventions. 3. These three new Es suggest specific directions or principles. Recently. and air bags in automobiles. In vehicles. but to date this goal has not been met—at least over the long term. Now. 1984. Haddon’s basic theory eventually led to collapsible steering wheels. buckle-up goal at 85 percent by the year 2005.” The three Es have dramatically reduced injury severity in the workplace. 1987). I have worked with many corporate safety professionals over the years who say their plant’s safety performance has reached a plateau. A certain percentage of people keep falling through the cracks. There is still much room for improvement. and large-scale enforcement blitzes by local and state police officers. 1992). at home. Engineer the safest equipment. a dramatic improvement from the 15 percent prior to statewide interventions. environmental settings.S. Waller. “Goals without method. 2000). campaigns to educate people about the value of safety-belt use. and enforcement strategies. what could be worse?” Three new Es This book discusses the three new Es—ergonomics. Wagenaar. especially considering that most of the riskiest drivers still do not buckle up (Evans et al. and on the road. Let us take a look at motor vehicle safety for a minute. including belt-use laws. We need to maintain a focus on engineering.000 American lives by 1974 (Guarnieri. The old “three Es” paradigm will not get us there. But to get beyond current plateaus and reach new heights in safety excellence. the state laws passed in the 1980s requiring use of vehicle safety belts and child safety seats have saved countless more lives. A frantic search for ways to take safety to the next level has not paid off. Winn and Probert. Over the past several decades. with secondary emphasis on two additional “Es”—education and enforcement. padded dashboards. 1995). Many more lives would be saved and injuries avoided if more people buckled up and used child safety seats for their children. but continuous improvement is elusive. head restraints. President Clinton set the U. In addition. Yes. we must attend more competently to the psychology of injury prevention. 1991. As I heard Deming (1991) say many times. It seems the effectiveness of current methods to increase the use of this particular type of PPE has plateaued or asymptoted around 70 percent. Thanks to this paradigm most safety professionals are safety engineers who commonly advocate that “Safety is a condition of employment. and protective devices. their overall safety record is vastly better than it once was. as well as standards and policy regarding the use of PPE. Keep on doing what you are doing and you will keep on getting what you are getting. the basic protocol for reducing injury has been to 1. Department of Transportation has set nationwide belt-use goals of 70 percent. education. empowerment. . Use discipline to enforce compliance with recommended safe work practices. We just cannot get there with the same old intervention approaches. The Government Accounting Office has estimated conservatively that the early automobile safety standards ushered through Congress by Haddon had saved at least 28. the U. and evaluation.

safer operating procedures. This requires consistent and voluntary participation by those who perform the behaviors in the various work environments. Paradigms must change—the theme of this chapter. Throughout this book. . training exercises) to avoid possible acute or chronic injury from the environment –behavior interaction. This is predictable from theory and research in the area of psychological reactance (Brehm. and the result has turned off many employees to safety programs. and success will likely bring a sense of gratification or freedom.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 35 Ergonomics As discussed in Chapter 1. especially as it relates to developing behavior change interventions. I want you to understand that some types of enforcement are likely to inhibit empowerment and should be reconsidered and refined. These workers may do what is required. I discuss this principle in more detail later.1. Figure 3. 1966. but no more. as well as developing action plans (such as equipment work orders. Empowerment Some operational definitions of the traditional three Es for safety (especially enforcement) have been detrimental to employee empowerment. Many supervisors have translated “enforcement” into a strict punishment approach. At this point. These are usually line operators or hourly workers in an organization.1 Some top-down rules have undesirable side effects. 1972) and is illustrated in Figure 3. and their participation will happen when these individuals are empowered. Some individuals who feel especially controlled by safety regulations might try to beat the system. I discuss ways to develop an empowered work culture and I explain procedures for involving employees in ergonomic interventions. ergonomics requires careful study of relationships between environment and behaviors.

We have simple and straightforward words in the English language to cover every definition of paradigm. words can change their meaning through usage. Dan Petersen’s keynote speech at the 1993 Professional Development Conference of the American Society of Safety Engineers was entitled. “A paradigm is what I use on the farm to dig post holes. Winn and Probert. 1995). The popular 1989 video Discovering the Future: The Business of Paradigms by Joel Barker (see also Barker.” Here. “Dealing with Safety’s Paradigm Shift. assert that a revolutionary change in ideas. approaches. and some practical. I want to define ten basic changes in belief.” some humorous. attitude. 1992. we need the right kind of evaluation processes. as discussed brilliantly by Hayakawa (1978) in his instructive and provocative text Language in Thought and Action. These paradigm shifts provide a new set of guiding principles for achieving new heights in safety excellence. practice does not make perfect. (Get it—”pair-a-dimes. I detail procedures for conducting the right kind of comprehensive evaluation. what is important to understand is that some traditional methods of evaluation actually decrease or stifle empowerment. Right now.”) When I was a graduate student of psychology in the mid-1960s. I consulted three different dictionaries (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged. Instead. Thus. beliefs. Indeed. belief. example. paradigm was used to refer to a particular experimental procedure or methodology in psychological research. especially Chapter 15. however.”) Another participant replies. this is one of those superfluous academic terms that is completely unnecessary. Shifting paradigms I have heard many definitions of “paradigm. These shifts require new principles. and will . some academic. For this discussion. cognition. and The Scribner-Bantam English Dictionary) and came up with a consensus definition for paradigm. and approaches—the new definition of paradigm—has not yet occurred in safety (Winn. In business. or model.” (Get it—“pair-a-dig-ems. Petersen (1991) claimed that safety has shifted its focus to large-scale culture change through employee involvement. or perception that are needed to develop the ultimate Total Safety Culture. “What’s a paradigm?” “Isn’t that 20 cents?” shouts one participant. and value. It is a pattern. attitude. From my perspective. Some safety professionals. 1992) was certainly responsible for some of the new applications of the term “paradigm.” A number of articles and speeches in the safety field have supported and precipitated this change. Later in this book. Remember the need for a guiding theory or set of principles? Basic theory from personbased and behavior-based psychology suggests shifts to new safety paradigms. paradigm has been equated with psychological terms such as perception. This calls for changing some safety measurement paradigms. Perhaps that is why I often get humorous or sarcastic reactions from audiences when I ask. The aim of this chapter is not to dissect the meaning of paradigm nor to debate whether one or more paradigm shifts have occurred in industrial safety.” and followed up his earlier 1991 article in Professional Safety entitled “Safety’s Paradigm Shift. Without appropriate feedback or evaluation. or procedures. However. The American Heritage Dictionary.36 Psychology of safety handbook Evaluation The third new E word essential to achieving a Total Safety Culture is evaluation.

This statement is intuitive and reflected in Figure 3. and evaluation—and for achieving a Total Safety Culture. many in industry do “safety stuff” because the government requires it—not because it was their idea and initiative. commitment. Just compare your own motivation when working for personal gain vs. Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration) rather than by the employers and employees who can benefit from a safety process. The language used to define safety programs and activities influences personal participation. Let us consider the shifts in principles. So it makes sense to talk about safety as a company mission that is owned and achieved by the very people it benefits. Remember. they develop a more constructive and optimistic attitude toward safety and the achievement of a Total Safety Culture. When we adopt and use new definitions. A Figure 3.2 Top-down control stifles creativity. The shift in how paradigm is commonly defined does contain an important lesson. This is a primary theme of this book. or perceptions needed for the three new Es—ergonomics. to avoid a penalty.S. as I indicated in the previous chapter. someone else’s gain or when working to earn a reward vs. industry are driven by OSHA (the U. In other words. In other words.2. Ownership. empowerment. our mindset or perception changes. we act ourselves into a new way of thinking or perceiving. From government regulation to corporate responsibility Many safety activities and programs in U. When employees get involved in more effective procedures to control safety. attitudes. .Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 37 result in different behaviors and attitudes among top managers and hourly workers. and proactive behaviors are less likely when you are working to avoid missing goals or deadlines set by someone else. procedures. Empowerment will increase throughout the work culture. we can act ourselves into an attitude. beliefs. People are more motivated and willing to go beyond the call of duty when they are achieving their own self-initiated goals.S.

you often procrastinate and take a reactive rather than a proactive stance (Skinner. This is difficult in the enforcement context established by the coach. Let us work to achieve a Total Safety Culture for the right reasons. you will probably develop an attitude of “working to avoid failure” rather than “working to achieve success. 1971). In contrast.3 Working to avoid failure is not fun. How many times have you heard. If you have a choice between earning positive reinforcers (rewards) or avoiding negative reinforcers (punishers). Productivity and quality goals are typically stated in achievement terms. if you feel controlled by negative reinforcement. but how long will he run? When the coach is not around to threaten a negative consequence for not running. From failure oriented to achievement oriented If you strive to meet someone else’s goals rather than your own. Figure 3. and gains are tracked and recorded as individual or team accomplishments. Moreover.3 illustrates what I mean. The runner will surely start running. sometimes followed by rewards or recognition awards. you will probably choose the positive reinforcement situation. This principle helps explain why more continuous and proactive attention goes to productivity and quality than to safety. .” We are more motivated by achieving success than avoiding failure. will he keep going? Will he practice on his own to improve his running skills? Will he hold himself accountable to be the best he can be on the running track? A “yes” answer to these questions will only occur if the runner can put himself in an achievement-oriented mindset.38 Psychology of safety handbook safety process is not intended to benefit federal regulators.” and “keeping score” in safety means tracking and recording losses or injuries? Figure 3. “We will reach our safety goal after another month without a losttime injury. safety goals are most often stated in negative reinforcement terms.

but rarely do they benefit the safety processes which control results. Of these. just recognize and appreciate the advantage of focusing on achieving process improvements over working to Figure 3. Although the idea of a dead person receiving a safety reward is clearly ridiculous. but does more harm than good to the corporate culture. failure to report even a minor first-aid case prohibits key personnel from correcting the factors that led to the incident. In Chapter 11. Likewise.” . A 1993 survey of more than 400 companies in Wisconsin revealed 58 percent used rewards to motivate safety. as indicated by the next paradigm shift. work groups or individual workers earn safety awards according to outcomes—those with the lowest numbers win. Giving safety an achievement perspective (like production and quality) requires a different scoring system. From outcome focused to behavior focused Companies are frequently ranked according to their OSHA recordables and lost-time injuries.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 39 Measuring safety with only records of injuries not only limits evaluation to a reactive stance. For now. Within companies.4 Safety reward programs should pass the “dead-man’s test. A scoring system based on what people do for safety (as in a behavior-based process) not only attacks a contributing factor in most work injuries. Offering incentives for fewer injuries. These programs often bring down numbers by influencing the reporting of injuries. but it also sets up a negative motivational system that is apt to take a back seat to the positive system used for productivity and quality. can often reduce the reported numbers while not improving safety. How many times have you heard of an injured employee being driven to work each day to sign in and then promptly returned to the hospital or home to recuperate? This keeps the outcome numbers low. This puts safety in the same motivational framework as productivity and quality. A misguided emphasis on outcomes rather than process is illustrated in Figure 3. more than 85 percent based rewards on outcomes such as OSHA recordables rather than process (Koepnick. 1993). it can also be achievement oriented. for instance. Pressure to reduce outcomes without changing the process (or ongoing behaviors) often causes employees to cover up their injuries. I explain principles for establishing an incentive/reward process to motivate the kinds of safety processes that influence outcomes.4. this type of incentive/reward process is quite common in American industry.

such as hourly workers. interviews. finding an improvement in perceptions does not necessarily imply an increase in safe work practices—the human dynamic most directly linked to reducing work injuries. as well as an ongoing measurement system that continuously tracks safety accomplishments and displays them to the workforce. and empowerment.. Geller et al. the workforce can celebrate the success of an improved safety process. These measurements can be rather time-consuming. Krauss et al. influence an individual’s propensity to help another person. 1995). A more direct assessment can occur through periodic perception surveys. 1988. This is especially true if a failure-oriented goal is remote. This research invariably involved outside agents such as consultants to help implement and evaluate the tactics. such as safety education. Large-scale and long-term behavior change requires employees themselves to apply the techniques throughout their workplace. and thus might be perceived as uncontrollable. In fact. For this to happen. This is more than employee participation. and Geller. Work practices can be observed. It is possible to estimate achievements in this domain by counting the occurrences of these events. 1987). Environmental achievements for safety range widely.40 Psychology of safety handbook avoid failure. and the projects were usually short-term and small-scale. and personal.. Understanding and feeling good about something brings us to considering again those person factors such as knowledge. 1994. they can have the most influence in supporting safe behaviors and correcting at-risk behaviors and conditions. Person factors are influenced by numerous situations. recorded. from purchasing safer equipment. I detail principles and procedures for accomplishing this. 1998a. This supports the general principle I introduced in Chapter 2. and it is possible to increase these personal factors through changing environmental and behavioral factors (see reviews by Carlson et al. Moreover. safety celebrations. or focus-group discussions (as detailed later in Chapter 15). 1980. and tracked objectively (Geller. After all. and the reliability and validity of results from intermittent subjective surveys are equivocal. such as a plant-wide reduction in injuries. 1998b.b). the ongoing processes involved in developing a Total Safety Culture need to be supported from the top but driven from the bottom. When daily displays of behavioral records show increases in safe behaviors and decreases in at-risk behaviors. employees must understand the relevant behavioral science principles and feel good about using them to prevent work injuries. In Section 4 of this book. This occurs with a focus on the safety processes that can decrease an organization’s injury rate. expectancies. behavioral. with environmental successes easiest to record and track. 1982. As discussed in Chapter 2. 1996. these are the people who know where safety hazards are located and when the at-risk behaviors occur. and mood states. Also. Sulzer-Azaroff. environment.. intentions. for example. to correcting environmental hazards and demonstrating improved environmental audits. a Total Safety Culture requires continual involvement from operations personnel. 1989. A Total Safety Culture requires integrating both behavior-based and person-based approaches to understand and . safety accomplishments occur in three general areas. though. Safety can be on equal footing with productivity and quality if it is recorded and tracked with an achievement score perceived by employees as directly controllable and attainable. and increased safety personnel. attitudes. McSween. it is employee ownership. From top-down control to bottom-up involvement As I discussed when introducing three new Es. research has shown that safe work practices can be increased and work injuries decreased with behavior-based interventions (Geller. Komaki et al.. 1990. Certain dispositions or mood states. commitment. As discussed in Chapter 1.

S. grades in school. win–lose perspective. the legal system.5 U. synergy.” and “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. This partially results from work systems that offer more rewards for individual and group achievement. . and many sports orient us to think win–lose independence rather than win –win interdependence. Figure 3.5. because a Total Safety Culture requires more interdependent teamwork than rugged individualism. To show you how to do this is my primary aim with this book. However. culture promotes more independence than interdependence. These processes and contingencies are emphasized throughout this book. Although some office environments were originally designed to promote more open communication and group interaction. From a piecemeal to a systems approach The long-term improvements of a Total Safety Culture can only be achieved with a systems approach. and win–win contingencies.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 41 influence the human dynamics of a corporation. as shown in Figure 3. Deming Figure 3. supported by such popular slogans as “You have to blow your own horn.” Furthermore. From rugged individualism to interdependent teamwork An employee-driven safety process requires teamwork founded on interpersonal trust. Processes and systems can be implemented to promote group behaviors and interdependence over individual behaviors and independence. including balanced attention to all aspects of the corporate culture.” “No one can fill your shoes like you. physical and psychological barriers have often been erected to maintain privacy and an individualistic atmosphere.” “Nice guys finish last.6 illustrates a competitive situation quite common in the workplace. from childhood most of us have been taught an individualistic. This is why a true team approach to safety does not come easily.

recognizing. Really. an injury or near hit provides an opportunity to gather facts from all aspects of the system that could have contributed to the incident. tools. intelligence. motives. and “actively caring. housekeeping. and are much less informative than they could be. 2. others focus on attitudes (as in a person-based approach). From fault finding to fact finding Blaming an individual or group of individuals for an injury-producing incident is not consistent with a systems approach to safety. However. and they attend professional development workshops to improve their skills in this area. mostly because it is more difficult to visibly measure the outcomes of efforts to change the human factors. coaching. 1993) emphasized that total quality only can be achieved through a systems approach. what does it imply? It is a basic job requirement for safety pros. skills. communicating. and engineering. . Instead. 1. and personality. Environment factors such as equipment. and of course the same is true for safety. 3. Each generally receives less attention than the environment. As I discussed earlier in Chapter 2. Person factors such as employees’ knowledge.” Two of these system variables involve human factors. most evaluations of near hits or injuries are incomplete. Behavior factors such as complying. heat/cold. Some human factors programs focus on behaviors (as in behavior-based safety). Accident investigation is a common phrase in industrial safety and health. what is your assignment when investigating an accident? Let us look at the language we are using. abilities. Part of the problem here is the very term we use to describe the process—accident investigation. A Total Safety Culture integrates these two approaches. three basic domains need attention when designing and evaluating safety processes and when investigating the root causes of near hits and injuries.42 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 3. but what does it mean? Or more to the point. machines.6 Some work environments create barriers to synergy. (1986.

” This simple substitution of words can have great impact. But this will not happen if the focus of an “investigation” is to find a single reason for the “failure. the actions everyone did or did not perform related to an incident. and personal . We can get more employee participation in the process and reap more benefits. The first definition of “accident” in my New Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1989) is “an event occurring by chance or unintentionally” (page 23). but many of these can be affected positively by properly influencing behaviors. Interpersonal conversation is key to finding and correcting the potential contributors to an incident. behavior. climate.” advises the safety consultant.” Adults just keep their mouths shut. Such a mindset is really right. Another side of this triangle stands for behavior. Incident analysis is an opportunity to prevent future mishaps. we presume he was not in control. Improve communication. we need to approach the task with a different mindset. management needs to approve and support the corrections recommended by the workforce. This can lead to more reports of personal near hits and property damage to correct problems before a major injury to a friend or coworker occurs. decide which of these factors can be changed to reduce the chance of another unfortunate incident. And what about the word “investigation?” Does this term not imply a hunt for some single cause or person to blame for a particular incident. He could not help it. equipment. The third side represents person factors. as in “criminal investigation?” How can we promote fact-finding over fault-finding with a term like “investigation” defining our job assignment? Truly. and person factors related to a near hit. behavior. and personality characteristics.” Do you really believe there is a single root cause? Consider the three sides of “The Safety Triad” I introduced in Chapter 2 (see Figure 2. Increase involvement.” People want nothing to do with a failure.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 43 The word “accident” implies “a chance occurrence” outside your immediate control.2). behavioral. People will contribute more if they have a say in the outcome. behavioral. Workers know more than anyone else about what it will take to make environmental. Kids blame the other kid—“he made me do it. we need to approach incident analysis as an opportunity for success. I suggest the following shifts in perspective and approach toward the evaluation of a near hit or injury. “It is human nature to deny personal influence in a loss. The focus should be on how an incident gives us the chance to learn and improve. Then. One side is for environment. To get people to open up. Given the dynamic interdependency of environmental. Most difficult to define and change directly are the person factors. A common myth in the safety field holds that injuries are caused by one critical factor—the root cause. followed by behavioral factors. Let us get away from the perspective of incident equals failure. You can expect more participation in incident reporting and analysis if you involve workers in the actual correction phase of the process. and housekeeping factors. and person domains. take the systems approach and search for a variety of contributory factors within the environment. perhaps a much greater loss than the one precipitating the current analysis. When a child has an “accident” in his pants. People need to talk openly about the various environment. or damage to property. perceptions. “Ask enough questions. Of course. how can anyone expect to find one root cause of an incident? Instead. or the internal feeling states of the people involved in the incident—their attitudes. It is not “accident investigation”— it is “incident analysis. including tools. Environmental factors are usually easiest to define and improve. to learn more about how to prevent injuries from an analysis of an incident. “and you’ll arrive at the critical factor behind an injury. Gain a broader understanding. and personal factors in everyday events. injury. engineering design.

keep track of the various components of an incident analysis. and person-based factors. Traditionally. A safety leader presents a report to management. . but this index provides no instructive guidance nor motivation to continue a particular safety process. Use their critical expertise and you will motivate more ownership and involvement in the entire process. Promote accountability. the focus needs to be on Accident Investigation • A Safety Professional Investigates • Reactive: Investigate Serious Injuries • Fault Finding • One Root Cause • Piecemeal Approach • Avoid Failure • Conversation Stifled • Management Corrects the Environment • Management Punishes the Behavior • Solution Applied Narrowly • Evaluation Focuses on Injury Rate Figure 3. Now. Look at the bigger picture.7 Incident Analysis • A Safety Team Analyzes • Proactive: Analyze Near Hits and First Aid Cases • Fact Finding • Many Contributing Factors • Systems Approach • Achieve Success • Conversation Encouraged • Workers Recommend Environment Change • Workers Encourage Behavior Change • Solution Applied Broadly • Evaluation Focuses on Participation Accident investigation is not the same as incident analysis. Of course. and injury reports. you have an accountability system that facilitates participation. the corrective action following an incident is not only designed narrowly. Use the results of an incident analysis to improve relevant environment behavior and person factors plantwide. You will get broader interest and involvement in an incident analysis process if corrective action plans are applied to all relevant work areas. property damage. and then the recommended solution to eliminating the “root cause” is implemented in the work area where the incident occurred. Monitor the number of near hit. behavior. it is also applied narrowly. Track the number of corrective actions implemented for environment. or a certain employee might be “retrained” or even punished (incorrectly referred to as “discipline” in the safety literature). This sends the kind of actively caring message that not only promotes participation but also makes that participation more constructive. more comfortable personal protection equipment ordered. This promotes a systems perspective rather than the piecemeal “band-aid” approach common to so many work cultures. Instead.44 Psychology of safety handbook factors safer. Both the quantity and quality of participation in an incident analysis process depend on the numbers you use to evaluate success or failure. An equipment guard might be replaced. Apply systems solutions. The success of any safety effort is ultimately determined by the bottom line outcome—the total recordable injury rate (TRIR).

The worker in Figure 3. Unfortunately. or personal injury.7 reviews the points given here to encourage more and better involvement in defining and correcting factors contributing to a near hit. There is a higher and higher price tag on “free time.8 is barely able to react effectively to daily crises.” With barely enough time to react sufficiently to crises each day. property damage. demonstrates the need to think and act proactively. The differences between traditional “accident investigation” and the proposed “incident analysis” also summarize the paradigm shifts needed to empower more involvement in safety and achieve a Total Safety Culture. Thus. This text provides theory. Figure 3. From reactive to proactive Analyzing events preceding an incident.8 Technology cannot always substitute for personnel. This is a more valid and instructive measure of your success than any outcome measure currently available. Keep score of your process achievements rather than only waiting to see a reduction in injuries. how can we find time to be proactive? Proactivity is especially challenging within the context of downsizing. Figure 3. be it a near hit or an injury. and the principles given here for encouraging more people to contribute to incident analysis are relevant for motivating more activity in any worthwhile endeavor.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 45 successfully completing the various steps of the process rather than avoiding a penalty for not completing the process. The key is increased participation. and tools to guide long-term continuous improvement. . procedures. How can he be expected to think ahead and be proactive? There are no quick-fix answers. we need to accept the next paradigm shift. especially in a corporate culture that is increasingly complex and demanding. disguised as “reengineering” in many work cultures. but injury prevention requires us to find solutions. a proactive stance is extremely difficult to maintain.

take a shower. No. You have only 15 minutes to prepare for work. Safety should be more than the behaviors of “using personal protective equipment. Your morning routine changes drastically. often a standard routine.” more than “locking out power” and “checking equipment for potential hazards. Safety should be a value linked with every activity or priority in a work routine. How often does this happen at work? Does safety sometimes take a “back seat” when the emphasis is on other priorities such as production quantity or quality? Enduring values It is human nature to shift priorities. You might skip breakfast. pens. Do you know what it is? One morning you wake up late. and note pads with this message. Yet. labeling a behavior a “priority” implies that its order in a hierarchy of daily activities can be rearranged. is “getting dressed. No wonder safety and health professionals are surprised when I say that safety should not be a priority. this particular morning activity represents a value which we have been taught as infants. there is one common activity. Safe work should be the enduring norm. Priorities must be rearranged. I have seen signs. Some people eat a hearty breakfast. read the morning newspaper. Others wake up early enough to go for a morning jog before work. In each of these scenarios the agenda—the priorities—are different. To justify my case.” and more than “practicing good housekeeping. continuous improvement paradigm. quality. Actually. which will surely improve your safety performance. The principles and procedures described in this book will enable you to influence incremental changes in work practices and attitudes that can prevent an injury. according to situational demands or contingencies. or behavioral hierarchies. a shower. or a shave. This represents a proactive. or cost effectiveness as the “number one priority. before traveling to work.” This is probably the most common safety slogan found in workplaces and voiced by safety leaders. capable of being dropped from a routine owing to time constraints or a new agenda. and it is never compromised. Yet every morning schedule still has one item in common. But values remain constant. Have you guessed it by now? Yes. Perhaps your alarm clock failed. Should “working safely” not hold the same status as “getting dressed”? Safe work practices should occur regardless of the demands of a particular day. Think about a typical workday morning. and wash dishes. and leave their home in disarray until they get back in the evening. buttons.46 Psychology of safety handbook From quick fix to continuous improvement “Proactive” can be substituted for “reactive” only with a systems perspective and an optimistic attitude of continuous improvement through increased employee involvement. hats.” This simple scenario shows how circumstances can alter behavior and priorities. From priority to value “Safety is a priority. Some grab a roll and a cup of coffee. We all follow a prioritized agenda. regardless of the task. I offer the following explanation. The early morning anecdote illustrates that the activity of “getting dressed” is a value that is never dropped from the routine. It is not a priority but a basic value.” Safety should be an . T-shirts. It is not a priority. regardless of time constraints. this common link in everyone’s morning routine. whether the current focus is on quantity.” The ultimate aim of a Total Safety Culture is to make safety an integral aspect of all performance. Understanding the psychology of safety can be a great aid here.

of course. This brings us to behavior management techniques. and manage. This is how it works. It outlines a starting point and general process for developing safety as a corporate value.9 illustrates how attitudes and values influence intentions and behaviors directly. Figure 3. This book gives you specific techniques for managing behaviors to promote supportive safety attitudes and values. attitudes. But. They are the starting point for acting a person into safe thinking. It should become a value that is never questioned—never compromised. and consequences (events which follow and motivate behaviors and influence attitudes) are easiest to define. values and culture are the most difficult to measure reliably and influence directly. you begin thinking safe. and values.9 culture. A key point is that attitudes and values follow from behavior. working safe becomes part of your value system. Behavior change interventions influence intentions. Put them all together and eventually you will construct an integrated Total Safety Culture. Eventually. values.” Notice in the figure the different thickness of rectangles enclosing the terms. The thicker the border. as discussed in Chapter 2. a social norm. attitudes. it is not cost effective to manage attitudes and values directly to “think people into safe acting. is much easier said than done. How do you even begin to work for such lofty aims? Figure 3. and unwritten rule. This. behaviors. When you follow safe procedures consistently for every job and attribute your behavior to a voluntary decision. the more measurable and manageable the concept. measure.9 summarizes the relationships between intentions. In contrast. that workers follow regardless of the situation. .Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 47 Activator Culture Intention Behavior Value Consequence Attitude Figure 3. Activators (antecedent conditions which direct behavior). behaviors.

This vision should motivate each of us to be active in the safety achievement process.. 211. Manage. 47. Haddon. V. WI. 1992. P. WI. Beh. 1990. Geller. 1993. 107. Carlson. These new perspectives reflect new principles to follow. Cambridge.. at home. E. E. Blacksburg.48 Psychology of safety handbook In conclusion This chapter describes ten shifts in perspective needed to go beyond current levels of safety excellence. Inc... supported by all managers and supervisors but driven by the line workers or operators through interdependent teamwork. Wasielewski. Crawford. S. University Press. Compulsory seat belt usage and driver risk-taking behavior.... L. Geller. N.. 1986. Psychol.. 1998a. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. E. and even values. 1982. J. 4... A systems approach is needed. Quality. Keller & Associates. W. and von Buseck.. Brehm. Individual versus community orientation in the prevention of injuries. 635. When safety goes from priority to value. . new procedures to develop and implement. J. VA. H. A Theory of Psychological Reactance. The tenth—making safety a value—is not something that can be measured and tracked.. S. E. 1988. workshop presented by Quality Enhancement Seminars.. P. Lehman.. Center for Advanced Engineering Study. Ann. 2nd ed. Make-A-Difference. Naturally. 149. Person. Academic Press. 1998b. Evans. M. Landmarks in history of safety. Ultimately... Inc. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility.. Responses to Loss of Freedom: A Theory of Psychological Reactance. It should be achievement oriented with a focus on behaviors. or on the road. V.. S. OH. C. Deming.. M. and a commitment to continuous improvement... 41. and Kalsher. and Salwaster. W.. It is the ideal vision for our safety mission. Neenah.. J. Organ.. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Geller. New York. Brehm.. Here is how the new paradigms fit together. Guarnieri. J. NY Acad. it will not be compromised at work. Prev. Geller. E. J. Deming. Cairns. not a regulatory obligation. The human element in integrated environmental management. MA. Performance management and occupational safety: start with a safety belt program. Inc. R. Eds. New York. S. S. Neenah.. J. W. Education. Cambridge. J. M. attitudes. E.. Keller & Associates. Z. General Learning Press. Newport. Sci. 1972. A note concerning accident theory and research with special reference to motor vehicle accidents. and competitive position. Your safety achievement process should be considered a company responsibility. Deming. Cincinnati. 11(1). 1966. W. 1994. Soc. Res. 151. a proactive stance. This “new safety work” will lead to different perceptions. Fact. Inc. numerous injuries will be prevented and lives saved everyday. in Implementing Integrated Environmental Management. W. Jr. E.... R. J. T. which leads to a fact-finding perspective. MA. R. and Miller. 55. J. This book helps you define your role. Understanding Behavior-Based Safety: Step-by-Step Methods to Improve Your Workplace. 23. W. 1989.. The first nine could be considered goals for achieving a Total Safety Culture. Saf. 1963. the tenth paradigm shift can be reached. May 1991. VA. Government. Charlin.. Med. Hum. Center for Advanced Engineering Study.. References Barry. J. 1975.. E. Behavior Analysis Training for Occupational Safety. productivity. G. Positive mood and helping behavior: a test of six hypotheses. The New Economics for Industry. 24. Out of the Crisis.. Geller..

New York. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Washington. L. 40(5). 21. 1995. A. J. DC. J. New York. NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2000. and Hodson. Philosopher’s stone: it may take another Monongah. Koepnick. L. The modification of occupational safety behavior.. Report UMTRI84-2. 58. Komaki. New York.. Van Nostrand Reinhold. October 1993. 1978. 261. New York. Jr. and Probert. Frederickson.. Skinner. B. McSween.. New Merriam-Webster Dictionary... Safety’s paradigm shift. Health. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. and amelioration of trauma: the transition to approaches etiologically rather than descriptively based. Effective training and feedback: component analysis of a behavioral safety program. 2nd ed. Restraint usage among crash-involved motor vehicle occupants. J. C. Appl. 37(12). The Behavior-Based Safety Process: Managing Involvement for an Injury-Free Culture. Language in Thought and Action.. In the crucible: testing for a real paradigm shift. presented at the National Safety Council Congress and Exposition. T.. J. J.. Injury: conceptual shifts and prevention implication. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. MI. W. The Values-Based Safety Process: Improving Your Safety Culture with a Behavioral Approach.. H. B. Publ. 1980. Behavioral approaches to occupational health and safety. 177. Krause. Saf. 9. 18. Ann. L. W. A. Saf. 47. IL. NY. Chicago. Wagenaar. MA. 1987. Publ. 36(8). W. 1931. 1991. Sulzer-Azaroff. D... 30. T. 2000. Prof. 1987. 1431. 1995 . A. Heinrich. R. S. in Handbook of Organizational Behavior Management. (1982). Hidley. and Lawson. Van Nostrand Reinhold. B. 1971. S. Ed. Health.. Merriam-Webster.. DOT HS 808 954. The changing approach to the epidemiology. Inc. L. 8. Waller. Prof. E. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. G.. L. Springfield. Winn. Sulzer-Azaroff. 1996..... Accid.. Alfred A Knopf.. 1989. Wiley & Sons. Industrial Accident Prevention. G.Chapter three: Paradigm shifts for total safety 49 Haddon. 1992. New York.. J. I. Do safety incentive programs really work?. Ann Arbor.. Prof. W.. McGraw-Hill. 65. F.. Psychol. Winn. Petersen. 1968. Am.. prevention. J. T.. 1984. L.. Occup.. W. Saf. 4th ed. Hayakawa. Rev. Heinzmann.


section two Human barriers to safety .


or hourly workers what causes work-related injuries.” Read these familiar statements and you get the idea that working safely is easy or natural. Maybe. . more expedient. Perhaps we lacked training. attitudes.” “Safety is a condition of employment. everyone experiences events.” “It is human nature to work safely. or playing. we will be able to find factors in the system that can be changed in advance to prevent injuries at work. After all. Actually. whether we are working. we are often engaged in a continuous fight with human nature to motivate ourselves and others to avoid those risky behaviors and maintain safe ones. corporate executives. This chapter explains why. at home. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. it is often more convenient. In fact. Understanding this basic point will lead to less victim blaming and fault finding when investigating an injury. I get long and varied lists of factors. or friend put pressure on us to take a short cut or risk. driving our automobile. more comfortable. And past experience usually supports our decisions to choose the at-risk behavior. Fighting human nature When I ask safety professionals.” “Safety is just common sense. and throughout the community. and circumstances that get in the way of performing a task safely. coworker. distractions. traveling. each list is quite similar. So. or using personal protective equipment. Most of us have been in situations where we were not sure how to perform safely. it was inconvenient or uncomfortable to follow all of the safety procedures. and more common to take risks than to work safely. whether it is following safe operating procedures. Maybe the surrounding environment was not as safe as it could be.chapter four The complexity of people Safety is usually a continuous fight with human nature.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson “All injuries are preventable. Instead. Demands from a supervisor. Nothing could be further from the truth. demands. responsibilities. Let us consider what holds us back from choosing the safe way.

The rewards of risky behavior mean you are likely to take more chances. Because these at-risk behaviors are not followed by a near hit or injury. 1981). organizations.54 Psychology of safety handbook It is possible our physical condition—fatigue. Various risky practices are adopted for fun. We continue these risky driving behaviors every day because they are “cool”—they are fun. It explains why promoting safety and health is the most difficult ongoing challenge at work. running a “yellow” traffic light. This is human nature on the side of at-risk behavior and can be explained by basic principles of behavioral science. Shiffrin and Dumais. We never think of crashing.” I have even seen some people read a book. “It will never happen to me. or time saved. In a short time behind the wheel. This time human nature was on the safe side.” Many precautionary behaviors fell by the wayside. Have you ever been unsafely distracted by external stimuli. emotional conversations (sometimes on a telephone). Conversations with passengers were avoided. like another person’s presence or by an internal state. There are other factors. always stopped when traffic lights turned yellow. requiring the driver’s undivided attention. At first. of course. boredom. If a safety belt was in the car. from yourself or others that. comfort. and save us time. 1977. like personal thoughts or emotions? Can you remember a time when you just did not feel like taking the extra time to be safe? I am sure you have experienced the “macho” attitude. and they persist. This basic principle of human nature reinforced throughout our lives runs counter to the safety efforts of individuals. The reality is that injuries really do happen to the “other guy. All this while blowing past the speed limit. risky driving behaviors like those shown in Figure 4. Both eyes on the road at all times. Thus. as well as distractions from a radio or cassette tape. . The attitude. Your other hand held a drink. instead it is consistently rewarded with convenience. But how quickly you took driving for granted! Your complete concentration was no longer needed—tasks became automatic and “second nature. you were probably very careful to follow all the safe procedures you learned. drug impairment—influenced at-risk performance. it is rare that an injury follows unsafe behavior. Both hands on the wheel—the nine o’clock and three o’clock positions. you used it. or a passenger’s hand. a cigarette. As you gain experience at work you often master dangerous shortcuts.1 occur quite often.” is usually supported or rewarded by our actual experiences. a letter. or following too close behind another vehicle. they remain unpunished. and thank goodness it usually does not happen to us. This was all right and proper.” Learning to be at-risk Remember when you first learned to drive a car? I bet this was an important but stressful occasion. “It won’t happen to me. and communities. and even “love making. we have gone from controlled processing to automatic processing (Schneider and Shiffrin. or a map while driving. groups. comfort. Even with the right amount of driver training from your parents or a professional instructor. or convenience.” Fortunately. You began driving with one hand on the wheel. convenient. Distractions were soon permitted—loud music. These consequences reward the risky behavior and sustain it. because driving is a relatively complex and risky task. This creates something of a vicious cycle. Risk taking is rarely punished with an injury or even a near hit. you felt a bit nervous getting behind the wheel for the first time. You always used your turn signal.

like the employee’s knowledge.2. Dimensions of human nature The factors contributing to a work injury can be categorized into three areas. The acronym BASIC ID reflects the complexity and uncontrollability of human nature. skills. The most common reaction to an injury is to correct something about the environment—modify or fix equipment. . or personality. This justifies my conclusion that all injuries cannot be prevented. These factors are typically translated into general recommendations.. often unpredictable and uncontrollable. housekeeping.” “The employee will be retrained. Behavior factors. 1971. 1976). each letter represents one of seven human dimensions of an individual.” This kind of vague attention to critical human aspects of a work injury shows how frustrating and difficult it is to deal with the psychology of safety—the personal and behavioral sides of the Safety Triad. intelligence. Here is a simple scenario that underscores the need in safety to understand personal factors. The human factors contributing to injury are indeed complex. Person factors. “The employee will be disciplined. motives. 1. This is the “Safety Triad” (Geller et al. Often the incident report includes some mention of personal factors. As depicted in Figure 4. Many clinical psychologists use a similar acronym as a reminder that helping people improve their psychological state requires attention to each of these areas (Lazarus. or an environmental hazard. 2. 3. Environment factors. ability. 1989) introduced in Chapter 2.1 Natural learning experiences result in at-risk driving.Chapter four: The complexity of people 55 Figure 4. tools.

Removing his hand just in time. A morning argument with his teenage daughter pervades Dave’s thoughts as he works. an experienced and skilled craftsman. Dave. but immediately following his near hit he felt a rush of emotion. then lights up a cigarette. His late timing nearly results in his hand being crushed in a pinch point. pulling a hand away from the moving machinery. Behavior is illustrated by observable actions such as adjusting equipment. Dave walks to the switch panel. he has adjusted this equipment numerous times before without locking out and he has never gotten injured.2) and demonstrates the complexity of human activity. As he works. production-line employees watch and wait to resume their work. and talking to coworkers. So. shuts down and locks out the power. and suddenly he experiences a near hit. After all. works rapidly to make an equipment adjustment while the machinery continues to operate. the sooner his coworkers can resume quality production. he does not shut down and lock out the equipment power. Dave realizes all too well that the sooner he finishes his task. This stress reaction is accompanied by a vivid image of a crushed right hand. After gathering his composure.2 The acronym BASIC ID reflects the complexity of people and potential contributions to injury. lighting up a cigarette. His attitude toward “energy control and . Dave feels weak in his knees and begins to perspire. He thinks about this scary event for the rest of the day and talks about the near hit to fellow workers during his breaks.56 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 4. This brief episode illustrates each of the psychological dimensions represented by BASIC ID (see Figure 4. Dave’s attitude about work was fairly neutral at the start of the day.

The field of psychology provides insights here.” and this contributed to the significance and distress of the incident. Combine this slogan with a goal of zero injuries and a reward for not having an injury and human nature will dictate covering up an injury if possible. hand–eye coordination. Let us further discuss aspects of human nature that can make safety achievement so challenging. As I will explain in Section 3 on behavior-based safety. if a common workplace slogan declares all injuries preventable. workers may be reluctant to admit they were injured or had a near hit. The presence of production-line workers influenced Dave through subtle peer pressure to quickly adjust equipment without lockout practices. I certainly appreciate their optimism. It is relatively easy to control the environmental factors. sensation. After all. described by the BASIC ID acronym. or cognition. Cognition or “mental speech” about the morning argument with his daughter may have contributed to the timing error that resulted in the near hit. However. are quite elusive. But sharing this belief with others can actually inhibit achieving a Total Safety Culture. the complex personal factors. which could have been reflected in Dave’s subsequent behavior. attitude.Chapter four: The complexity of people 57 power lockout” changed dramatically. Drugs in the form of caffeine from morning coffee may have contributed to Dave’s timing error. at least for the immediate future.” I have heard this said so many times that it seems to be a slogan or personal affirmation that safety pros use to keep themselves motivated. I suspect some readers will resist any challenge to this ideal. For example. and this information can benefit occupational safety and health programs. it is feasible to measure and control the behavioral factors. These onlookers may have distracted Dave from the task. You see. Imagery occurred after the near hit when Dave visualized a crushed hand in his “mind’s eye. near hits. and a keen sense of timing when adjusting the machinery. if all injuries are preventable and I have an injury. Dave will probably experience this mental image periodically for some time to come. I must be a real “jerk” for getting hurt. Sensation is evidenced by Dave’s dependence on visual acuity. Dave will probably remind himself of this episode in the future. Dave’s lesson shows how human nature interacts with environmental factors to cause at-risk work practices. His ability to react quickly to the dangerous situation prevented severe pain and potential loss of valuable touch sensation. and sometimes personal injuries. or they could have motivated him to show off his adjustment skills. helping him relieve his distress and increase his personal commitment to occupational safety. Interpersonal refers to the other people in Dave’s life who contributed to his near hit and will be influential in determining whether he initiates and maintains appropriate lockout practices. as I will discuss in . and there is no harm if such perfectionism is kept to oneself. and these cognitions may help trigger proper lockout behavior. This will motivate him to perform appropriate lockout procedures. Cognitive failures “All injuries are preventable. and his commitment to locking out increased after relating his close call to friends. Also. it was the interpersonal discussion with his daughter that occupied his thoughts or cognitions before the near hit. After Dave’s near hit. his interpersonal discussions were therapeutic. The extra cigarettes Dave smoked as a “natural” reaction to distress also had physiological consequences.

I sometimes forget which way to turn on a road I know well but rarely use. At home. I sometimes bump into things or people. (1982) used these survey items to measure an individual’s propensity for cognitive failure. Consider. controlled. I often forget where I put something like a newspaper or a book. It is likely every reader has experienced one or more of the “brain cramps” listed in Figure 4. Figure 4.4 reflect potential reality? In his classic book. Norman (1988) classifies various types of cognitive failure according to a particular stage of routine thinking and decision • • • • • • • • • • • • • I sometimes forget why I went from one part of the house to another.” Research by Broadbent et al.3 were used by Broadbent and his associates to measure cognitive failures. I often fail to notice signposts on the road. I often forget whether I’ve turned off a light or the coffeepot. the role of cognitive failures. I sometimes forget what I came to the store to buy.58 Psychology of safety handbook the next chapter. or prevented.3 Broadbent et al. The most uncontrollable factors are the personal or internal subjective dimensions of people. that cognitive failures cause injury but.3. Just what is a “cognitive failure”? Some people call it a “brain cramp. Surely you have walked into a room to get something and forgotten why you were there. The most important reason to drop it is that most people do not believe it anyway. . Eliminate the “all injuries are preventable” slogan from your safety discussions. I often find myself putting the wrong things in the wrong place when I’m done with them – like putting milk in the cereal cupboard. I sometimes fail to see what I want in a supermarket (although it’s right there). or locked the door. I often start doing one thing and get distracted into doing something else (unintentionally). (1982) demonstrated that people who report greater frequency of “cognitive failures” are more likely to experience an injury. for example. I frequently confuse right and left when giving directions. it sure seems reasonable to interpret a cause-and-effect relationship. They have been in situations where all the factors contributing to the near hit or injury could not have been anticipated. The items listed in Figure 4. Broadbent’s measurement instrument offers an operational definition for this person dimension that apparently influences injury frequency. I often daydream when I ought to be listening to something. Does Figure 4. Respondents were merely asked to indicate on a 5-point scale the extent to which they agreed with each statement (from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”). The Psychology of Everyday Things. I often drop things. based on personal experience. And how often have you left home for work more than once in a single morning because you forgot something? The same sort of breakdown in cognitive functioning can cause an injury.” a perception that can increase the probability of at-risk behavior and an eventual injury. Scientific protocol will not allow us to conclude from the research by Broadbent et al. This can create the notion that “it will not happen to me. claiming that all injuries are preventable can reduce the perceived risk of the situation.

Judgment errors and calculated risks occur at the middle cognitive stage— interpretation and decision making. Unintentional cognitive errors usually occur at the input and output stage of information processing. We sense a stimulus (input). as well as the absence of conscious judgment or decision making. consider that we continually take in. and react to information in our surroundings. Capture errors Have you ever started traveling in one direction (like to the store) but suddenly find yourself on a more familiar route (like on the way to work)? How many times have you borrowed someone’s pen to write a note or sign a form. This is one reason to get in the habit of practicing the safe way of doing something.4 A cognitive failure or “brain cramp” can cause a workplace injury. we evaluate the stimulus and plan a course of action (interpretation and decision making). How does this error slip into the work routine? Have you ever started a new task and found yourself using old habits? Has a change in PPE requirements influenced this kind of human error? It seems reasonable that a routine way of doing something (even at home) could “capture” your execution of a new work process and lead to this type of cognitive failure and an injury. This happens when you reach for the shoulder belt in the back seat of a vehicle because of your habitual buckle-up behavior as a . but it also involves misperception or inattention to relevant stimuli. process. regardless of the situation. This error seems to occur at the execution stage of information processing. and a capture error can actually be to your advantage. making.” because a familiar activity or routine seemingly “captures” you and takes over an unfamiliar activity. and then we execute a response (output). Almost everything we do results from this basic information processing cycle. More specifically. Then your safe behavior is put into automatic mode.Chapter four: The complexity of people 59 Figure 4. and later found the pen in your pocket? Norman calls these “capture errors.

” because the cue or activator that got the behavior started was lost or forgotten.” you can say you are just actively caring by trying to prevent a “loss-of-activation” error. Each one has had a different arrangement of switches designed to provide more functions than .” Norman refers to it as “loss-of-activation. In other words. On a few occasions. The “capture” is beneficial to your safety. When you use your vehicle turn signal at every turn. Thus. and once I threw a sweaty T-shirt in the toilet. it might be useful to evaluate your work setting with regard to the need for different behaviors with similar descriptions. According to Norman. Description errors These “brain cramps” occur when the descriptions or locators of the correct (safe) and incorrect (at-risk) executions are similar. this safe behavior becomes habitual. but after you get engaged in the task you lose sight of the goal. Over the years. when controls are designed for more than one mode of operation. this error starts in Stage 1— input—but eventually affects the output stage when you cannot complete the task without more information. You might. we have more mental capability for higher level thinking. These errors are inevitable when equipment is designed to have more functions than the number of control switches available. I have owned a variety of digital watches with a stopwatch mode. consider the large number of people in your work setting who have made similar unintentional errors every day. Do you have any switches in your work setting which are similar and nearby but control different functions? How unsafe would it be to throw the wrong switch? Many control panels are designed with this error in mind. When people tell you they already know what to do with statements like “Stop harping on the same old thing. Mode errors Mode errors are probable whenever we face a task involving multiple options or modes of operation. This happens whenever you start an activity with a clear and specific goal. but you can motivate yourself to keep activating by reflecting on your own experiences with this sort of “brain cramp. You will never know how many of these cognitive failures you will prevent. Loss-of-activation errors Have you ever walked into a room to do something or to get a certain object. What happened here? This cognitive failure is commonly referred to as “forgetting. the similar characteristic of these three items—a large oval opening—led to these errors. When basic safety-related behaviors become habits.” Then. With regard to the three stages of information processing discussed previously. For example. but when you got there you forgot what you were there for? You think hard but just cannot remember.60 Psychology of safety handbook driver. you go back to the first room and suddenly you remember what you wanted to do or get in the other room. even though our clothes hamper is not next to a trash receptacle. continue the task but with little awareness of the rationale for progress toward a goal. Then. and the probability of a cognitive failure is reduced. in fact. Stage 2 is involved because lapses in memory occur during interpretation and decision making. I have actually thrown dirty clothes in the trash can. you can expect occurrences of this error. Switches or knobs controlling incompatible functions are not located in close proximity with one another and often look and feel distinctly different for quick visual and tactile discrimination. I periodically throw a tissue in our clothes hamper instead of the waste can.

they do less interpretation and decision making. Understanding the difference between the various types of cognitive failure can help us predict when one type of at-risk behavior is more likely. or efficiency. New hires make safety-related mistakes when they do not know the safe way to perform a task or when they do not understand the need for special safety precautions. They automatically filter out certain stimulus inputs. phone dialing. Your judgment is faulty. That is. as in a mistake. Here is where we interpret our sensory input and decide on a course of action. description. Equipment design is certainly important here. This type of cognitive failure is essentially one of execution. Now suppose you do not buckle your safety belt. loss-of-activation. In summary Human error is caused by a cognitive failure at one or more of the three basic stages of information processing. For example. Perhaps you divide your attention between the road and some other task like map reading. Their sources are mostly at the input and output stages of information processing. While driving. convenience. Therefore. This involves memory and the interpretation and decision-making phase of information processing. perhaps with the text editor of a personal computer? Airline pilots must be especially wary of this kind of error. have you ever turned right on to a main road into the path of an oncoming vehicle you had not seen. the meaning of a button press depends upon the position of a mode switch. but under certain circumstances they are mistakes. The plan was good. Mistakes and calculated risks The four types of cognitive failures discussed so far—capture. The person meant well.Chapter four: The complexity of people 61 control buttons. the at-risk behavior resulting from these errors is unintentional. if not with a stop watch. You know this behavior is unsafe. Mistakes and calculated risks occur at the interpretation and decision-making stage of information processing. but used poor judgment in getting there. The middle interpretation and decision-making stage is essentially uninvolved. but these errors often occur because we forget the mode we are in. So. the probability of an input or output error increases with more experience and perceived proficiency on the job. or cassette selecting. Mistakes and calculated risks are possible among both beginning and experienced workers. or whose speed you had misjudged? Have you ever miscalculated a parking space and scraped an adjoining vehicle? How many times have you planned a bad travel route and got caught in traffic congestion you could have avoided? Have you ever pressed the brake too quickly on a slippery road or pumped the brakes in an antilock system? Parking and braking are frequent and intentional driving behaviors. but unlike a mistake. With mistakes. Thus. Such behavior does seem rational because it is not followed by a negative consequence and it is supported with perceived comfort. along with proper training and the behavior-based tools detailed later in Section Three. and mode errors—are unintentional. . but the execution was unintentionally flawed. and they resort to automatic modes of execution. the individual was well-intentioned regarding the ultimate outcome of getting the job done. guess how many times I have pressed the wrong button and illuminated the dial or reset the digital readout when I only wanted to stop the timer? Have you experienced the same kind of mode error. they pay less deliberate and conscious attention to what they are doing. as people become more competent and confident. your at-risk behavior is deliberate. but you decide to take a calculated risk.

work supervisor. This is the second “I” of BASIC ID. Who likes to talk about their errors? We feel much better talking about our good times than our bad times. let us see how some interpersonal aspects of human nature can be a barrier to safety. This Handbook shows you how to make this happen. realize they have never been seriously injured at work. and consider the soon and certain benefits of an at-risk behavior to outweigh the improbable costs. Understanding the variety of potential cognitive failures in the workplace leads to a realization that most of these are unnoticed or ignored. They take calculated risks when they feel especially skilled at a task. This is basic human nature.62 Psychology of safety handbook They take calculated risks when the actions and conversations from others favor the at-risk alternatives. we just forget them or explain them away. . when our at-risk behaviors do not lead to personal injury. First. and actions. Only through open and frequent conversation about our cognitive failures can we alter the environmental conditions that can reduce them. be they a parent. You will learn how to develop and sustain the kinds of interpersonal interaction and intervention needed for a Total Safety Culture. spouse. we do not feel as good—or as “free”—when working to avoid failure or disapproval as when working Figure 4. we sometimes attempt to avoid the disapproval of others.5 Authority can be taken too far. Interpersonal factors Our interpersonal relationships dramatically influence our thoughts. In other words. As discussed in Chapter 3. or department head. attitudes. but I am sure you recognize injury prevention requires a shift in perspective. How much of your time each day is dedicated to gaining the approval of others? Of course. Experienced workers make mistakes when they take safety for granted and fail to consider the injury potential of a certain at-risk behavior.

other coworkers. or the environment. Indeed.6 depicts one of these judgment situations.6 Asch used stimulus comparisons like these to study conformity. 1958) involved six to nine individuals sitting around a table judging which of three comparison lines was the same length as the standard. you were just following orders. the right kind of interpersonal influence is critical for achieving a Total Safety Culture. we were quick to say. and sometimes workers blindly follow a supervisor’s orders that could endanger them. but consider for a moment the adversity many people go through to impress others. It was not your responsibility. This reflects the interpersonal power of two principles of social influence—conformity and authority.Chapter four: The complexity of people 63 to achieve success or approval. it is a bit extreme. People take risks on the job because others do the same. Just like when we were kids and we got into trouble. Asch’s classic studies of conformity (1955. Then we can consider ways to turn these social influence factors around and use them to benefit safety. About one-third of the time the subject denied the obvious truth in order to go along with the group consensus. In both cases.5 completely ridiculous and unrealistic? Well. it would not be your fault. Sometimes the research associates uniformly gave obviously incorrect judgments. Is the scenario depicted in Figure 4. The last person to decide was the real subject of the experiment. Figure 4. 1956. Let us examine these interpersonal phenomena more closely to understand exactly how they can be human barriers to safety. . he told me to do it. other people are the cause of our motivation and behavior. Peer influence Research conducted by Asch and associates in the mid-1950s found more than one out of three intelligent and well-intentioned college students were willing to publicly deny reality in order to follow the obviously inaccurate judgments of their peers. “It’s not my fault. Figure 4. All but the last individual to voice an opinion were research associates posing as subjects.” It is not hard to see what all of this has to do with safety in the workplace. And have you ever followed orders you know put yourself or others at some degree of risk? If something went wrong.

We have learned that peer pressure increases when more people are involved and when the group members are seen as relatively competent or experienced. It is important to remember. a subject’s willingness to deny reality in order to conform to the group was bolstered by increasing group size (Asch. The phenomenon of social conformity depicted humorously in Figure 4. 1955) and the apparent competence or status of group members (Crutchfield. 1986).7 is certainly not new to any reader. though.7 Peer pressure drives social conformity. that one dissenter—a leader willing to ignore peer pressure and do the right thing—is often enough to prevent another person from succumbing to potentially dangerous conformity at work. to how they communicate both verbally and in writing. 1973). For example. from the clothes people wear. the presence of one dissenter or nonconformist in the group was enough to significantly decrease conformity—it increased a subject’s willingness to choose the correct line even when only 1 of 15 prior decisions reflected the correct choice (Nemeth. This and similar procedures were used in numerous social psychology experiments to study factors influencing the extent of conformity. 1955. Power of authority Imagine you are among nearly 1000 participants in one of Milgram’s 20 obedience studies at Yale University in the 1960s. You and another individual are led to a laboratory to .64 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 4. We cannot overlook the power of conformity in influencing at-risk behavior. Endler and Hartley. On the other hand. We see examples of it every day.

fourth.8 Subjects experienced distress when giving electric shocks to peers. the learner is taken to an adjacent room and strapped to a chair wired through the wall to an electric shock machine containing 30 switches with labels ranging from 15 volts—light shock to 450 volts—severe shock. Now you hear shrieks of pain—the learner pounds on the wall. 1963. you hear the learner moan as you flick the third. 1974). The scenario is depicted in Figure 4. So Milgram and his associates were surprised that 65 percent of his actual subjects. “Get me out of here!” At this point. then becomes silent. you draw slips of paper out of a hat to determine randomly who will be the “teacher” and the “learner.” Increasing the shock intensity with each of the learner’s errors. “These shocks are painful. you might think about stopping. the experimenter urges you to flick the 450-volt switch when the learner fails to respond to the next question. the learner screams. Still. before conducting the experiment. participate in a human learning experiment. They thought the sadistic game would stop soon after the learner indicated the shock was painful. the learner shouts. At what point will you refuse to obey the instructions? Milgram asked this question of a group of people. ranging in age from 20 to 50. Complying with the experimenter’s instructions.Chapter four: The complexity of people 65 Figure 4.”and when the tenth switch is activated.8. starting with the 15-volt switch and moving up to the next higher voltage with each of the learner’s errors. but the experimenter prompts you with words like. and fifth switches.” You get to be the teacher. You sit behind this shock generator and are instructed to punish the learner for errors in the learning task by delivering brief electric shocks. including 40 psychiatrists. When you flick the eighth switch (labeled 120 volts). “Please continue—the experiment requires that you continue. you reach the 330-volt level. went along with the experimenter’s request right up to the last 450-volt switch (Milgram. First. Why did they keep following along? Did they figure out the learner was a confederate of the experimenter and did not really receive the shocks? Did they realize they were being deceived in order to test their obedience? .

further help us to understand the individual.” you get constructive conformity and obedience that supports a Total Safety Culture. when • The authority figure—the one giving the orders—was in the room with the subject. Milgram drew this lesson from the research: “Ordinary people. the potential danger—of the popular safety slogan. • The victim was depersonalized or distanced from the subject in another room. and system factors responsible for at-risk behavior and injury. Both of these social influence phenomena influence the kind of at-risk behavior depicted in Figure 4. The “C” (cognitions) and second “I” (interpersonal) dimensions of this acronym.9. To say. • The authority was supported by a prestigious institution. • The shocks were given by a group of “teachers” in disguise and remaining anonymous (Zimbardo. such as Yale University. Others openly questioned the instructions.66 Psychology of safety handbook No. 1974). time-saving—and risky—behavior. I attempted to convince you that human nature does not usually support safety. simply doing their jobs and without any particular hostility on their part. And when a critical mass of individuals boards the “safety bandwagon.7. To achieve a Total Safety Culture. Some laughed nervously. “I was just following orders. • There was no evidence of resistance—no other subject was observed disobeying the experimenter. trembled. explain the special challenges of achieving a Total Safety Culture. and “Everyone else does it!” implies social conformity or peer pressure. group. to achieve a Total Safety Culture. As a result of social obedience or social conformity. The natural relationships between behavior and its motivating consequences usually result in some form of convenient. you should prepare for an ongoing fight with human nature. but most did as they were told. In this chapter. the subjects sweated. One person can make a difference—decreasing both destructive conformity and obedience—by deviating from the norm and setting a safe example. in particular. Interventions capable of overcoming peer pressure and blind obedience are detailed in Section 4 of this book. we explored dimensions of the safety problem by considering the complexity of people. with as many as 93 percent flicking the highest shock switch.” Conformity and obedience. people might perform risky acts or overlook obvious safety hazards. as shown in Figure 4. Human barriers to safety are represented by a popular acronym from clinical psychology (BASIC ID). What I want to stress at this point is the vital role of leadership. The phenomenon of cognitive failures shows the shallowness—in fact. In conclusion We need to understand a problem as completely as possible and from many perspectives before we can solve it. can become agents in a terrible destructive process” (Milgram. and put themselves and others in danger. Consequently. Milgram and associates learned more about the power of authority in further studies. two powerful phenomena from social psychological research. we need to realize the power of these two interpersonal factors. Let us apply this research to the workplace. Full obedience exceeded 65 percent. “All injuries are preventable. .” reflects the obedience phenomenon. 1970). and bit their lips when giving the shocks.

M. D. E. Holt. 67. S. E.. 1989. 1971. Psychol. reinforcement and conformity. S. 3rd ed. E. Eds. E. J. The cognitive failures questionnaire (CFQ) and its correlates.. E.Chapter four: The complexity of people 67 Figure 4. Make-A-Difference. K. Rinehart & Winston. 1973. Fitzgerald. Effects of group pressure upon modification and distortion of judgments. Behavior Analysis Training for Occupational Safety. They also show how difficult it is to find the factors contributing to a “near hit” or injury. 193. P. Lazarus.. 1982. Soc. S.. . S. F. Crutchfield. T. 1. 3.. S. Psychol. Eur. 191. Lazarus. Newcomb. J. Abnorm.. and Hartley. Relative competence. and Parker. A.. Sci.. Lehman. Maccoby. 1976. Asch. J. Am. N. 10. Monogr. Endler.. Inc. Soc. Geller.. R. Another psychological challenge to safety is explored in the next chapter when we discuss the “S” (sensation) of BASIC ID. and Kalsher... 1955. in Readings in Social Psychology. 1956... A. New York.. Broadbent. S. A.. Opinions and social pressure. 21. 1. P. Clin. Cooper. Asch. Br. Psychol.9 Social conformity and obedience can inhibit safety-related behavior. Psychol. New York.. The human barriers to safety discussed here should lead us to be more defensive and alert in hazardous environments. 1955. E. S. VA. R. Studies of independence and conformity: a minority of one against a unanimous majority. A. Psychol.. Newport.. Milgram. New York.. 70. and Hartley. Springer. Behavior Therapy and Beyond... 63. E. 31. References Asch. Behavioral studies of obedience. G. J. M.. Conformity and character.. Am.. McGraw-Hill.. L. Multimodal Behavior Therapy. S. 1958. 1963. 371.

Rev. impulse. Harper Collins. Ed. 1970. M. Anderson. W. Detection. Hillsdale. R. 1974. T. in Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. G. 93. Psychol.68 Psychology of safety handbook Milgram. S.. Zimbardo. and Levine. Psychol. and chaos. Basic Books. Lincoln. I.. D. 1988. and order versus deindividuation. Shiffrin. and Dumais. Eds.. P.. The human choice: individuation. M. University of Nebraska Press. 84. 1986. Erlbaum. D. A. 1977. Arnold. C. R. New York. in Cognitive Skills and Their Acquisition. J. W. and Shiffrin.. R.. NB. NJ. Norman. Nemeth. Schneider. 1981.. Differential contribution of majority and minority influence. Controlled and automatic information processing.. S.. 23. and attention. Rev.. Obedience to Authority. search. 1. J. The Psychology of Everyday Things. . New York... The development of automatism. reason.

attitudes. or something in between. Taken together. We cannot dramatically improve safety until people increase their perception of risk in various situations and reduce their overall tolerance for risk. and touch). personality. To experience life on a selective basis. perception. . we intentionally and unintentionally tune in and tune out certain features of our environment. Several factors will be discussed that impact whether employees react to workplace hazards with alarm. some potential experiences are never realized.”—John Lubbock The “S” of the BASIC ID acronym introduced in Chapter 4 refers to sensation—a human dimension that influences our thinking. In this chapter we shall explore the notion of selective sensation or perception. emotions. Instead. we learned there are five basic senses we use daily to experience our world (we see. “What we see depends mainly on what we look for. and perceived risk It is critically important to understand that perceptions of risk vary among individuals. This is a complex process. taste. Decide whether the information is worth remembering or responding to. we can—and do—impose our own individual bias. but from there. thus. we begin by using our five senses. and then relate this concept to perceived risk and injury control. Later we learned that our senses do not take in all of the information available in our immediate surroundings. Plan and execute a response (if called for). aspirations. smell. and expectations.chapter five Sensation. and behavior. apathy. Interpret its meaning or relevance to us. which is shaped by our past experiences. these factors shape personal perceptions of risk and illustrate why the job of improving safety is so challenging. hear. Psychologists refer to such biased sensation as perception. At any time in this chain of information processing and decision making. You can see how our everyday sensations are dramatically influenced consciously and unconsciously by a number of person factors unique to the situation and the individual sensing the situation. we • • • • Define (or encode) the information received. intentions. In grade school.

1 Selective sensation can be demonstrated with this ambiguous drawing. the following instructions were printed in one-half of the 40-page handouts distributed to the audience of more than 350 individuals at the start of my two-hour presentation.1 for about five seconds. Because all perceptions result from our intentional or unintentional distortion of sensations. Do not dwell on the picture. We experience our surroundings through the natural selection of our sensations. . answer the five questions on the following page. you will answer “yes” or “no” to a series of questions. After this. After the participants read the instructions.70 Psychology of safety handbook There is also a term called “selective perception” that is commonly used to refer to our biased sensations. and then look at the drawing for five seconds. The picture is a rough sketch of a poster of a couple at a costume ball. An example of selective sensation or perception At the 1994 Professional Development Conference of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). This process is simply referred to as perception. If you would like to experience the biased visual sensation Figure 5. Look at it only long enough to “take it all in” at once. adding the adjective “selective” to perception is unnecessary and actually redundant. You are going to look briefly at a picture and then answer some questions about it. Afterwards. Please read instructions on the prior page. I presented the illustration depicted in Figure 5.

This is a basic rule of the . and the laughter got louder when I asked what else was quickly perceived in the illustration. someone asked whether the instructions printed in their handouts could have influenced the different perceptions.” This drew many laughs. smelling. Included in one-half were all the words given above.” It is a matter of context. touch. Others saw part of a circus tent. including lighting. and visual distance from the presentation screen. Critical words in the instructions created expectations for a particular visual experience. please read the instructions previously given and then look at Figure 5. the case. and a beach ball.1. I suspect you have no difficulty reading the sentence as “The cat sat by the door.1? “What’s going on here?” I asked the ASSE audience. and touching. the common response heard across the room was “seal. and many said they had seen an animal. can be dramatically influenced by the atmosphere in which it is served. perception. Why are we getting these diverse reactions to one simple picture? Some people speculated about environmental factors in the seminar room. occupation. This was. The same is true for our other senses—hearing. Some remembered seeing a curtain. What did you see in Figure 5. When I asked what type of animal.Chapter five: Sensation. tasting. others said they had seen a trainer’s whip. Likewise. the rest had the words “trained seal act” substituted for “couple at a costume ball. spatial orientation. Several people saw a woman’s purse and a man’s cane. a fish.1 for approximately five seconds. what kind of animal did you see? What other details did you detect in the brief exposure to the drawing? ___ A woman’s purse? ___ A man’s cane? ___ A trainer’s whip? ___ A fish? ___ A ball? ___ A curtain? ___ A test? Practically everyone in the audience raised a hand to answer “yes” to the first question. the context or environmental surroundings in our visual field influence how we see particular stimuli. Did you see an animal in the picture? If so. Did you see a woman in the picture? 3. Then. age. Finally. including gender.” even though the symbol for “H” is exactly the same as the symbol for “A. But only about one-half of the audience acknowledged seeing a woman in the drawing. Was your perception of Figure 5. 1. Others thought individual differences. The symbol was positioned in a way that influenced your labeling (or encoding) of the symbol.1 influenced by this “set up”? Biased by context Now take a look at Figure 5. and I suspect you also see a man in Figure 5. How we experience food. this makes perfect sense to you. and personal experiences even “last night” could be responsible. Every handout included the same exact instructions except for a few words.2. in fact. which involves the sensations of smell. answer the questions that I asked my ASSE audience.” This was enough to make a marked difference in perceptions. I had set up my audience. and taste. Did you see a man in the picture? 2. Perhaps. and perceived risk 71 (or perception) demonstrated to the ASSE audience.

Here.4. the same individual might feel empowered and be perceived as a leader. The sign. other factors also bias food sensations. restaurant business. job titles. keys. What label do you give the man in the drawing on the left? The setting or context certainly influences your decision. we choose to interact at all. Pick out someone you communicate with at work. housekeeping. This can dramatically influence how we interact with others if. In another setting. This impression certainly can be misleading and might cause you to overlook someone’s potential. as well as affect our perceptions of others.3 uniform. It is important to recognize this contextual bias. depersonalizing them. Now let us take our discussion of perception and apply it to the workplace.3.2 The context or circumstances surrounding a stimulus can influence how we perceive it. the work setting has a way of turning individuals into numbers. perceptions of people can be shaped by equipment. indeed. as depicted in Figure 5. In fact. Of course. and think how your relationship would be different in another setting. and work attire. The environment context influences personal perception of the man in . The environmental context in the drawing on the right leads to a different perception and label for the same person. he is a policeman enforcing a safety policy. Let us take a look at Figure 5. Here. and uniform are cues that the man is probably a doorman. including hunger and past experiences with the same and similar food. Would you still feel superior or inferior? Also.72 Psychology of safety handbook T E C T S T BY T E DOOR Figure 5. our own job title or work assignment can influence perceptions of ourselves. Figure 5.

including many past perceived experiences. perception. When I give workshops on paradigm shifts. Biased by our past Perhaps every reader realizes that our past experiences influence our present perceptions.4 The environmental context influences perception and behavior. Actually. “He (or she) keeps playing old tapes and is not open to new ideas. . Others start with an “open mind” and an “opportunity to learn” outlook.Chapter five: Sensation. The cumulative collection of these previous perceived experiences biases every new experience and makes it indeed difficult to “teach an old dog new tricks.” Some participants arrive at my seminars and workshops with a “closed mind” and a “have to be here” attitude. someone invariably expresses concern about resistance. there is a long trail of intertwined factors here. Past experiences are biasing present perceptions. we considered shifts in methods and perceptions needed to achieve a Total Safety Culture.” is a common refrain. Past experiences filter through a personal evaluation process that is influenced by person factors. and perceived risk 73 Figure 5. In Chapter 3. This is another example of the power of personal perception—how much one learns at these seminars depends on perceptions going in.

but treat it as a sentence in a memo you have received from a colleague or supervisor. the last picture will likely be identified as a rat or mouse. Now I would like you to read the sentence given in Figure 5. Your past experience at reading memos. Now. Karly was in kindergarten and Krista was a second grader. The drawings must be uncovered in a particular order. With the top row covered. and they both found six “Fs” immediately.” I remember looking at the sentence over and over trying to find six “Fs” but to no avail. you can view serially the row pictures in Figure 5.5 and use it for a group demonstration. Show the top row of pictures first. My past experience FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY YEARS. The last picture will probably be identified as the face of an elderly man. I showed the sentence to my two young daughters. most will answer “three. When I show this sentence to workshop participants and ask the same question. as well as your mood at the time. can influence how you perceive and react to a memo. Some of those memos seem meaningless. but even after knowing this. “Six” is actually the correct answer.5 Prior perceptual experience influences current perception. After reading the sentence in Figure 5. Neither could understand the words.6 Past experience can teach us to overlook details. too.74 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 5.5 and see how your perception of the last drawing changes depending on whether you previously looked at human faces or animals. You can show how current impressions are affected by prior perceptions by asking participants to call out what they see as you reveal each drawing.” A few will shout out “six. Figure 5. Even after knowing the purpose of the demonstration.” usually because they have seen the demonstration before. then show the successive animal pictures of the second row. The sentence might seem to make little sense. .6. go back and quickly count the number of letter “Fs” in the sentence. Why? When I was first introduced to this exercise many years ago. and could only see three “Fs. revealing each successive one from left to right. Perhaps you will find it worthwhile to copy Figure 5. With permission.6 with the intent of understanding what it means. My wife had the same difficulty as I. Record your answer. Adapted from Bugelski and Alimpay (1961). a number of people cannot find more than three “Fs” in the sentence.

before being understood” is Covey’s fifth habit for highly effective people (Covey. Perhaps the person factors discussed here increase your appreciation and respect for diversity and support the basic need to actively listen. we can become more tolerant of individuals who do not appear to share our opinion or viewpoint. and after viewing the face several times in both positions. unessential words like “of. at speed reading had conditioned me to simply overlook small. I bet you had a similar experience if you had not seen this demonstration before. and perceived risk 75 Figure 5. Finally. .7. I bet this perceptual bias will persist even after you realize the cause of the distortion.6. take a look at the woman in Figure 5. Relevance to achieving a Total Safety Culture Is the relevance of this discussion to occupational safety and health obvious? Perhaps by understanding factors that lead to diverse perceptions.” and so I simply did not perceive the “Fs” in the three “ofs. Has your perception changed? Why did you not notice her awkward (actually ugly) mouth when the picture was upside down? Perhaps both context and prior experience (or learning) biased your initial perception. 1989). If you had seen it.7 Viewing this face from a different orientation (by turning the book upside down) will influence a different perception. or at least normal? Now turn the book upside down and view the woman’s face from the normal orientation. A biased perception can be difficult to correct.Chapter five: Sensation.” My history had biased my perception. then that experience biased your current perception of Figure 5. It is not easy to fight human nature. Notice anything strange. other than the picture is upside down? Is this face relatively attractive. perception. “Seek first to understand.

Of course. Maybe I have alerted you to challenges not previously considered.” the next section should do the trick. or corrective action. “It is not going to happen to me. many people do not appreciate the value of using personal protective equipment or following safe operating procedures. 1991). or mental state (Evans. This thinking pervades society.30 to 0. the chance of a vehicle crash is minuscule. 1984). Automobile crashes are the nation’s leading cause of lost productivity. Perceived risk People are generally underwhelmed or unimpressed by risks or safety hazards at work. or even a near hit. the risk that comes from driving during any one trip can be estimated by calculating the probability of a vehicle crash on one trip and multiplying this value by the magnitude of injury from a crash.” Now. cancer. In Chapter 4. perceived risk The real risk associated with a particular hazard or behavior is determined by the magnitude of loss if a mishap occurs. gender. look at the protests over asbestos in schools and neighborhood chemical plants. speed of vehicle(s). This is strange.76 Psychology of safety handbook It is also possible that this discussion and the exercises on personal perception have reduced your tendency to blame individuals for an injury or to look for a single root cause of an undesirable incident. Their perception of risk is generally much lower than actual risk. the risk of driving an automobile is difficult to assess. it is quite probable someone will eventually be hurt on the job when you factor in the number of hours workers are exposed to various hazards. really—we usually get away with risky behavior. road conditions. Plus the risk can be eliminated completely by the use of appropriate protective clothing or equipment. influence people’s perceptions (Covell et al. let us further explore why we are generally not impressed by safety hazards at work. the injury potential or mortality rate from a vehicle crash is influenced by many other factors. because work situations vary so dramatically. It is important . and the probability that the loss or accident will indeed occur. Why? Our experiences on the job lead us to perceive a relatively low level of risk. in a lifetime of driving the probability is quite high. we become more accepting of the common belief. recommendation. irrelevant to actual risk. however. After all. and heart disease (National Academy Press. trip frequency and duration. 1986). It is elemental. although it has been estimated that 55 percent of all fatalities and 65 percent of all injuries would have been prevented if a combination shoulder and lap belt had been used (Federal Register. 1985. Before we react to an incident or injury with our own viewpoint. I hope I have not reduced your optimism toward achieving a Total Safety Culture. we need to ask others about their perceptions. Still.50 depending upon factors such as geographic location. Estimating the risk of injury from working with certain equipment is even more difficult to determine. I discussed one major reason for low perceptions of risk in the workplace. On any single trip. but how many of us take driving for granted? The risk of a fatality from driving a vehicle or working in a factory is much higher than from the environmental contamination of radiation. varying from 0. asbestos. and characteristics of the driver such as age. For example. Waller.. Yet. Real vs. Obviously. and whether the vehicle occupants were using safety belts. including size of vehicle(s) involved. As each day goes by without receiving an injury. Researchers of risk communication have found that various characteristics of a hazard. greater than AIDS. or industrial chemicals. If I have not convinced you yet to stop claiming “All injuries are preventable. 1991). reaction time.

Likewise. varying dramatically among individuals. I discuss relationships among perceived choice. and distress. to consider these characteristics. Discussing some of these factors will reveal strategies for increasing our own and others’ perception of risk in certain situations. employees who feel they have their pick of places to work generally perceive less risk in a work environment. people who feel they have the freedom to pull up stakes and move whenever they want would likely perceive less risk from a nearby nuclear plant or seismic fault. skiing. stress. and working) are seen as less risky than ones we feel forced to endure (like food preservatives. because behavior is determined by perceived rather than actual risk. With permission. environmental pollution. and their colleagues. Slovic (1991). Figure 5. and perceived risk 77 Lower Risk • exposure is voluntary • hazard is familiar • hazard is forgettable • hazard is cumulative • collective statistics • hazard is understood • hazard is controllable • hazard affects anyone • preventable • consequential Higher Risk • exposure is mandatory • hazard is unusual • hazard is memorable • hazard is catastrophic • individual statistics • hazard is unknown • hazard is uncontrollable • hazard affects vulnerable people • only reducible • inconsequential Figure 5.8 shows factors that influence our risk perceptions. and these are not usually experienced in the work setting. Adapted from Sandman (1991). the perception of choice is also subjective. They are typically more motivated and less distressed. The opposing factors in the right-hand column have been found to increase risk perception. Of course. our perception of risk on the job is not as high as it should be and.Chapter five: Sensation. In the next chapter. It is derived from research by Sandman (1991). . As a consequence. and earthquakes). The power of choice Hazards we choose to experience (like driving.8 Factors on the left reduce perception and are generally associated with the workplace. we do not work as defensively as we should. perception. therefore. The factors listed on the left reduce perceptions of risk and are typically associated with the workplace. For example.

Personalizing these experiences increases perceived risk. employees show much more attention and concern for hazards when injuries or “near hits” are discussed by the coworkers who experienced them. When driving. This might be easier said than done. and signs. catastrophic. “Aunt Martha is 91 years old and still smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. Publicity of memorable injuries. compared to a presentation of statistics. or when you were first introduced to the equipment in your workplace? It was not long before you lowered your perceptions of risk. Understood and controllable hazards Hazards we can explain and control cause much less alarm than hazards that are not understood and. I have met many people over the years who accepted individual accounts in lieu of convincing statistics—“The police officer told Uncle Jake he would have been killed if he had been buckled up”. The power of publicity It is so easy to tune out the familiar hazards of the workplace. Perhaps it would be better for safety leaders to admit and publicize that only two of the three types of factors contributing to workplace injuries can be managed effectively— environmental/equipment factors and work behaviors.” This suggests that we should shift the focus of safety meetings away from statistics. piecemeal rather than system approaches to injury investigation. and memorable events broadcast by the media and dramatized on television and in the movies. Still. The more we know about a risk. influences misperception of actual risk.78 Psychology of safety handbook Familiarity breeds complacency Familiarity is probably a more powerful determinant of perceived risk than choice. Safety professionals respond by constantly reminding employees of risks with a steady stream of memos. like those suffered by John Wayne Bobbitt and Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. emphasizing instead the human element of safety. Indeed. perceived as uncontrollable. safety meetings. This points up a problem with many employee safety education and training programs. for example. Safety talks and intervention strategies should center on individual experiences rather than numbers. most of us quickly shifted from two hands on the wheel and no distractions to steering with one hand while turning up the radio and carrying on a conversation. Encouraging victims to come forward with their stories is often stifled by management systems in many companies that seem to value fault finding over fact finding. At work. the less it threatens us. and changed your behavior accordingly. The average person cannot relate to group numbers. newsletters. This actually lowers perceived risk by convincing people the causes of occupational injuries are understood and controllable.” implying complete control over the factors that cause injuries. As I have already discussed in . Sympathy for victims Many people feel sympathy for victims of a publicized incident. even vividly visualizing the injury as if it happened to them. these efforts cannot compete with the impact of unusual. thus. safety professionals often state a vision or goal of “zero injuries. Remember how attentive you were when first learning to drive. but there is power in personal stories. Workplace hazards are explained in a way that creates the impression they can be controlled. and enforcement more than recognition to influence on-the-job behaviors.

perceptions. . unobservable.Chapter five: Sensation. Internal human factors make it impossible to prevent all injuries.9 obviously perceive the consequences of smoking very differently. The costs of not wearing the mask might be abstract and delayed (if the exposure is not immediately life threatening). cigarettes. Some people. along with a concerted effort to prevent or curtail the risk. The availability of and exposure to these hazards will continue. expectancies. you can increase both the perceived value of ongoing safety interventions and the belief that a Total Safety Culture requires total commitment and involvement of all concerned. It is also convenient and enables a worker to be more productive. Statistics might point out a chance of getting a lung disease. thus.9 The perceived consequences of at-risk behavior can vary widely from one person to another. lobby to restrict or eliminate these societal hazards. Acceptable consequences We are less likely to feel threatened by risk taking or a risk exposure that has its own rewards. the two women in Figure 5. and subjective world of people dramatically influences the risk of personal injury. managed. the benefits of risky work behaviors are generally obvious to everyone. or controlled reliably. which will not surface for Figure 5. it is cooler and more comfortable to work without a respirator. perceive guns. Cost–benefit analyses are subjective and vary widely as a function of individual experience. as long as a significant number of individuals perceive the risk benefits to outweigh the risk costs. On the other hand. perception. and alcohol as having limited benefit and. the mysterious inside. By discussing the complexity of people and their integral contribution to most workplace hazards and injuries. for example. outrage—or heightened perceived risk—is likely to be the reaction. These attitudes. and personality characteristics cannot be measured. For example. For example. But if few benefits are perceived by an at-risk behavior or environmental condition. though. and perceived risk 79 preceding chapters.

1977). when hazards or injuries seem unfair. “What goes around comes around. This increased attention results in more perceived risk.” “There’s a reason for everything. On the other hand. Occupational injuries are indiscriminately distributed among employees who take risks.10 to obtain special assistance. In recent years. risky work practices are often accepted and not perceived to be as dangerous as they really are.” “People generally get what they deserve. Whatever the name. By playing the odds and shooting for short-term gains. In other words. the basic idea is quite simple and straightforward. Sense of fairness Most people believe in a just and fair world (Lerner. Figure 5. The victims of workplace injuries. .” When people receive benefits like increased productivity from their risky behavior. special attention is given. Risk compensation A discussion of risk perception would not be complete without examining one of the most controversial concepts in the field of safety. are not perceived as weak and defenseless. Decisions about risk taking are made every day by workers. 1975. if ever. public attention. including risk homeostasis. like learning-disabled children. most people generally perceive the world as the large rather than the small fish in Figure 5. This makes it relatively easy to obtain contributions or voluntary assistance for programs that target vulnerable populations. risk-offsetting behavior. however. or perceived risk is relatively low.10. as when a child is molested or inflicted with a deadly disease. It is fair and just for the small fish in Figure 5. This is a common perception or attitude and it lowers the outrage we feel when someone gets injured on the job. and they deserve what they get. And lower outrage translates into lower perceived risk. it has been given different labels. risk or danger compensation.10 Justice is a matter of personal perspective. and perverse compensation. the outrage.80 Psychology of safety handbook decades.

11 Personal protective equipment can reduce the perception of risk. When I get behind my opponent by two or more games. Today.11 is taking a risk owing to the perceived security of fall protection. I did not perform these behaviors until perceiving security from the personal protective equipment (PPE). I adjust the risk level of my game depending on the circumstances—my opponent’s skills and the score of the match. I take more chances. I experience risk compensation of a different sort on the tennis court. For example. The notion of taking more risks to compensate for lower risk perception certainly seems intuitive. workers might reduce their perception of risk and. Could this be partly owing to risk compensation? If the use of a back belt leads to employees lifting heavier loads. I clearly remember taking more risks after donning a standard high school football uniform. 1975). thus. and perceived risk 81 Figure 5. then the potential protection from this device could be offset by greater risk taking. we would have support for the risk compensation theory (Peltzman. I play more conservatively from the base line. I will hit out for a winner or go to the net for a volley. I bet every reader has experienced this phenomenon. perception. With helmet and shoulder pads.Chapter five: Sensation. People are presumed to adjust their behavior to compensate for changes in perceived risk. If a job is made safer with machine guards or the use of personal protective equipment. 1995). How can the phenomenon be denied? Figure 5. The protective device could give a false sense of security and reduce one’s perception of being vulnerable to back . Risk compensation has seemingly universal applications.12 depicts a workplace situation quite analogous to my teenage experiences on the football field. There appear to be limited scientific data to support the use of commercially available back belts (Metzgar. perform more recklessly. If I get ahead of my opponent by a few games. if the individual depicted in Figure 5. I would willingly throw my body in the path of another player or leap to catch a pass.

Peltzman. The result could be more frequent and heavier lifting. Wilde. 1994).b. the notion that an individual’s behavior could offset the safety benefits of PPE is extremely repugnant to a safety professional. but first let us look more closely at research evidence supporting the phenomenon. Although football players increase at-risk behaviors when suited up. Support from research In fact. there is scientific evidence that risk compensation. for example. Lehman and Gage (1995) proclaim. they sustain far fewer injuries than they would without the PPE. 1985a. for example. This is true even if a lack of protection reduced their risk taking substantially. I shall explain this “good news” further. and greater probability of injury. Dr. injury. as our intuition or common sense tells us.12 Back belts can give a false sense of security. 1975. . there are no epicycles and there is no phlogiston .82 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 5. . or risk homeostasis. This is why back belt suppliers emphasize the need for training and education in the use of belts. others contend the phenomenon does not exist. Could this mean that efforts to make environments safer with engineering innovations are useless in the long run? Are safety belts and air bags responsible for increases in vehicle speeds? Does this mean laws and policy to enforce safe behavior actually provoke offsetting at-risk behavior? Some researchers and scholars are convinced risk compensation is real and detrimental to injury prevention (Adams. there is no risk homeostasis” (Wilde. similarly. that “this alleged theory (risk compensation) has neither experimental nor analytical scientific basis”. Obviously. . 1994). . . then risk compensation or risk homeostasis is irrelevant. More important. but the off-setting or compensating behavior does not negate the benefits of intervention. if people lower the level of risk they are willing to accept (as promoted in a Total Safety Culture). Leonard Evans of General Motors Research Laboratories is quoted as saying “ . is real.

1985).. for example. 1987). it is generally believed that the safest drivers are the first to buckle up and comply. His annual comparisons (from 1970 to 1978) showed dramatic reductions in fatal vehicle crash rates after countries introduced seat-belt use laws. for example. Within subject comparisons. including seat belts. penetration-resistant windshields. and perceived risk 83 Comparisons between people.Chapter five: Sensation. Fredrick Streff and I conducted one such study in . Sam Peltzman (1975). improvements in vehicle performance. As predicted by risk compensation theory. 1985b). The notion of risk compensation made its debut among safety professionals following the theorizing and archival research of University of Chicago economist. meaning the most prominent decrease in injuries from vehicle crashes will not occur until the remaining 30 percent buckle up—those currently resisting belt-use laws (Campbell et al. 1984). 1987). this is a primary theme of this book. Risk compensation has been proposed to explain this discrepancy. Of course. and it can only indirectly test the occurrence of risk compensation. Behavioral scientists call this between groups research.b)—changes in the economy. padded instrument panels.. the largescale impact of increased use of vehicle safety belts has not been nearly as beneficial as expected from laboratory crash tests. There are obviously other possible explanations for the fluctuations in large data bases compiled and analyzed by Peltzman (1975) and Adams (1985a. Apparently. Studies that compared risk behaviors across large data sets and found varying characteristics among people who complied with a safety policy vs. London. Young males (Preusser et al. But the drop in fatality rates was even greater in countries without safety-belt use laws (Adams. the theory can only be tested by comparing the same group of individuals under different conditions. Peltzman systematically compared vehicle crash statistics before (1947–1965) vs. perception. In other words. Because risk compensation theory predicts that individuals increase their risky behavior after perceiving an increase in safety or security. persons with elevated blood alcohol levels (Wagenaar. Perhaps the most convincing evidence of risk compensation was that the cars equipped with safety devices were involved in a disproportionately high number of crashes. Taken alone this data would lend strong support to seat-belt legislation. If the riskiest workers are least likely to comply with rules and policy. 1985). Regarding safety-belt mandates. John Adams of University College. those who did not certainly weaken the case for risk compensation. Most within subject tests of risk compensation theory have been restricted to simulated laboratory investigations (Wilde et al. primarily statistical but it did stimulate follow-up investigations. traditional top-down enforcement and discipline are not sufficient to achieve a Total Safety Culture.. and media promotion of particular life styles. These observations of different risk conditions are time consuming and quite difficult to pull off in a real-world situation. and “tailgaters” who drive dangerously close to the vehicles they follow (Evans et al. Research supports this presumed direct relationship between at-risk behavior and noncompliance with safety policy. “those segments of the driving population who are least likely to comply with safe driving laws are precisely those groups that are at highest risk of serious injury” (Waller. after (1966-1972) the regulated installation of safety engineering innovations in vehicles. Dr. energy-absorbing steering columns. and dual braking systems. But let us get back to the issue of risk compensation. Peltzman’s article has been criticized on a number of counts. compared traffic fatality rates between countries with and without safetybelt use laws.. UK. Dr. 1982) are less likely to comply with a belt-use law. to name a few. Behavioral-science researchers call this a within subjects design. Dr. Peltzman found that these vehiclemanufacturing safety standards had not reduced the frequency of crash fatalities per miles driven. These findings could certainly have implications for occupational safety.

We built an oval clay go-cart track about 100 m in circumference and equipped a 5-horsepower go-cart with an inertia reel-type combination shoulder–lap safety harness. 1994). “hard-core” nonusers of safety belts buckled up at the request of the experimenter. After the first phase. According to reactance theory. When people understand and accept the paradigm shifts needed for a Total Safety Culture (see Chapter 3). these buckled-up drivers drove faster. On the other hand. “The extent of risk taking with respect to safety and health in a given society. Those who took off their safety belts reported a significant decrease in perceived safety. they need to believe in . Subjects who used the safety belt for all trials did not drive faster than subjects who never used the safety belt.84 Psychology of safety handbook 1987. but also by the theory of psychological reactance (Brehm. but at a speed that is comfortable for you” (Streff and Geller. changed lanes at higher speeds. some people feel a sense of freedom or accomplishment when they do not comply with top-down regulations. 1994. Skinner (1971) referred to reactive behavior as countercontrol—a means by which some people attempt to assert their freedom and dignity when feeling controlled. the subjects completed a brief questionnaire to assess their perceived risk while driving the go-cart. As the title of his book Target Risk indicates. the safety condition was switched for one-half the subjects. Specifically. Following the first and second phases (consisting of 15 trials each). 1966) discussed in Chapter 3 (see Figure 3. ultimately depends on values that prevail in that society. Perceptions of risk were not different across these groups of subjects. they are on track to reduce their tolerance for risk. compared to drivers who never buckled up in the go-cart. The speed and accuracy of each subject’s driving trial were systematically measured. our risk reduction attempts are the same. This behavior is not only predicted by risk compensation theory. for these subjects the safety belt was no longer used if the drivers had previously been buckled up. The 56 subjects were either buckled or unbuckled in the first of two phases of driving trials. Subjects were told to drive the go-cart around the track “quickly. Implications of risk compensation I am convinced from personal experience and reading the research literature that risk compensation is a real phenomenon. Some people only follow the rules when they are supervised and might take greater risks when they can get away with it. the within subject differences did show the predicted changes in risk perception and significant risk compensation. Compared to measures taken when not using a safety belt. 1988). engineering or enforcement” (page 213). but this change in risk perception was not reflected in slower driving speeds. Next. and not on the available technology” (Wilde. Subjects reported feeling safer when they buckled up. What does this mean for injury prevention? Wilde (1994) says it means safety excellence cannot be achieved through top-down rules and enforcement. followed more closely behind vehicles in front of them.1). page 223). Wilde (1994) asserts that improvements in safety cannot be “achieved by interventions in the form of training. therefore. The between subject comparisons showed no risk compensation. Whether dangerous behavior results from psychological reactance or risk compensation. and subsequently drove the go-cart significantly faster than subjects who used the safety belt during both phases. Our go-cart study was later followed up in the Netherlands using a real car on real roads. or the belt was used by drivers who previously did not use it. and braked later when approaching an obstacle. They like to beat the system. Wilde advocates that safety interventions need to lower the level of risk people are willing to tolerate. Convincing evidence of risk compensation was found (Jansson. either. habitual. That is. This requires a change in values. I hope it is obvious that Wilde’s position is consistent with the theme of this text.

These methods are explained in Section 3 of this text. I like the term “premature cognitive commitment” because it makes me mindful of the various ingredients of inflexible prejudice. In conclusion This chapter explored the concept of selective sensation or perception. perception. it is premature. our attitudes. I discuss these concepts more fully in Section 4. Then. this bias is often caused by prior experience. and related it to perceived risk and injury control. meaning it is accomplished before adequate diagnosis. First. Visual exercises illustrated the impact of past experience and contextual cues on present perception. and consideration. that people often hold on stubbornly to a preconceived notion about someone or something. they need to understand and accept the procedures that can achieve this vision. it is cognitive. We need to work diligently to understand the perceptions of others before we impulsively jump to conclusions or attempt to exert our influence. they will come to treat safety as a value rather than a priority. or just plain bias. the workforce will feel empowered to actively care for a Total Safety Culture. it is a commitment. Figure 5. Through a continuous process of applying the right procedures. Perhaps you know this phenomenon as prejudice. and perceived risk 85 the vision of a Total Safety Culture and buy into the mission of achieving it. and it can dramatically affect perception. meaning it is a mental process that influences our perceptions. history. discrimination. Finally. . I like the label Langer (1989) uses for this kind of mindlessness—premature cognitive commitment. analysis.13 We all have premature cognitive commitment. and our behaviors. pigheadedness. one-sidedness.Chapter five: Sensation. It is not just a fleeting notion or temporary opinion. As illustrated in Figure 5. This allows us to appreciate diversity and realize the value of actively listening during personal interaction. It is important to realize.13. however. Second. Finally.

Prof.. Eds. S. Reading. we need to understand how stress. Simon & Schuster. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. UNC Highway Safety Research Center. Seat belt wearing and driving behavior: an instrumented-vehicle study.. back belts and the Hawthorne effect. 1991. 1985a. How much is safety really worth? Countering a false hypothesis. 1995. and von Buseck. Soc. Anal. J. 1985–1986 Experiences with Belt Laws in the United States. U. Addison-Wesley. and Alimpay. and Gage. MA.. Federal motor vehicle safety standards: occupant crash protection.S. understands. in Acceptable Evidence: Science and Values in Risk Management. B. But before discussing strategies to fix the problem. Changes in risk perception and acceptance will occur when individuals get involved in achieving a Total Safety Culture with the principles and procedures discussed in this Handbook. J. 40(6). Evans. S. W. as well as intervention plans to motivate continual employee involvement. these factors shape personal perceptions of risk and illustrate why the job of improving safety is so daunting. Hum. risk. We must realize that perceptions of risk vary dramatically among individuals. P. W. Being mindful of premature cognitive commitment in ourselves and others will not stop this bias. U. 1977. J. 48(138). 1989. The role of frequency in developing perceptual sets.. 1991. Saf. New York. 26. 15. The justice motive in social behavior J. D. 26. believes.. 1985b. and Hollander. Sandman. interpersonal conflict. Bugelski.. And it is a barrier we must overcome to develop the interdependent teamwork needed for a Total Safety Culture. A. And we cannot improve safety unless people increase their perception of. H. Evans. References Adams. 1987. C. G.. 249. attends to. J. P. Injury in America: A Continuing Public Health Problem. 1995. 1. 41.C.. L. 40(4). Lehman.. 1989. NC. Federal Register. New York. J. The justice motive: some hypotheses as to its origins and forms. Covell. Plenum. G. Adams. M. Traffic Safety and the Driver. I discuss various intervention approaches in Section 4.. U. Oxford University Press. R. 205. but it is a start. B. That is our topic for the next chapter. Several factors were discussed in this chapter that affect whether employees react to workplace hazards with alarm. Transport Publishing Projects. and Schwing. R. Econ. D. Taken together.. . July 1984. S. M. Iss. Placebos. C. and Stovie. G. appreciates. Fact.. Prev. Psychol. Guidelines for communicating information about chemical risks effectively and responsibly. R. 1961. and reduce their tolerance for. DC. 1985. B. in Human Behavior and Traffic Safety. 677. seat belts and the emperor’s new clothes. A. T. 45. Stewart. Final Rule. 1994. C. Risk and Freedom. F.. R.. Covey. L.. 1975.. 24. or something in between. D. 1982.. London. Wasielawski. Van Nostrand Reinhold. if not most. J... E. Washington. and uses. 1966. Chapel Hill. Washington. Saf.. D. V. relatively permanent position or sentiment that affects what information a person seeks. Campbell. J. Compulsory seat belt usage and driver risk-taking behavior.. R.86 Psychology of safety handbook It is a solid.. and personal attributions contribute to the problem. Academic Press. Accid... Lerner. National Academy Press.. A Theory of Psychological Reactance.. Mayo. Mindfulness. This justifies more resources for safety and health programs.. New York. 83. R. J. apathy. 1. Janssen.. 31(3). distress. P.. New York.. Can. Brehm. New York. Person. Peltzman.. 1975. Langer. Eds.. Pol.. Evans.. The effects of automobile safety regulation. Metzgar. Smead’s law. J. Premature cognitive commitment is the root cause of much. Prof. Lerner. National Academy Press. L.. J. and Campbell. J.. Department of Transportation. 37. R.

Ontario.. 277. D. J. 1986.... C. 1985. The Effect of New York’s Seat Belt Law on Teenage Drivers. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. M. Environmental Communication Research Program. PDE Publications.. 1984. D. 1987. S. Alfred A.. P. videotaped presentation for the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Sandman. Mayo. New York. State liquor laws as enablers for impaired driving and other impaired behaviors. K. New York. J... Prev. Health. Ann. 21. perception. L. Plenum Press. M. 1991. in Deceptable Evidence: Science and Values in Risk Management. MI.. F. Cook College.. Risk homeostasis in an experimental context. E. . Rutgers University.. A.. and perceived risk 87 Preusser. Ann Arbor.Chapter five: Sensation. Wagenaar. Streff.. Beyond numbers: a broader perspective on risk perception and risk communication. Am. S. Evans. 787. Anal. Waller. G.. Toronto. F. Report VMTRI84-2. A. B. A. New York. and Schwing. Risk Hazard + Outrage: a Formula for Effective Risk Communication. J.. J. P. Target Risk. Accid. Injury: conceptual shifts and prevention implications.. C. Restraint usage among crash-involved motor vehicle occupants. J. P. S. Skinner. G.C. NJ. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.. in Human Behavior and Traffic Safety. F.. Canada. and Platenius. R.. Wilde. and Geller. 20. 1991. 76. Oxford University Press.. Knopf. New Brunswick. A. H. Rev. 1988. G. An experimental test of risk compensation: between-subject versus within-subject analysis. Slovic. 1994. Williams. D. 1971. Publ. Publ. and Lund. F. A. R. 8. Eds. S. Eds. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Waller. Wilde. Claxton-Oldfield. 1985. P. D. Washington. and Hollander. Health.


Grumbling under her breath that the night shift had been “careless. they are barriers to achieving a Total Safety Culture. With tears in his eyes. Fortunately. she was not hurt. you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” she downed her usual cup of coffee and waited for the production line to crank up. and without incident. and put the cart in place. She had been up much of the night with Robbie. inserted another one. and Judy fell backward against the control panel. and the only damage was the broken handle. During lunch Judy called the doctor’s office and learned that her son had the flu. Attribution bias can reduce distress. it was not her mess. at-risk behavior. Suddenly the handle broke. and defines factors. This was the third night his cough had periodically awakened her.”—Will Rogers Judy was tired and worried. appointment. Slayton’s office for a 10:30 a. The graveyard shift is not nearly as busy as the day shift.m. he had complained of a “hurt” in his stomach. which can lead to constructive problem solving rather than destructive.chapter six Stress vs. attempting to comfort him. distress Stressors can contribute to a near hit or an injury. She completed the day in a much better mood. seemingly coming from his lungs. which determine the occurrence of one or the other. but last night Robbie’s cough was deeper. How could they be so sloppy and inconsiderate? Judy was ready to start her inspection and sorting when she noticed the “load cart” was misaligned. “Even if you’re on the right track. and thoughtless. but it can also prevent a constructive analysis of an injury or property damage incident. This chapter explains the benefits and liabilities of such bias and shows its role in shifting stress to distress or vice versa. After all. Judy discarded it. The concept of “attribution” is introduced as a cognitive process we use to turn stressors into positive stress or negative distress. . Judy arrived at her workstation a little later than normal and found it more messy than usual. She inserted a wooden handle in the bracket and pulled hard to jerk the cart in place. However. sloppy. She had just left her six-year-old son at her sister’s house with instructions for her to take him to Dr. This chapter explains the important distinction between stress and distress. stressors can provoke positive stress rather than negative distress. and would be fine in a day or two. She did not clean the work area.

could this have been a contributing factor? It has been estimated that from 75 to 85 percent of all industrial injuries can be partially attributed to inappropriate reactions to stress (Jones. Furthermore. She recommended a redesign of the handle brackets and immediate discipline for the graveyard shift in her work area.90 Psychology of safety handbook At the end of her shift. She wrote that someone on the graveyard shift had left her work area in disarray. in the past other cart handles had been broken. 1984). . Attribution errors. Judy’s near-hit report was also clearly biased by common attribution errors researched by social psychologists and used by all of us at some time to deflect potential criticism and reduce distress.1 Certain environmental conditions and personality states contribute to stress and distress. including a misaligned load tray. represent potential barriers to achieving a Total Safety Culture. Whatever triggers the reaction is called a stressor. stress is a psychological and physiological reaction to events or situations in our environment. The fact that Judy filled out a near-hit report is certainly good news. stressrelated headaches are the leading cause of lost-work time in the United States (Jones. along with stress and distress. So stress is the reac- Figure 6. What is stress? In simple terms. Judy filled out a near-hit report on her morning mishap. She also indicated that the design of the cart handle made damage likely. but was this a complete report? Were there some personal factors within Judy that could have influenced the incident? Was Judy under stress or distress and. 1984). if so.

conflicts. . and these are associated with higher risk for coronary disease (Rhodewalt and Smith. the heart pumps faster. This is the fight-or-flight syndrome.1. . anguish: trouble. a state induced by such a stress .2 An initial reaction to a stressor is fight or flight. 1976). Certain psychological theories presume that some stress is Figure 6. but the first definition of stress in my copy of The American Heritage Dictionary (1992) is “importance. urgency. and breathing increases. page 410) or “suffering of body or mind: pain. . .Chapter six: Stress vs. Certain personality characteristics referred to as “Type A” are more likely to experience the time urgency and competitiveness depicted in Figure 6. Adrenaline rushes into the bloodstream.2). It is unwanted and uncomfortable. neck. Constructive or destructive? We usually talk about stress in negative terms. 1991. overloads. Blood flows quickly from our abdomen to our muscles—causing those “butterflies in our stomach. frustrations. and an increased readiness to perform. and arms (Selye. Let us return to the basics of stress. Such frustration can lead to aggression and a demeanor that only increases our distress. The bad state is distress. . Similarly. Distress is defined as “anxiety or suffering . distress 91 tion of our mind and body to stressors such as demands. legs. and it certainly increases our propensity for personal injury. Psychological research supports these distinctions between stress and distress. When you interpret a situation as being stressful. 1991). . giving us heightened awareness.1 depicts a scene that might seem familiar—perhaps too familiar. misfortune . . . and our stress turns to distress. threats. Stress can be positive. 1974.” We can also feel tense muscles or nervous strain in our back. emphasis” (page 701). a process controlled through our sympathetic nervous system (see Figure 6. or emphasis placed on something” (page 1205). page 224). severe strain resulting from exhaustion or an accident” (The American Heritage Dictionary. or changes. Figure 6. your body prepares to deal with it. The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1989) defines stress as “a factor that induces bodily or mental tension . It is a vicious cycle. significance. 1989. sharpened mental alertness. . So many people with so much to do and not enough time to do it. a condition of desperate need” (The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Then our goals are thwarted.

or whatever is triggered by the stressor—we become aroused and . The person who asserts. the Austrian-born founder of stress research said. Others seem to pay it no mind. It is extreme. 1974). but the best performance comes when arousal is optimum rather than maximum. the result can be constructive or destructive. frustrations.” understands the motivational power of stress. Hans Selye. Some circle their calendars and cannot take their minds off the due date. The eyes of the beholder Perceptions play an important role in stress and distress. conflicts. When a stressor is noticed and causes a reaction. The boss gives a group of employees a deadline. Ask someone who is hysterical and someone who is about to fall asleep to do the same job. If we believe we are in control—that we can deal with the overload. and you will not be pleased by either one’s results. too many deadlines. “Complete freedom from stress is death” (Selye. up to a point. or pressure to perform well. disorganizing stress we need to avoid.3. be destructive? I am sure most of you have been in situations—or predicaments—where the pressure to perform seemed overwhelming. The relationship between external stimulation or pressure to perform and actual performance is depicted in Figure 6. performance will increase as arousal. Watch out for distress. This inverted U-shaped function is known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law (Yerkes and Dodson. This is the point where too much pressure can hurt performance. increases. “I work best under pressure. The Yerkes-Dodson law states that.92 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 6. others take it in stride.3 Arousal from external pressure (or a stressor) improves performance to an optimal point. necessary for people to perform. In fact. some tighten up inside. Push a person too far and his performance starts to deteriorate. but can too much pressure. 1908). where stress becomes distress. at exceptionally high levels of pressure or tension a person might perform as poorly as when he is hardly stimulated at all.

On the other hand. Other stressors include the all-too-frequent minor hassles of everyday life. The result can be at-risk behavior and a serious injury. When the “butterflies” are aligned for goal-directed behavior. These include the amount of arousal already present in the individual and the person’s degree of preparedness or self-confidence. marriage.1) to downsized work conditions and worries about personal finances (Holmes and Masuda. The “butterflies” are misaligned and scattered in different directions. 1974). Some stressors are acute. Identifying stressors Stress or distress can be provoked by a wide range of demands and circumstances. distress is illustrated in Figure 6.4 Our butterflies are aligned for stress and misaligned for distress. failure in school or at work. Stress is experienced as distress. does not feel prepared. Those “butterflies” we feel in our stomach can help or hinder performance.4. birth of a baby. we feel in control of the situation. distress 93 Figure 6.4. depending on personal perception.Chapter six: Stress vs. from long lines and excessive traffic (Figure 6. such as death or injury to a loved one. The difference between arousal leading to stress vs. marital separation or divorce. disrupt performance. This arousal can divert our attention. Such is the case for the runner on the right side of Figure 6. motivated to go beyond the call of duty. though. The runner on the left. the resulting psychological and physiological reactions are likely to be detrimental to our performance and our health and safety. We actually achieve more. and a job promotion or relocation. . The stress is positive—it arouses or motivates performance improvement. and reduce our ability and overall motivation to perform well. when we believe we cannot handle the demands of the stressor. interfere with thinking processes. Why does a manager’s deadline motivate one person and distress another? It depends on a number of internal person factors. sudden life events.

uncontrollable stressors can lead to “burnout. lack of involvement or participation in decision making. Performance appraisals are stressors that can be motivational if perceived as objective and fair. Work stress profile The interest scale reflects one’s personal reaction to the stressors of his or her workplace. The survey addresses three domains of work distress—interpersonal relations. infrequent opportunities for personal choice in work assignments or work processes. burnout puts people at risk for causing injury to themselves or others. especially through more active listening. but what about “work underload”? Being asked to do too little can produce profound feelings of boredom.94 Psychology of safety handbook Prolonged. feelings of helplessness. A job should be perceived as something you get to do. responsibility for others. it is important to understand the critical relationship between the outside world and your inside world—the world of your own perceptions. 2. lack of appropriate job training or recognition processes. headaches. or they can contribute to distress and inferior performance if viewed as subjective and unfair. Remember. the same work demands and interpersonal stressors can result in stress and increased productivity for some employees but lead to distress and burnout for others.” Common symptoms of burnout include 1. or dirty work environment. Interacting more effectively with work associates. noisy. 3. at work. not something you got to do. The second scale of the distress questionnaire estimates the physical demands of work that can wear on an individual day after day. 1998). Some workplace stressors are obvious. You might perceive it as an opportunity rather than a necessity. and insufficient social support from colleagues or team members. and interpersonal stressors like insufficient team support. backaches and general fatigue. Stressors in this category can emanate from communication breakdowns with coworkers or supervisors. smelly. Consider for a moment how much time you spend working. physical demands. Mental or attitudinal exhaustion revealed through irritability. The interpersonal scale measures distress related to personal relationships. This includes environmental stressors such as noise. Emotional exhaustion manifested by loss of appetite. Instructions for scoring your distress profile are included. and insufficient support from coworkers (Maslach. personal stressors such as feeling overworked or ineffective.5. others might not be as evident but are just as powerful. and depression. 1982). or thinking about your work. a crowded. A high score reflects a low level of personal interest. Our jobs or careers are filled with stressors. This may indicate a need to change jobs or perhaps alter the way you view your work situation. and incessant work demands. crowded conditions. When evaluating your score for this scale. Obviously. cynicism. Other work-related factors that can be perceived as stressors and lead to distress and eventual burnout include: role conflict or ambiguity. Work overload can obviously become a stressor and provoke either stress or distress. uncertainty about one’s job responsibilities. or lack thereof. Physical exhaustion resulting in lack of energy. We are at a good point in our discussion for you to complete the questionnaire in Figure 6. interpersonal conflict with other employees. and level of mental interest—and these are totaled for an overall distress score. which can also lead to distress. and involvement for your job. and a negative outlook on life (Baron. can readily turn job distress into . commitment. It was developed by Rice (1992) to identify individuals’ various workplace stressors.

and 5 4 3 2 1 friendliness between me and my superiors. I am not sure what will be expected of me 1 2 3 4 5 in the future. 17. 9. 19. 12. I feel uneasy about going to work. NOTE: Complete the entire questionnaire first. The pace of work is too fast. 1 2 3 4 5 yet I have to take orders from them. I have a sense of individuality in carrying 5 4 3 2 1 out my job duties. 2. 1 2 3 4 5 23.to 26 and enter here." 15. There is obvious sex/race/age discrimination 1 2 3 4 5 in this job. My superiors give me adequate feedback 5 4 3 2 1 about my job performance. I am not sure about what is expected of me. 26. 1 2 3 4 5 22. I cannot seem to satisfy my superiors. 11.5a Various workplace stressors are identified in this survey. 1 2 3 4 5 30. I feel as though I can shape my own 5 4 3 2 1 destiny in this job. I seem to be able to talk with my superiors. My superiors seem to care about me as a 5 4 3 2 1 person. 1 2 3 4 5 4. My job is not very well defined. There seems to be tension between 1 2 3 4 5 management and operators. Then add all the values you circled for questions 1. There is no release time for personal affairs 1 2 3 4 5 or business. My abilities are not appreciated by my 1 2 3 4 5 superiors. 21. I feel that I am over-educated for this job. etc. distress 95 Never Rarely Sometimes Often Most Times 1. 1 2 3 4 5 noisy. Figure 6. 5. 28. There is little prospect of personal or 1 2 3 4 5 professional growth in this job. There is a feeling of trust. In-service training for my job is inadequate. or dreary. 16.Chapter six: Stress vs. 5 4 3 2 1 20. 1 2 3 4 5 3. 5 4 3 2 1 7. 10. Total 1 to 26 _______ 27. respect. 13. I fear that I will be laid off or fired. It appears that my boss has "retired on 1 2 3 4 5 the job. Physical demands of the job are unreasonable (heavy lifting. My superiors strike me as incompetent. 1 2 3 4 5 31. 18. My workload is never-ending. There are too many bosses in my area. 8. 24. Most of my colleagues seem uninterested 1 2 3 4 5 in me as a person. 1 2 3 4 5 6. The level of participation in planning and 5 4 3 2 1 decision making is satisfactory. I feel that my educational background is just 1 2 3 4 5 right for this job. . extraordinary concentration 1 2 3 4 5 required. 1 2 3 4 5 25. The physical work environment is crowed. 29. Support personnel are incompetent 1 2 3 4 5 or inefficient.). My job seems to consist of responding to 1 2 3 4 5 emergencies. 1 2 3 4 5 14.

I feel as though I can shape my own destiny in this job. I leave work feeling burned out. 47. 48. 53.to 26. 5 5 5 1 5 1 5 1 5 4 4 4 2 4 2 4 2 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 4 2 4 2 4 2 1 1 1 5 1 5 1 5 1 NOTE: Now go back and add the values for questions 1. Enter the values where indicated. Total 27 to 48 _______ 49. enter those sums for each of the following groups of questions and add them all to get a cumulative total. Job deadlines are constant and unreasonable. 50. 40. I have responsibility for too many people. I am trapped in this job. 34. I can’t even enjoy my leisure because of the toll my job takes on my energy. 54. Support personnel are incompetent or inefficient. There is no time for relaxation . My job is very exciting. 46. Most of my colleagues seem uninterested in me as a person. In-service training for my job is inadequate. I have to take work home to keep up.96 32. 36. I am not sure what will be expected of me in the future. coffee breaks. The complexity of my job is enough to keep me interested. 45. of lunch breaks on the job. I seem to have lost interest in my work. 42. Then add all the values circled for questions 49 to 57. I would continue to work at my job even if I did not need the money. Total 49 to 57 _______ Last. 33. 55. 51. 35. 37. .to 26 Interpersonal ________ 27 to -48 Physical Conditions _________ 49 to -57 Job Interest ________ 1 to 57 + _______ + + Figure 6. 57.5b Various workplace stressors are identified in this survey. Then add all the values you circled for questions 27. At the end of the day. Support personnel are too few. I would still choose this job. There is little prospect for personal or professional growth in this job. I feel uneasy about going to work.to 48. QUESTIONS: TOTALS: 1.to 48 and enter here. 38. 56. Do the same for questions 27. 41. Job requirements are beyond the range of my ability. I leave work feeling burned out. I am not sure about what is expected of me. If I had it to do all over again. There is little contact with colleagues on the job. My job is varied enough to prevent boredom. 52. 43. 44. I am physically exhausted from work. 39. Psychology of safety handbook 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 NOTE: Complete the entire questionnaire first.

. 30 Figure 6.” Adapted from Rice (1992). the damage is done. The numbers here were obtained from a sample of 275 school psychologists (Rice.6. This evaluation occurs during the secondary appraisal stage (Lazarus and Folkman. It might be more useful to compare your results with others in your work culture. 68….... an event is perceived as a stressor if it involves harm or loss that has already occurred. Surveys like this are only imperfect estimates of your perceptions and feeling states at the time you respond to the questions.151…. as depicted in Figure 6.. 23 …. interpersonal.. For example. 25…. 19….111 …10….. 75 ….123…. threat is how we assess potential future harm from the event. 44 …13….. determines whether the stressor leads to positive stress and constructive behavior or to negative stress and destructive behavior. 62 …. Lazarus (1966. or relative rankings with others.. you are perceiving the stressor as an opportunity to learn and show commitment. On the other hand. Challenge is our appraisal of how well we can eventually profit from the damage done. 1991) refers to this stage of the process as primary appraisal. 40….... Now. productive stress. 70 97 ⇐High Distress⇒ …. 1984)... 27 …. You could view missing the safety meeting as an opportunity to learn from one-onone discussions with coworkers... but do not get discouraged by a high distress score. 17 …91. Your distress state can be changed with strategies we shall soon discuss. you might give up or actively resist participating. Missing the safety meeting could lower your team’s opinion of you and reduce your opportunity to get actively involved in a new safety process.. too seriously.…101….7. This outcome would be nonproductive. 50…. a threat of some future danger. and the result can be positive and constructive.... and possibly destructive. 52….. Actually. According to Lazarus.141 …. 20…. distress ⇐Distress⇒ ⇐Medium Distress⇒ …...117…. More suggestions for decreasing personal distress are offered in the next section of this chapter. In turn.. or a challenge to be overcome. With permission. 21…. I urge you not to take your score. The difference rests with the individual. 62…. 80…. 1992) whose job responsibilities might be very different from yours. 43….134…... 51…. The secondary appraisal stage. This could demonstrate your personal commitment to the safety process and allow you to collect diverse opinions. 55…. 15….. you can compare your results with the values given in Figure 6.. In contrast. if you oversleep and miss an important safety meeting. After obtaining your survey totals for each of the three scales and adding these subtotals for an overall distress score. 54…. 58 …. 46 …35…. Answering the questions and deriving a personal score will surely increase your understanding of both job stress and distress from an environmental. 90 Interpersonal Physical Interest Total Percentile …39….6 Normative data from a sample of 275 school psychologists can be used to compare individual scores from the “Work Distress Profile. 40…. There is much you can do on your own.Chapter six: Stress vs.. coworkers might think you do not care about the new safety process and withdraw their support. the flow schematic in Figure 6. of course. 48…. 18…. 60…. 57…. In this case. First an environmental event is perceived and appraised as a stressor to be concerned about or as a harmless or irrelevant stimulus. and personal perspective. Harm is how we appraise the impact of an event. your appraisal could be downbeat—you see no recourse for missing the safety meeting. for yourself.167 …. Let us review the key points about stress and distress. and so you do nothing about it. 67 ….7 says it all. Does he or she assess the stressful ..

gain support. We need to deal with these head-on. reduce conflict. though. a helpless or pessimistic attitude can prevail and lead to distress and destructive or even at-risk behavior. boredom. Communicating effectively with others to clarify work duties. Several personal. Refusing a request that will overload us. This applies not only to relationships with people but with stressors as well. Understanding the multiple causes of conflict. overload. Believing you can handle the . thus. • Getting reassigned to a task that better fits our present talents and aspirations.7 Through personal appraisal. interpersonal and environmental factors influence whether this secondary appraisal leads to constructive or destructive behavior. Finding time to truly relax and recuperate from tension and fatigue. Coping with stressors Seek first to understand. remain optimistic during attempts to cope with the stressor? As illustrated in Figure 6. situation as controllable and. frustration. or feel more comfortable about added job duties. when people judge their stressors as uncontrollable and unmanageable. and other potential stressors in our lives can sometimes lead to effective coping mechanisms. These include • • • • Revising schedules to avoid hassles like traffic and shopping lines.98 Psychology of safety handbook Environmental Event Primary Appraisal Noticed Accepted Important Unnoticed Denied Harmless No Stressor Stressor Secondary Appraisal In Control Optimistic No Control Pessimistic Positive Stress Motivating Energy Constructive Safe Behavior Negative Distress Exhaustion Burnout Destructive At-Risk Behavior Figure 6.8. people transform stressors into positive stress or negative distress. it is often impossible to avoid sudden (acute) or continual (chronic) stressors in our lives. This is the theme of the next section. says Covey (1989). The fact is.

1988. more likely to gain control of their stressors and experience positive stress rather than distress. threat. 1992). if it’s my time. When I help clients assess the safety climate of their workplaces. 1976. 1986. Scheier and Carver. Person factors Certain personality characteristics make some people more resistant to distress. it’s my time.” This is learned helplessness. It is possible to give people experiences that increase feelings of being “in control”—experiences that lead people to believe something good will come from their attempts to turn stress into constructive action. The concept was labeled more than 20 years ago by research psychologists studying the learning process of dogs (Maier and Seligman.” “There’s not much I can do about reducing work injuries. 1982. when I ask workers what they do regularly to make their workplace safer.8 Lack of perceived control can lead to distress.Chapter six: Stress vs. whatever will be will be. and some managers as well. They are states of mind or expectations derived from personal experience. It is important to realize that these person factors—self-mastery and optimism—are not permanent inborn traits of people.” “It really doesn’t matter much what I do. in fact. that reflects an important psychological concept called “learned helplessness. Individuals who believe they control their own destinies and generally expect the best from life are. I often uncover an attitude among hourly workers. according to research (Bandura.” For instance. I often hear: “Besides following the safety procedures there’s not much I can do for safety around here. . and they can be nurtured. harm. or challenge of stressors is the first step toward experiencing stress rather than distress and acting constructively rather than destructively. distress 99 Figure 6. Learning to feel helpless.

in fact to be helpless.9. that life experiences beyond the workplace can shape an attitude of learned helplessness. then a shock was applied to the grid floor of the chamber. which include stop . the dogs did not jump the hurdle until receiving the shock. 1980). Fit for stressors Fitness is another way to increase our sense of personal control and optimism. however. 1975). but after a few trials the dogs learned to avoid the shock by jumping into the other chamber as soon as the warning signal was presented. It is rather easy to assume that workers develop a “helpless” perspective regarding safety as a result of bad past experiences. Being physically fit increases our body’s ability to cope with the fight-or-flight syndrome discussed earlier. So it is that some people tend to give up in the face of a stressor. If the corporate climate empowers workers to take control and manage safety for themselves and their coworkers. This contrast in personal perception is illustrated humorously in Figure 6. Note how prior failures conditioned experimental subjects ranging from dogs to humans to feel helpless. This happens when employees are empowered to make a difference and perceive they are successful. The point is that our personality. Learned optimism. A tone or light would be activated. and current situation influence whether we feel optimistic and in control or pessimistic and out of control. Besides seeing the glass as half full. Instead. You probably know the basic guidelines for improving fitness. You probably recognize this difference between learned helplessness and learned optimism as the more popular pessimist vs. You probably know people who seem to derive strength or energy from their failures. they develop an antidote for learned helplessness. “How do you see the glass of water?” Is it half full or half empty? We see it differently. and this can carry over to feelings regarding occupational safety and health. optimist distinction. If safety suggestions are ignored. they typically just laid down in the shock chamber and whimpered. This bolsters learned optimism and feelings of being in control. Seligman and associates coined the term “learned helplessness” to describe this state. Seligman. Some dogs experienced shocks regardless of their behavior before the regular shockavoidance learning trials. The earlier bad experience with inescapable shocks had taught the dogs to be helpless. When workers believe through personal experience that their efforts can make a difference in safety. depending on our current state of optimism or pessimism. This has been termed “learned optimism” (Scheier and Carver. 1992. As you have heard it asked before. At first.100 Psychology of safety handbook Seligman. or policies and procedures always come from management. they can legitimately attribute safety success to their own actions. It is also true. 1978. Seligman and Garber. Similarly. Seligman and colleagues found that certain dogs resisted learned helplessness if they previously had success avoiding the electric shock. Certain individuals will come to work with a greater propensity to feel helpless in general. and try even harder to succeed when given another chance. workers might learn to feel helpless about safety. These dogs did not learn to jump the barrier to escape the shock. Their finding has been demonstrated in a variety of human experiments as well (Albert and Geller. A bad experience does not necessarily lead to an attitude of learned helplessness. optimistic people under stress find ways to fill the rest of the glass. What can be done to help those who feel helpless? How can we get them to commit to and participate in the proactive processes of injury prevention? The work climate can play a critical role here. They measured the speed at which dogs learned to jump a low barrier separating two chambers in order to avoid receiving an electric shock through the grid floor. while others fight back. past experience. 1991).

10 illustrates the type of behavior that has come with the computer revolution. in turn. Low physical activity has become the way of work life for many of us. 1991. and obtain enough sleep (usually 7 or 8 hours per 24-hour period for most people). 1983). Often this inactivity spills over into home life. But personal control is truly in the eyes of the beholder. Also portrayed in Figure 6. Figure 6. considered to be the largest preventable cause of illness and premature death (before age 65) in the United States. 1983.10 also depicts smoking behavior. and coworkers can do wonders at helping us reduce distress in our lives (Coyne and Downey. Why? Because at home he holds the remote control and therefore perceives more personal control. the individual is seemingly much happier at home. Janis.000 deaths each year (American Cancer Society. distress 101 Figure 6. Survey research has shown that only one in five Americans exercises regularly and intensely enough to reduce the risk of stressor-induced heart disease (Dubbert. Figure 6. Although the behavior is essentially the same at work (10 to 5) and at home (5 to 10). do not skip breakfast. Social support can motivate us to do what it takes to stay physically fit and the people around . 1992).Chapter six: Stress vs. we can often perceive and accept more personal control at work and this can turn negative distress into positive stress. Some of us find that following these guidelines over the long haul is easier said than done. and sugar. We need support and encouragement to break a smoking or drinking habit or to maintain a regular exercise routine. at least 3 times a week for about 30 minutes per session. Lieberman.11 depicts legitimate perceptions of control from the subjects of an experiment. Social factors A support system of friends. Figure 6. family. affects perception.10 is the positive influence of perceived control. and accounting for approximately 125. 1989). exercise regularly.9 Perception affects expectation which affects behavior which. reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. salt. smoking. These rodents are not usually considered “in control” of the situation but in many ways they are. By simply changing our perspective. eat balanced meals with decreased fat.

which you might need if your own stressors get too overwhelming to handle yourself. It works both ways. It is up to us to make the most of the people around us. and distress. In the aftermath of an injury or near hit. We can learn from those who take effective control of stressful situations and expect the best or we can listen to the complaining. The good feelings of personal control and optimism you experience from reaching out to help others can do wonders in helping you cope with your own stressors. this actively caring stance builds your own support system. backstabbing. Attributional bias Think back to the anecdote at the start of this chapter.102 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 6. We can also set the right example and be the kind of social support to others that we want for ourselves. This phenomenon of attributional bias can also create communication barriers between people and limit the co-operative participation needed to achieve a Total Safety Culture. it can distort reports and incident analyses. they can also turn a stimulating job into something dull and tedious. Of course. It is a phenomenon that has particular implications for safety. frustration. People can motivate us or trigger conflict. hostility. a win–lose perspective. This results in inappropriate or lessthan-optimal suggestions for corrective action. and cynicism of others and fuel our own potential for distress. Specifically. Judy did not report the potential influence of her own . The next section of this chapter introduces another means of reducing distress. It is obviously important to interact with those who can help us build resistance against distress and help us feel better about potential stressors. us can make a boring task bearable and even satisfying.10 Becoming a “mouse potato” by day and a “couch potato” by night can reduce one’s physical ability to cope with stressors. I suggested that Judy’s near-hit report was incomplete or biased.

and work demands.11 Even the most obvious top-down situation allows for perceptions of bottomup control. such as personality. environmental factors. intelligence. we can focus injury analysis on finding facts—not faults. She did not have to deal with any guilt for almost hurting herself and damaging property. Psychologists refer to this as an attributional bias. Rather. we struggle to explain the actions of others. warm climate. Social psychologists have discovered a fundamental attribution error when systematically studying how people explain the behavior of others (Ross. person factors. Ross et al. we point to external. 1977. 1977). or to internal. Her denial eased her distress but biased the near-hit report. distress on the incident. This is a paradigm shift needed to achieve a Total Safety Culture. By understanding when and how this phenomenon occurs. excessive traffic. distress 103 Figure 6. she focused on factors outside her immediate control—the poor bracket design for the wooden handle and the messy work area left by others. The fundamental attribution error Every day. Why did she say that to me? Why did the job applicant refuse to answer that question? Why did Joe leave his work station in such a mess? Why did the secretary hang up on me? Why did Gayle take sick leave? Why does she allow her young children to ride in the bed of her pick-up truck? Why did the motorist pull a gun out of his glove compartment to shoot someone in the next car? Why were Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman murdered so brutally? In trying to answer questions like these. such as equipment malfunctioning. attitude. Giving up personal responsibility eliminated the incident as a stressor for her. When ..Chapter six: Stress vs. or frustration.

and unfair grading. I see myself in many different situations and realize just how much my behavior changes depending on where I am. 1984. It is different when we evaluate ourselves. • My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.104 Psychology of safety handbook evaluating others. As I reached an intersection. I did not see the other car. She protected her self-esteem by overestimating external causes and underplaying internal factors. The injured employee was careless rather than distracted by a sudden environmental noise. Joe was sloppy or inconsiderate rather than overwhelmed by production demands. Figure 6. and prepared.12. • I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. Excerpted from the Toronto Sun (1977). we tend to overestimate the influence of internal factors and underestimate external factors. like tricky questions. The external and situational excuses given in Figure 6. How does this bias affect incident or injury analysis? Think of Judy’s near-hit experience.12 were taken from actual insurance forms submitted by the drivers. In many social settings I am downright shy and reserved. • As I approached the intersection. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end. and vanished. The self-serving bias Students who flunk my university exams are quick to blame external factors. • A pedestrian hit me and went under my car. • The telephone pole was approaching fast. The individuals performing the behaviors in the previous paragraph would say the causes were owing more to external than internal factors. a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before. but I know better. illustrates another type of attributional distortion. wrong reading material assigned. which I bet most readers can relate to. In contrast. and they attribute my performance to internal personality traits. obscuring my vision. Here is an example. We are more apt to judge the job applicant as rude or unaware (internal factors) than caught off guard by a confusing or unclear question (external factor). I am very sensitive to external influences. so I ran over him. referred to as the self-serving bias (Harvey and Weary. That is how we see things when we are judging others. . When I lecture in large classes of 600 to 800 students I am animated and enthused. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him. rather the student is intelligent. With permission. • The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go. a hedge sprang up. Miller and Ross. struck my vehicle. This real-world example. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident. students who do well are quite willing to give themselves most of the credit. creative. 1975). It was not that I taught them well or that the exam questions were straightforward and fair. motivated. • The guy was all over the road. • An invisible car came out of nowhere. This aspect of the self-serving bias is illustrated by the list of explanations for vehicle crashes given in Figure 6. • The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.12 People are reluctant to admit personal blame for their vehicle crashes. My university students are quick to judge me as being an extrovert—outgoing and sociable.

and unintentional injury to oneself or others. perhaps supported with rewards for not having an injury. in control. at-risk behavior. and careless”). resulting in safe behavior. . we need to develop personal and interpersonal strategies to prevent distress in ourselves and others.” such as the plant’s total recordable injury rate. We should empathize with the self-serving bias of the victim because it will reduce the person’s distress. When stressors are perceived as insurmountable and unavoidable. By accentuating outside causes. where we overestimate personal factors to explain others’ behavior (“Judy broke the handle because she was tired. Now. this condition can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. or destructive. No one wants to feel responsible for a workplace injury. the term “investigation. distress is likely. distress 105 People will obviously go to great lengths to shake blame for unintentional property damage or injury. In addition. When people are physically fit. situational causes—should be supported by the work culture. Outsiders tend to blame the victim. We need to become aware of the potential stressors in our lives and in the lives of our coworkers. injuries. and personnel. can have a dramatic impact on whether victims of near hits. in fact. these are more readily corrected. negative stress or distress is likely. It will shift attention to external factors that can be controlled more easily than internal factors related to a person’s attitude. This reduces the victim’s distress and puts the focus on the observable factors. I explained the difference between stress and distress and discussed some strategies for reducing distress or turning negative distress into positive stress. This reduces negative stress or distress. including policies. especially if the company puts heavy emphasis on reducing “the numbers. The work culture. and able to rely on the social support of others. mood.” encourages the self-serving bias. Without adequate support from others.Chapter six: Stress vs. Stress and distress begin with a stressor which can be a major life event or a minor irritation of everyday living. can motivate people to cover up near hits and injuries whenever possible. If their secondary appraisal clarifies the incident as an uncontrollable failure. victims look to extenuating circumstances. and implement an action plan to prevent a recurrence. including behavior. Victims of a near hit or injury will likely feel stressed during their primary appraisal. victims remind us that behavior is. causing at-risk behavior. but they could interpret it as an opportunity to collect facts. compared to internal factors. most readily defined and influenced. or other adversities experience stress or distress.” as I discussed in Chapter 3. The fundamental attribution error. This is positive stress. It is important for us to acknowledge how perceptions can be biased. A victim’s natural tendency to reveal a self-serving bias when discussing an incident— by putting more emphasis on external.” as in “criminal investigation. There is good news here. stressed out. You can see how a focus on outcome statistics. learn. paradigms. the victim is experiencing positive stress and constructive behavior is likely. Actually. optimistic. You can evaluate or appraise the stressor in a way that is constructive. I detail processes for doing that in Section 3. they are most likely to turn a stressor into energy for achieving success. It also motivates a self-serving bias during injury investigations. A better term is “incident analysis. influenced by many external factors and. In conclusion In this chapter. can provoke distress and pinpoint the very aspects of an incident most difficult to define and control. or state of mind.

J. T. The role of social support in adherence to stressful decisions. Harvey. Current issues in Type A behavior. J. Life change and illness susceptibility.. 1974.. M. T. R. Rev. D. Neurol. P. F. 401. Pergamon Press.. in Handbook of Stress Management. E. M. 3.. Amabile... and Garber. 16. Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: theoretical overview and empirical update. Simon & Schuster. H. B.. L. Stress Appraisal and Coping. D. Exp. F. 1989. and Dohrenwend. Maier. 143. Am. Eds. S.. P. Coyne.. N.. New York. Ann. S.. McGraw-Hill. New York. and Steinmetz. Englewood Cliffs. Psychol. M. Merriam-Webster. Houghton Mifflin. Rice. and Downey. Ontario.. 1984. Scheier. Baron.. J. social support. 105. Psychological Stress and the Coping Process. Human Helplessness: Theory and Application. Exercise in behavioral medicine. 1975. Selye. C. Academic Press. and Geller. New York. 1992. 1988. 485. The American Heritage Dictionary. R. coronary proneness. and Forsyth.. F.... 1977. L. New York. 1984. Gen. and Bresnitz. Lazarus. T. The effects of social support on response to stress. 1966. M. S. 1980. J.. Atlanta.. Clin. 42. Consult. M. Comp. 427.. D. A. New York. Self-serving biases in the attribution of causality: fact or fiction?. in Dohrenwend.. Psychol.. Stress without Distress. Seligman. P. Psychol. Psychology. Am. Cost evaluation for stress management. Lieberman. L.. 1992. and Dodson. Cognit. C. P. P. S. E. and Smith. Freeman. M. Berkowitz.. G. 1991. Canada. 82. Allyn & Bacon. G. S. MA. Covey. I. 34. 1989. 38.. B.. J. Stress and Health. Psychol. C.. A. Selye. Holmes. New York. Ther. 1983.. P. Englewood Cliffs.. and Ross.. D. Lazarus. 10. M. New York. NJ. Psychol. The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit formation. San Francisco. 1991. Eds. Personal. Janis. Perspectives on Personality. 2nd ed. and coping processes. M. 613. S. New York. Springer. M. Knopf. 2nd ed. P. 1998. New York. McGraw-Hill.. Springfield. and Folkman.. social control. J. Psychol. H. 1976. EAP Dig. 389.. Ross. Boston. Alfred A. Free Press. M. M. Wiley. 1975.. and Carver. Stressful Life Events: Their Nature and Effects. A. New York. and Weary. T. Psychol. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. D. Perceived control as a mediator of learned helplessness. Lazarus. 2nd College ed. E... 1974.. W. Jones. 4th ed. 1986.. R. New York. Res. S. Helplessness: On Depression Development and Death. F.... Dubbert. CA. Reports from insurance/accident forms. Current issues in attribution theory. Miller. and Carver. 1983. Philadelphia.. Cancer Facts and Figures —1989. Brooks/Cole Publishing.. R. Snyder. 1989. Scheier. Bull. Toronto. Eds. Psychol.. S. L. Goldberg. Bandura.. 1982. 1977... The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: distortions in the attribution process. 1978.. R. J. L. and Seligman. Emotion and Adaptation. PA. Psychol.. Ross. 1982. Academic Press.106 Psychology of safety handbook References Albert. A. 35. Oxford University Press. Psychol. G. American Cancer Society. Rhodewalt. R. Prentice-Hall. Lippincott. and biases in socialperception processes. in Handbook of Social and Clinical Psychology.. 1977. 1992. 459. 60. S. Learned helplessness: theory and evidence. and Masuda. Am. Allyn & Bacon. The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Burnout: The Cost of Caring. W. J. S. Seligman. J. Pacific Grove... M. Yerkes. . L. 18. The Stress of Life. Maslach. 122. NJ. 35. Eds. Vol. 1991. 201. Soc. 1976. CA. 37. 1991. Bandura. Social roles.. 1908. Rev. Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. Social factors and psychopathology: stress. Learned Optimism. R. Prentice-Hall. Ed. in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 91. and coronary heart disease. Ann. E. J. July 26. C. MA. R.. 1991.. 1984. Boston. GA. H. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. Seligman. Toronto Sun. J. M. E. New York. C. 213.. H.

section three Behavior-based psychology .


we need to integrate behavior-based and person-based psychology and effect large-scale culture changes. In other words. “One can picture a good life by analyzing one’s feelings. Behavior was the first dimension discussed. imagery. especially in organizations and community settings (Glenwick and Jason. and cognitions—the thinking person side of the Safety Triad (Geller et al. This chapter describes the primary characteristics of the behavior-based approach to the prevention and treatment of human problems and shows their special relevance to occupational safety. in our case. sensations. . The BASIC ID acronym was introduced in Chapter 4 to express the complexity of human dynamics and the special challenges involved in preventing injuries. F. I justified a behavior-based approach to industrial health and safety by citing the research review article by Guastello (1993) that evaluated a variety of procedures. 1987). The key is to begin with a complete and accurate map. imagery. The five chapters in Section 3 explain principles and procedures founded on behavioral research which can be applied successfully to change behaviors and attitudes throughout organizations and communities. certain person factors change. In Section 2. That is what is meant by the phrase.” When we change our behaviors. Attitudes.chapter seven Basic principles To achieve a Total Safety Culture. The three basic ways we learn are reviewed and related to the development of safe vs. A particular route may be irrelevant or need to be modified substantially for a given work culture. we need to understand and pay attention to each. 1980. such as adopting a new strategy or paradigm. sensations. and cognitions can alter behaviors. and behavior factors. “Acting people into changing their thinking. our overall map or guiding principle is represented by the Safety Triad (Figure 2. but one can achieve it only by arranging environmental contingencies. 1989)— are each influenced by behavior. perceptions. at-risk behaviors and attitudes. 1993. In Chapter 1. Goldstein and Krasner. including cognitions. If you recall. Greene et al. considerable research has shown that it is easier and more cost effective to “act people into changing their thinking” than the reverse. it is most important to start with an understanding of the basic principles. However. Its reference points are the three primary determinants of safety performance—environment. person. Changes in attitudes.3).. The reverse is also true.”—B. and it is implicated directly or indirectly in each of the other dimensions. To achieve a Total Safety Culture. a Total Safety Culture. and attributions. I addressed a number of person-based factors that can contribute to injuries. 1987. too. Skinner Specific safety techniques can be viewed as possible routes to reach a destination..

• Improve sanitation during food preparation (Geller et al. 1991). are currently supporting the undesirable behaviors or inhibiting desirable behaviors? 3. 1991. Actually. sexual dysfunction. 1997. let us examine the fundamental characteristics of the behaviorbased approach. depression. 1993). Over the past 30 years. Geller and Lehman.. Geller et al. behavior change is both the outcome and the means. 1981. 1992c) and universities (Geller. 1987). What environmental or social conditions can be changed to decrease undesirable behaviors and increase desirable behaviors? Thus. I have personally witnessed the large-scale effectiveness of this approach to • Treat agoraphobia (Brehony and Geller. 1982). and child or spouse abuse) or preventing any number of health. • Prevent community crime (Geller et al. • Manage maximum security prisons efficiently and safely (Geller et al. 1980). 1982). in press). . 1980). or environmental ills (from developing healthy and safe lifestyles to improving education and protecting the environment).110 Psychology of safety handbook The two with the greatest impact on injury reduction. pain. 1993. • Reduce alcohol abuse and the risk of alcohol-impaired driving (Geller. Schnelle et al. 1987. 1988. social. 1981). 1992a. use principles and procedures from behavioral psychology. Treatment or prevention is based on three basic questions. 1983.. 1992a. It is the desired outcome of treatment or prevention. 1980b) and increase community recycling (Geller. • Improve the effectiveness of child dental care (Kramer and Geller. Williams and Geller. 1987). • Increase the use of vehicle safety belts in community and industrial settings (Geller. 1990. • Increase the use of personal protective equipment (Streff et al. Guastello’s review supports the power of behavior-based problem solving. 1981) • Improve the teaching/learning potential in elementary schools (Geller.. 1987).b. 1972. and the means to solving the identified problem. • Increase the immunization of children in Nigeria (Lehman and Geller. 1988. 2000). What behaviors need to be increased or decreased to treat or prevent the problem? 2. • Increase interpersonal recognition at an industrial site (Roberts and Geller. behavior-based and ergonomics. Given these testimonials.. 1980a. including interpersonal relationships. hypertension. 2000). Geller and Easley. 1995) and throughout a university campus (Boyce and Geller. • Increase safe driving practices among pizza deliverers (Ludwig and Geller... • Improve the impact of a community mental health center (Johnson and Geller. • Reduce excessive use of transportation energy (Reichel and Geller. Mayer and Geller. anxiety. • Control litter (Geller. Geller et al. overt behavior is the focus. 1986). 1984. What environmental conditions.. • Improve pedestrian safety throughout a university campus (Boyce and Geller. • Protect the environment (Geller. Primacy of behavior Whether treating clinical problems (such as drug abuse. 1. 1977). 2000).

1 Behavior-based safety can decrease at-risk behavior in order to avoid failure. from a near hit to a fatality. The behavior-based approach to reducing injuries is depicted in Figure 7. 1984. 1980). but their motivation might be lacking or misdirected. The execution factors represent the motivational aspect of the problem. behavior change techniques are applied to specific targets. various behavior-based research studies have verified this aspect of Heinrich’s Law by systematically evaluating the impact of interventions designed to lower employees’ at-risk behaviors. Feedback from behavioral observations was a common ingredient in most of the successful intervention processes. Komaki et al.. Education and engineering interventions are sometimes needed to satisfy the physical and knowledge factors of Figure 7. or individual research articles by Chhokar and Wallin. . 1980. people usually know what at-risk behaviors to avoid and have the ability to do so. In other words. FAILURES Recordable Injury First Aid Case Near Hit Property Damage CAUSE At-Risk Behavior Behavior Change Process CONTROL Behavior Change Techniques Physical Factors Knowledge Factors Execution Factors Attitudes Values Figure 7. whether the feedback was delivered verbally. According to Heinrich’s Law.Chapter seven: Basic principles 111 Reducing at-risk behaviors Heinrich’s well-known Law of Safety implicates at-risk behavior as a root cause of most near hits and injuries (Heinrich et al. there are numerous risky acts for every near hit. Fatality Lost Workday Top 5 are Indices of Failure Leading to Reactive Action. 1980. and Sulzer-Azaroff and De Santamaria. 1989.. the comprehensive review by Petersen. and usually require the most attention. Geller et al. of course.. This is fortunate news. and many more near hits than lost-time injuries. At-risk behaviors are presumed to be a major cause of a series of progressively more serious incidents. Behavior change techniques are used to align individual and group motivation with avoiding the undesired at-risk behavior.1.1. graphically by tables and charts. but let us not forget that timing or luck is usually the only difference between a near hit and a serious injury. Over the past 20 years. for example. See. or through corrective action. Typically. 1980. It is necessary. that participants know why targeted behaviors are undesirable and have the physical ability to avoid them.

It is indeed important that observations offer positive as well as negative reinforcement. A complete behaviorbased process should target both what is right and wrong about a particular work routine.3 illustrates a positive and proactive behavior-based model. Why? Interviews I have conducted with employees illustrate some important reminders for rolling out a behavior-based process.112 Psychology of safety handbook Values and attitudes form the foundation of the pyramid in Figure 7. employees feel more positive about the process and are more willing to participate. In some cases. injuries will be prevented. Du Pont STOP. People have a more positive attitude when working to achieve rather than trying to avoid failure. It is usually better to focus on increasing safe behaviors. and the like—that require a fix. as depicted in Figure 7. Remember in Chapter 3 we discussed the need to shift our orientation regarding safety from failure thinking to an achievement mind-set. Behavior helps to make the process work and. Remember our discussion about risk compensation in Chapter 5.1 is failure oriented.1. employees felt like the program was not theirs. . The most convenient way to control behavior is to pass a law and enforce it. I do not recommend this instead of the corrective action approach depicted in Figure 7. By emphasizing safe behaviors.1. This is being proactive. and Wilde’s warning that it is more important to reduce risk tolerance than increase compliance with specific safety rules (Wilde. they expect to write citations. I also talked to employees who did not understand the rationale or underlying principles behind the program. This explains why employees might criticize and resist an intervention process that targets only failures. in other plants I have noted substantial resistance. this perspective can promote negative attitudes about the whole process. Behavior observation programs cannot succeed if they are viewed as “gotcha” or “rat-on-your-buddy” campaigns.2. The behavior-based approach illustrated in Figure 7. Employees are given STOP cards to record the occurrence of at least one at-risk behavior or work condition each workday. The outcome measures are failures—fatalities. when safe behaviors are substituted for at-risk behaviors. I have seen Du Pont STOP work well in some plants. It should be noted that Du Pont has released an “Advanced STOP for Safety Auditing” program that the company says encourages the recording of safe work practices as well as unsafe acts. The reactive and punitive approach is typical for government agencies. but. They look for mistakes or failures. compiled. Employees will refuse to record the at-risk behaviors of their peers or focus only on environmental conditions. Sometimes the data are transferred to a display chart or graph for feedback. It is also more reactive than proactive. lost workdays. again. When agents of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) visit a site for inspection. At the end of the day the STOP cards are collected. These obviously critical person factors need to support the safety process. this is the standard government approach to safety improvement. In fact. Increasing safe behaviors Figure 7. 1994)? This happens when people believe in the safety process and help to make it work. along with their corrective action. that it was forced on them by top management. One popular behavior-based safety intervention is Du Pont’s STOP (for Safety Training and Observation Program). thereby hoping to improve behavior through negative reinforcement. more employees will participate with a positive attitude and remain committed over time if there is more recognition of achievements than correction of failures. Unfortunately. and recorded in a data log. There was also concern about its negativity. it will lead to supportive attitudes and values to keep the process going. if involvement is voluntary and appropriately rewarded.

Chapter seven: Basic principles 113 Figure 7. Injury Prevention Involvement Peer Support The Top 5 are Indices of Success from a Proactive Approach. Except for near hits and first-aid cases. the failures in Figure 7. the failure outcomes in Figure 7. Monitoring achievement. ACHIEVEMENTS Records of Safe Behavior Corrective Action Near Hit Reporting Safety Share CAUSE Safe Behavior Behavior Change Process CONTROL Physical Factors Behavior Change Techniques Knowledge Factors Execution Factors Attitudes Values Figure 7.1.3 are generally more difficult to record and track than those in Figure 7. Actually.1 have traditionally resulted in systematic investigation and formal reports.1 are observed and recorded quite naturally.3 Behavior-based safety can increase safe behavior in order to achieve success.2 A reactive and punitive approach to safety promotes avoiding failure rather than achieving success.3 are somewhat difficult to define . The indices of achievement in Figure 7. the achievements in Figure 7. In contrast.

This is done by “relevant” observers such as parents. and attitudes regarding the targeted problem and relevant environmental factors. for example. and a lower score on this survey would suggest improvement. the leader asks participants to report something they have done for safety during the past week or since the last meeting. Baseline information collected in this stage is used to set intervention goals and design ways to achieve them. The “safety share” noted in Figure 7. Throughout Section 3. supervisors. such as at home. behavior-based process. and incidents of corrective action can be counted in a number of situations. safety is given special status and integrated into the overall business agenda. 1938). it is impossible to obtain an objective record of the number of injuries prevented. It is also possible to use surveys periodically and estimate successes from employee reactions to certain questions.114 Psychology of safety handbook and record. and cognitive approaches to therapy. You can chart the number of safety work orders turned in and completed. spouses. even though the behavior-based focus is one of the “youngest kids on the block. in part because of the research rigor of experimental behavior analysis (Skinner. Today. In Section 4. an attempt to avoid failure. As a measurement tool. after you achieve a consistent decrease in injuries as a result of a proactive. suggestions for monitoring achievements are offered as I explain particular intervention strategies for teaching and motivating safe behavior. Increases in these measures indicate safety success. A reasonable estimate of injuries prevented can be calculated. It is possible to derive direct and objective definitions of the other success indices in Figure 7. First.3 and to use these to estimate overall achievement. I show you how to measure an individual’s propensity to “actively care” or go beyond the call of duty for another person’s safety. At the start of group meetings. can be defined by recording participation in voluntary programs. Direct assessment and evaluation The roots of behavior-based interventions are in clinical psychology. this approach is the leading strategy for program evaluation. perceptions. and also because the focus is on behavior rather than the internal subjective concepts of the psychoanalytic. Safety share. teachers.3 is a simple behavior-focused process that reflects my emphasis on achievement. quality. or work. Typically. Often questionnaires are given to both those being observed and those doing the observing to obtain opinions. school.” Baseline measures. There is more solid research support for the validity of behavior-based approaches to solve diverse human problems than for all the other approaches combined. and many go out of their way to have an impressive safety story to share. because the focus on outward behavior allows for an empirical assessment of therapeutic outcome. for example. Because the “safety share” is used to open all kinds of meetings. humanistic. the impact of an intervention is evaluated in three stages. the behavior to be influenced is systematically assessed through direct observation in naturalistic settings. and the number of safety improvements occurring as a result of nearhit reports. A distress survey was presented in Chapter 6. the number of safety audits conducted and safety suggestions given. though. This simple awareness booster—“What have you done for safety?”—helps teach an important lesson. and profits. . My experience is that people come to expect queries about their safety accomplishments. Employees learn that safety is not only loss control. Involvement. it is possible to count and monitor the number of safety shares offered per meeting as an estimate of proactive safety success in the work culture. but can be discussed in the same terms of achievement as productivity. or coworkers. In fact.

basic ways to develop behavioral patterns have been researched. After all. peers—how to implement the process. Therapists had been spending most of their days in the office applying psychotherapies to clients. Target behaviors are observed systematically in the field. These factors also support or hinder behaviors once they are learned. In a clinical sense. we learn from observing and experiencing events and behaviors in our environment (Bandura. after the client is presumed “cured” and the intervention program is withdrawn. including the environment and the people in it. it is generally believed there are three basic models: classical conditioning. teachers. 1986). This means the therapist needs to work with clients and potential support personnel where the problem exists. throughout the intervention process. If feedback data indicate the intervention process is not working as expected. We do not understand exactly how the particulars work—diverse factors interacting to influence behaviors for each individual. While the effects of learning are widespread and varied. However. . and it is possible to identify principles behind learning and maintaining human behavior. behavioral improvement requires changes in those settings. appropriate adjustments are made. The feedback needs to be a frequent and objective assessment of the target behavior and the circumstances where it occurs too frequently or not enough. In other words. sometimes by those responsible for the behavior. prison guards. and biological factors interact to influence our readiness to learn behaviors. Follow-up measures. This is how the longterm effectiveness of an intervention is assessed. and observational learning. Because behaviors are triggered by certain environmental circumstances. operant conditioning. social. resulting from direct and indirect experience. Sometimes entirely different behavior-change techniques will be substituted. So clinical psychologists using behavioral techniques spend significant time in the field customizing site-specific plans and teaching others how to execute and evaluate a behavior-change process. follow-up measurement occurs.Chapter seven: Basic principles 115 Monitoring during intervention. Psychologists define learning as a change in behavior. The most cost-effective way to implement on-site intervention is to teach the natural managers of the setting—parents. The targeted behavior is carefully monitored. Intermittent follow-up evaluations check for evidence of this support and indicate whether additional intervention is needed. Desired change often occurs as a result of feedback. Diverse cultural. environmental. the client’s problem is likely to resurface. Designing and refining an intervention process requires profound understanding of the problem’s context. Observing progress in changing a behavior is a powerful reward for all parties involved—those whose behavior is being changed and those helping facilitate the change. Such a reward motivates continuous efforts from all involved. Intervention by managers and peers The remarkable success of the behavior-based approach to solve people’s problems changed dramatically the role of the clinical psychologist. supervisors. and individuals are interviewed close to the problem. Learning from experience A key assumption of behavior-based theory is that behavior (desirable and undesirable) is learned and can be changed by providing people with new learning experiences. or potential to behave in a certain way. these people deal with the target behavior on an ongoing basis. Without an appropriate support system in the environmental settings where the problem behavior occurred or where a desirable behavior should occur more often.

unconditioned stimulus (UCS). rather his research focused on the process of digestion in dogs. The UCS elicits a UCR automatically. as in an autonomic reflex. Through experiencing the relationship between certain stimuli and food. before learning occurs.4 depicts the sequence of stimulus–response events occurring in classical conditioning. the sequence includes only three events—conditioned stimulus (CS). it is likely we learn simultaneously from different models as they overlap to influence what we do and how we do it. he serendipitously found that his subjects began to salivate before actually tasting the food.116 Psychology of safety handbook Laboratory methods have been developed to systematically study each type of learning. the food (UCS) elicited a salivation reflex (UCR) in Pavlov’s dogs. Classical conditioning This form of learning became the subject of careful study in the early 20th century with the seminal research of Pavlov (1849–1936). Some dogs even salivated when seeing the empty food pan or the person who brought in the food. The stimulus–response relationships in classical and operant conditioning . a Nobel Prize-winning physiologist from Russia. Although it is possible to find pure forms of each in real-world situations. and unconditioned response (UCR). That is. Pavlov recognized this as an important phenomena and shifted the focus of his research to address it.4 overlap. a puff of air to your eye Figure 7. He was interested in how reflex responses were influenced by stimulating a dog’s digestive system with food. During his experimentation. Actually. Pavlov (1927) did not set out to study learning. The top half of Figure 7. They appeared to anticipate the food stimulation by salivating when they saw the food or heard the researchers preparing it. the smell of popcorn (UCS) might make your mouth water (UCR). In the same way. the dogs learned when to anticipate food.

Operant conditioning As shown in the lower portion of Figure 7. the hungry rat in the Skinner Box presses the lever to receive food and the vehicle driver pushes the brake pedal to slow down the vehicle. Other times. we perform a particular act to avoid an unpleasant consequence—a punisher. as in classical conditioning. If a particular stimulus (CS) consistently precedes the UCS on a number of occasions. the Harvard professor who pioneered the behavior-based approach to solving societal problems. certain. Skinner termed the learned behaviors in this situation operants because they were not involuntary and reflexive. writing. and this relationship explains our motivation for doing most everything we choose to do. In other words. if you felt nauseous after seeing and smelling the alcoholic beverage that previously accompanied the ingestion of Antabuse.Chapter seven: Basic principles 117 (UCS) would result in an automatic eyeblink (UCR). and recreating—to receive the immediate consequences they provide us. walking. studied this type of learning by systematically observing the behaviors of rats and pigeons in an experimental chamber referred to as a “Skinner Box” (much to Skinner’s dismay). B. Of course. What is the UCS (unconditioned stimulus) in this example? . such as a reward. Sometimes. Might the dog in Figure 7. you have learned (perhaps indirectly from watching or listening to others or from prior direct experience) to emit certain behaviors when you see a police car with a flashing blue light in your rearview mirror. but instead they operated on the environment to obtain a certain consequence. The relationship between a response and its consequence is a contingency.5 salivate when hearing the can opener? If the sound of the can opener elicits a salivation reflex in the dog. F. Selection by consequences. or anger). nervousness. The ABC (activator–behavior–consequence) contingency is illustrated in Figure 7. The dog will move if he expects to receive food after hearing the sound of the can opener. the can-opener sound is a CS (conditioned stimulus) and the salivation is the CR (conditioned response). This is operant conditioning. A key principle demonstrated in the operant learning studies is that voluntary behavior is strengthened (increased) or weakened (decreased) by consequences (events immediately following behaviors). and if you got nervous and upset after seeing a flashing blue light in your vehicle’s rearview mirror. and this will enable another behavior (like pulling over for an anticipated encounter with the police officer). if you blinked your eye following the illumination of a dim light that consistently preceded the air puff.4. the flashing blue light on the police car might influence you to press your brake pedal and pull over. working. Classical conditioning would also occur if your mouth watered when you heard the bell from the microwave oven tell you the popcorn was ready. reading. talking. and a state trooper writing you a speeding ticket is likely to influence an emotional reaction (like distress. we have an example of classical conditioning. In this case. Thus. we all select various responses to perform daily—like eating. we emit the behavior to achieve a pleasant consequence. you have also learned that certain driving behaviors (like pressing the brake pedal) will give a desired consequence (like slowing down the vehicle). Indeed. and significant. but is a voluntary behavior you would perform in order to do what you consider appropriate at the time. In other words. the reflex (or involuntary response) will become elicited by the CS. the direction provided by an activator is likely to be followed when it is backed by a consequence that is soon. and we usually stop performing behaviors that are followed by punishers.5. ingesting certain drugs (like Antabuse) would elicit a nausea reaction. Skinner (1904–1990). This is classical conditioning and occurred when Pavlov’s “slobbering dogs” salivated when they heard the bell that preceded food delivery. This is not an automatic reflex action.

when a police officer flashes a blue light to signal you to pull over? When the instructor asks to see you after class? When you enter the emergency area of a hospital? When the dental assistant motions that “you’re next”? When your boss leaves you a phone message to “see him immediately”? When you see your family at the airport after returning home from a long trip? Your reactions to these situations depend. we undoubtedly learn more from observing and listening to others than from first-hand .118 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 7. How do you feel. As I discussed earlier in Chapter 3. we feel better when working for pleasant consequences than when working to avoid or escape unpleasant consequences. doctors. through the association of certain cues with the consequences we experience in the situation. However. of course. Police officers. We learn to like or dislike the environmental context and/or the people involved as a result of the type of ABC contingency influencing ongoing behavior. Emotional reactions. teachers. on your past experiences. In fact. This is how attitude can be negatively affected by enforcement techniques. This can be explained by considering the classical conditioned emotions that naturally accompany the agents of reward vs. which elicits the UCR (unconditioned response) of salivating without any learning experience. Right on. and supervisors do not typically elicit negative emotional reactions in young children. dentists. the food which previously followed the sound of the electric can opener is the UCS.5 Activators direct behavior change when backed by a consequence. While we operate on the environment to achieve a positive consequence or avoid a negative consequence.5 is that operant and classical conditioning often occur simultaneously. for example. and you do not have to experience these relationships directly. So. punishment. This UCS –UCR reflex is natural or ”wired in” the organism. an important point illustrated in Figure 7. a negative emotional response or attitude can develop. emotional reactions are often classically conditioned to specific stimulus events in the situation.

we learned numerous behavioral patterns by watching our parents. . his daughter called after him with one more request. For some. but we can make a difference. In this way they learn what is expected of them in various situations. . As illustrated in Figure 7. At the same time. Vicarious consequences As children. When we saw our siblings or schoolmates receive rewards like special attention for certain behaviors. children learn by watching us at home. would you tuck me in like you do mommy every night?” He said. This is referred to as vicarious punishment. Bzzz.” and he kissed his daughter on her cheek. Without our being aware of our influence. by watching us and listening to us. 1977. As he was leaving the room again. . or because characters on television or in a video game did it that way. “Not tonight. our children learn new behavior patterns. we are not the only role models who influence our children through observational learning. would you give me a good-night kiss like you do mommy every night?” Dad said. when we observed others getting punished for emitting certain behaviors. “Sure honey. When he came into her bedroom.” and pulled the covers up and underneath his daughter’s chin. including verbal behaviors. and he leaned down and went “Bzzz. . Daddy wait . have not been exemplary. would you whisper in my ear like you do mommy every night?” “Sure honey. we were more likely to copy that behavior. you are alluding to the critical influence of observational learning. reinforcement. we learned to avoid these behaviors. Whenever you do something a particular way because you saw someone else do it that way. How can we expect our teenagers to practice safe driving and keep their emotions under control if we have shown them the opposite throughout their childhood? Of course.” in his daughter’s ear.” he replied. As he left the room his daughter called after him saying. daddy. This brings us to the third way in which we learn from experience—observational learning. “Wait daddy. As adults. Whenever you attribute “peer pressure” as the cause of someone taking up an unhealthy habit (like smoking cigarettes or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol) or practicing an at-risk behavior (like driving at excessive speeds or adjusting equipment without locking out the energy source). “Daddy . and peers. When you remind someone to set an example for others. our coworkers are . or because someone showed you to do it that way. practiced regularly in front of their children for years. you are experiencing observational learning. 1986). their concern goes beyond the numerous dangers of real-world driving situations.Chapter seven: Basic principles 119 experience. They realize that several of their own driving behaviors.” Our actions influence others to a greater extent than we realize. I have a terrible headache. I have talked with many parents of teenagers who are nervous about their son or daughter getting a driver’s license. “Daddy. The prominent role of parental modeling in socializing children is illustrated by this humorous but true story of a father tucking his six-year-old daughter into bed. Observational learning A large body of psychological research indicates that this form of learning is involved to some degree in almost everything we do (Bandura. Then she said. you are referring to observational learning. we teach others by example. his daughter requested. “Sure. Bzzz. for instance. or indirect.6. honey. This process is termed vicarious. teachers.

our comprehensive and systematic observations of violence and unsafe sex on television during the 1994 –1995 and 1997–1998 seasons were disappointing and alarming. influenced by our practices at work. In other words. they later performed these aggressive behaviors when frustrated. 1991). irritated. violence on television gives the impression that interpersonal aggression is much more common than it really is and. Not only does the occurrence of safe acts encourage similar behavior by observers. The most commonly used weapon was the hand or fist (36.120 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 7. movies and television programs often convey the message that aggression is an acceptable means of handling interpersonal conflict. In addition to teaching new forms of aggression. Behaviors by television performers can have a dramatic impact on viewers’ behaviors. Synder. Baron and Richardson.2 . but verbal behavior can also be influential. it reduces our tendency to hold back physical acts of aggression toward others (Berkowitz. that aggression can be learned through television viewing (Bandura et al. 1963. Figure 7. If a supervisor is observed commending a worker for her safe behavior or reprimanding an employee for an at-risk practice. thus. 1984). my students coded 297 violent scenes from 152 prime-time episodes over a nine-week period.6 Children learn a lot from their parents through observational learning. Given the potential for observational learning from television viewing. Research has shown. Indeed.. In the fall of 1994. Observational learning and television. or angry. observers may increase their performance of similar safety behaviors (through vicarious reinforcement) or decrease the frequency of similar at-risk behavior (through vicarious punishment). with an average of almost three violent scenes per episode. The FOX Television Network showed the most violence. When children and adults were exposed to certain ways of fighting they had not seen before. 1994.7 offers a memorable pictorial regarding the influence of example setting on observational learning. to make safe behavior the norm—rather than the exception—we must always set an example both in our own work practices and in the verbal consequences we offer coworkers following their safe and at-risk behaviors. for example.

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Figure 7.7

Intentionally and unintentionally we teach through our example.

percent). A gun was used in 29.6 percent of the violent acts, and for only 21 percent of the scenes was a negative consequence indicated for initiating the violence. Furthermore, most of the negative consequences involved the court systems and were therefore delayed. For 14 percent of the scenes, the instigator of the violence received immediate positive consequences. In 242 television episodes coded by England et al. (2000), 219 violent scenes were observed. As in 1994, the FOX shows displayed, by far, the most violence (58 percent of 73 shows). The percentages of episodes showing violent scenes were lower and similar for other networks (i.e., 43 percent of 55 shows for CBS, 39 percent of 61 shows for NBC, and 38 percent of 53 shows for ABC). My students’ coding of sexual behavior on prime-time television in 1994 revealed pervasive portrayal of irresponsible sexual behavior. As with violence, the FOX Television Network showed the most sexual behavior. Of the 81 scenes coded, 82.7 percent showed or clearly implied sexual intercourse. In only 2 of the 81 scenes was there any discussion of contraception. A negative consequence for the irresponsible sexual behavior was rarely shown. A low 7 percent of the characters showed guilt after the sexual act, only 4 percent appeared to have less respect for themselves, and a mere 2 percent showed less respect for their partner. In 1997 –1998, a total of 111 scenes from the 242 prime time episodes coded depicted sexual intercourse explicitly or implicitly, and most of this sex was at-risk. Specifically,


Psychology of safety handbook

condom use, discussions of sexual history, and communication regarding the potential negative consequences of unsafe sex were portrayed in only 2.7, 2.8, and 5.5 percent of the scenes, respectively. Learning safety from television. Now consider the potential observational learning in showing television stars using vs. not using vehicle safety belts. When seeing a television hero buckle up, some viewers, mostly children, learn how to put on a vehicle safety belt; others are reminded that they should buckle up on every trip; still others realize that safety belt use is an acceptable social norm. On the other hand, the frequent nonuse of safety belts on television teaches the attitude that certain types of individuals, perhaps macho males and attractive females, do not use safety belts. As depicted in Figure 7.8, safety-belt use on prime-time television clearly increased across the first four years, averaging 8 percent of 2094 driving scenes observed in 1984, 15 percent of 1478 driving scenes in 1985, 22 percent of 927 driving scenes observed in 1986, and 29 percent of 96 driving scenes monitored in 1995. Our most recent television monitoring during the 1997–1998 season (England et al., 2001) showed a slight decrease to an average of 26 percent safety belt use across 168 driving scenes observed on prime-time shows for ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. NBC displayed the highest belt use (41 percent), whereas CBS showed the lowest (14 percent). These levels of safety-belt use on prime-time television were well below the real-world average at the time. Figure 7.9 compares the safety-belt use percentages observed on television with national safety-belt use percentages during the same time period. A steady and steep increase in the safety-belt use of actual U.S. drivers is shown, but only a slight increase in the safety-belt use of television characters is evident, with a leveling off from 1995 to 1998. This is clearly irresponsible broadcasting and calls for social action. What can we do about such inappropriate observational learning generated by prime-time television shows? In 1984, my students and I conducted a nationwide campaign to bring public attention to the nonuse of vehicle safety belts by television performers. We circulated a petition

Figure 7.8 The percentage of driving scenes with a front-seat passenger using a safety-belt on prime time television is disappointingly low.

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80% Percentage Safety Belt Use 70% 60% 50% 40% 30%
21% 22% 37% 27% 15% 26% Television Characters U.S. Residents Nationwide 67% 69%

20% 10% 0%



1985 1986 1994 Observation Years


Figure 7.9 Safety-belt use on prime time television is substantially below the national average. Adapted from England et al. (2000). With permission. throughout the United States that described the detrimental observational learning effects of low safety-belt use on television. We received approximately 50,000 signatures from residents in 36 states. In addition, we distributed a list of 30 names and addresses of television stars along with instructions to write letters requesting safety-belt use by those who did not buckle up and to write thank-you notes to those who already buckle up on television. As part of a creative writing assignment in elementary schools in Olympia, WA, more than 800 third and fourth graders wrote a buckle-up request to Mr. T, a star on a popular action program at the time called “The A-Team.” We believe it was no coincidence that Mr. T increased his use of safety belts from no belt use in 1984 to over 70 percent belt use in 1985, following the letter-writing campaign (Geller, 1988, 1989). Actually, Mr. T was the only A-Team member to buckle up during the 1985 season. In 1986 (the last year of this prime-time show), the entire A-Team was more likely to buckle up (39 percent of all driving scenes). With graphs of the low use of safety belts on television from 1984 to 1986, I traveled to Hollywood and gave a special workshop to producers, writers, and actors on the need to buckle up on television and in the movies. The workshop was sponsored and marketed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The feedback graphs proved to be an influential means of convincing the large audience of a problem needing their attention. My point here is that there are a number of things we can do to promote responsible broadcasting on television. If everyone contributes a “small win,” the benefits can add up to a big difference. Considering the substantial influence of observational learning on behaviors and attitudes, and the millions of daily viewers of prime-time television shows, efforts to depict exemplary behavior among network stars—like safe driving practices— could potentially prevent millions of injuries and save thousands of lives. Television shows clearly influence our culture. Thus, to achieve a true societal Total Safety Culture, the behavior depicted on television needs to be consistent with such a vision.


Psychology of safety handbook

The eye's a better teacher and more willing than the ear; Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear; And the best of all the preachers are the one's who live their creeds. For to see the good in action is what everybody needs. I can soon learn how to do it if you'll let me see it done; I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run; And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true. But I'd rather get my lesson by watching what you do. For I may not understand you and the high advice you give. There's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Figure 7.10 This poem, written by Forrest H. Kirkpatrick, illustrates the power of observational learning. With permission. Setting examples. The poem “Setting Examples” by Forrest H. Kirkpatrick says it all. This poem is presented in Figure 7.10, and I recommend copying it and posting it for others to read. It is so easy to forget the dramatic influence we have on others by our own behaviors. Obviously, we need to take the slogan “walk the talk” very seriously. In fact, if we are not convinced a particular safeguard or protective behavior is necessary for us (“It’s not going to happen to me”), we need to realize, at least, that our at-risk behaviors can endanger others. For example, I never get in my vehicle believing a crash will happen to me, so my rationale for buckling my combination lap and shoulder belt is to set the right example for others, whether they are in the car with me or not. Understanding the powerful influence of observational learning, we should feel obligated to set the safe example whenever someone could see us.

Overlapping types of learning
Laboratory methodologies have been able to study each type of learning separately, but the real world rarely offers such purity. In life, the usual situation includes simultaneous influence from more than one learning type. The operant learning situation, for example, is likely to include some classical (emotional) conditioning. As I indicated earlier, this is one reason rewarding consequences should be used more frequently than punishing consequences to motivate behavior change. Remember, a rewarding situation (unconditioned stimulus) can elicit a positive emotional experience (unconditioned response), and a punitive situation (UCS) can elicit a negative emotional reaction (UCR). With sufficient pairing of rewarding or punishing consequences with environmental cues (such as a work setting or particular people), the environmental setting (conditioned stimulus) can elicit a positive or negative emotional reaction or attitude (conditioned response). This can in turn facilitate (if it is positive) or inhibit (if it is negative) ongoing performance. Figure 7.11 depicts a situation in which all three learning types occur at the same time. As discussed earlier and diagrammed in Figure 7.4, the blue flashing light of the police car signals drivers to press the brake pedal of their car and pull over. In this case, the blue light is considered a discriminative stimulus because it tells people when to respond in order to

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Figure 7.11 Three types of learning occur in some situations. receive or avoid a consequence. Actually, drivers would apply their brakes to avoid punitive consequences, so this situation illustrates an avoidance contingency where drivers respond to avoid failure. The flashing blue light might also serve as a conditioned stimulus eliciting a negative emotional reaction. This is an example of classical conditioning occurring simultaneously with operant learning. Our negative emotional reaction to the blue light might have been strengthened by prior observational learning. As a child, we might have seen one of our parents pulled over by a state trooper and subsequently observed a negative emotional reaction from our parent. The children in Figure 7.11 are not showing the same emotional reaction of the driver. Eventually, they will probably do so as a result of observational learning. Later, their direct experience as drivers will strengthen this negative emotional response to a flashing blue light on a police car.

In conclusion
In this chapter, I reviewed the basic principles underlying a behavior-based approach to the prevention and treatment of human problems. The variety of successful applications of this approach was discussed, based on my personal experiences. The behavior-based principles—the primacy of behavior, direct assessment and evaluation, intervention by managers and peers, and three types of learning—were explained with particular reference to reducing personal injury. Because at-risk behaviors contribute to most if not all injuries, a Total Safety Culture requires a decrease in at-risk behaviors. Organizations have attempted to do this by targeting at-risk acts, exclusive of safe acts, and using corrective feedback, reprimands, or disciplinary action to motivate behavior change. This approach is useful, but less proactive and less apt to be widely accepted than a behavior-based approach that emphasizes


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Figure 7.12 Negative consequences can have an undesirable impact on attitude. recognition of safe behaviors. It will be easier to get employees involved in safety achievement if credit is given for doing the right thing more often than reprimands for doing wrong. Excessive use of negative consequences can lead to the feelings or attitude expressed by the wolf in Figure 7.12. The three types of learning are relevant for understanding safety-related behaviors and attitudes. Most of our safe and at-risk behaviors are learned operant behaviors, performed in particular settings to gain positive consequences or to avoid negative consequences. Classical conditioning often occurs at the same time to link positive or negative emotional reactions with the stimulus cues surrounding the experience of receiving consequences. These cues include the people who deliver the rewards or punishment. We often learn what to do and what not to do by watching others receive recognition or correction for their operant behaviors. This is observational learning, an ongoing process that should motivate us to try to set the safe example at all times.

Bandura, A., Social Learning Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1977. Bandura, A., Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1986. Bandura, A., Ross, D., and Ross, S. A., Imitation of film-mediated aggressive models, J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol., 66, 3, 1963. Baron, R. A. and Richardson, D., Human Aggression, 2nd ed., Plenum, New York, 1994. Berkowitz, L., Some effects of thoughts on anti- and pro-social influences of media events: a cognitive-neoassociation analysis, Psychol. Bull., 95, 410, 1984. Boyce, T. E. and Geller, E. S., A community-wide intervention to improve pedestrian safety: guidelines for institutionalizing large-scale behavior change, Environ. Behav., 32, 502–520.

Chapter seven:

Basic principles


Boyce, T. E. and Geller, E. S., Attempts to increase prosocial behavior: a comparison of reinforcement and intrinsic motivation theory, Environ. Behav., in press. Brehony, K. A. and Geller, E. S., Agoraphobia: a behavioral perspective and critical appraisal of research, in Hersen, M., Eisler, R. M., and Miller, P. M., Eds., New York, Progress in Behavior Modification, Vol. 8, Academic Press, 1981. Chhokar, J. S. and Wallin, J. A., A field study of the effects of feedback on frequency on performance, J. Appl. Psychol., 69, 524, 1984. England, K. J., Porter, B. E., Geller, E. S., and DePasquale, J. P., Is television a health and safety hazard? A longitudinal analysis of at-risk behavior on prime-time television, under editorial review, 2001. Geller, E. S., A training program in behavior modification: design, outcome, and implication, JSAS Cat. Select. Doc. Psychol., 2, 29, 1972. Geller, E. S., Applications of behavior analysis to litter control, in Behavioral Community Psychology: Progress and Prospects, Glenwick, D. and Jason, L., Eds., Prager Press, New York, 1980. Geller, E. S., Saving environmental resources through waste reduction and recycling: how the behavioral community psychologist can help, in Helping in the Community: Behavior Applications, Martin, G. L., and Osborne, J. G., Eds., Plenum, New York, 1980b. Geller, E. S., Waste reduction and resource recovery: strategies for energy conservation, in Advances in Environmental Psychology, Vol. III, Baum, A. and Singer, J., Eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, 1981. Geller, E. S., Motivating safety belt use with incentives: a critical review of the past and a look to the future, in Advances in Belt Restraint Systems: Design, Performance, and Usage, no. 141, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., Warrendale, PA, 1984. Geller, E. S., Environmental psychology and applied behavior analysis: from strange bedfellows to a productive marriage, in Handbook of Environmental Psychology, Vol. I, Stokols, D. and Altman, I., Eds., John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1987. Geller, E. S., A behavioral science approach to transportation safety, Bull. NY Acad. Med., 64, 632, 1988. Geller, E. S., Using television to promote safety belt use., in Public Communication Campaigns, 2nd ed., Rice, R. E. and Atkin, C. K., Eds., SAGE Publications, Newberry Park, CA, 1989. Geller, E. S., Preventing injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes: encouraging belts and discouraging booze, in Social Influence Processes and Prevention, Edwards, J., Tindale, R. S., Heath, L., and Posavac, E. J., Eds., Plenum, New York, 1990. Geller, E. S., Applications of behavior analysis to prevent injury from vehicle crashes, monograph published by the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, Cambridge, MA, 1992a. Geller, E. S., Solving environmental problems: a behavior change perspective, in In Our Hands: Psychology, Peace, and Social Responsibility, Staub, S. and Green, P., Eds., New York University Press, 1992b. Geller, E. S., Ed., The educational crisis: issues, perspectives, solutions, monograph No. 7, Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Inc., Lawrence, KS, 1992c. Geller, E. S., Applications of behavioral science for road safety, in Promoting Health and Mental Health: Behavioral Approaches to Prevention, Glenwick, D. and Jason, L., Eds., Springer, New York, 1993. Geller, E. S. and Easley, A. T., Applied behavior analysis in the college classroom: Some ideas for educators, in The Art of Teaching: Seven Perspectives, Bishop, L., Ed., The Academy of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 1986. Geller, E. S. and Lehman, G. R., Drinking-driving intervention strategies: a person–situationbehavior framework, in Snortum, J. R., Zimring, F. E., and Laurence, M. D., Eds., Social Control of the Drinking Driver, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1988. Geller, E. S., Koltuniak, T. A., and Shilling, J. S., Response avoidance prompting: a cost-effective strategy for theft deterrence, Behav. Counsel. Comm. Intervent., 3, 29, 1983. Geller, E. S., Lehman, G. R., and Kalsher, M. J., Behavior Analysis Training for Occupational Safety, Make-A-Difference, Inc., Newport, VA, 1989. Geller, E. S., Winett, R. A., and Everett, P. B., Preserving the Environment: New Strategies for Behavior Change. Pergamon Press, New York, 1982.


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Geller, E. S., Eason, S., Phillips, J., and Pierson, M., Interventions to improve sanitation during food preparation, J. Organ. Beh. Manage., 2, 229, 1980. Geller, E. S., Johnson, D. F., Hamlin, P. H., and Kennedy, T. D., Behavior modification in a prison: issues, problems, and compromises, Crim. Just. Beh., 4, 11, 1977. Geller, E. S., Sleet, D., Elder, J., and Hovell, M., Behavior change approaches to deterring alcoholimpaired driving, in Advances in Health Education and Promotion, Vol.III, Ward, W. B. and Lewis, F. M., Eds., Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia, PA, 1991. Glenwick, D. and Jason, L., Eds., Behavioral Community Psychology, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1980. Glenwick, D. and Jason, L., Eds., Promoting Health and Mental Health: Behavioral Approaches to Prevention, Springer, New York, 1993. Goldstein, A. P. and Krasner, L., Modern Applied Psychology, Pergamon Press, New York, 1987. Greene, B. F., Winett, R. A., Van Houten, R., Geller, E. S., and Iwata, B. A., Eds., Behavior Analysis in the Community: Readings from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1987. Guastello, S. J., Do we really know how well our occupational accident prevention programs work?, Saf. Sci., 16, 445, 1993. Heinrich, H. W., Petersen, D., and Roos, N., Industrial Accident Prevention: A Safety Management Approach, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1980. Johnson, R. P. and Geller, E. S., Community mental health center programs, in Behavioral Community Psychology: Progress and Prospects, Glenwick, D. and Jason, L., Eds., Praeger Press, New York, 1980. Komaki, J., Heinzmann, A. T., and Lawson, L. Effect of training and feedback: component analysis of a behavioral safety program, J. Appl. Psychol., 65(3), 261, 1980. Kramer, K. D. and Geller, E. S., Community dental health promotion for children: integrating applied behavior analysis and public health, Educ. Treat. Child., 10, 58, 1987. Lehman, G.R. and Geller, E. S., Educational Technology for Health Workers in Nigeria, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C., 1987. Ludwig, T. D. and Geller, E. S., Improving the driving practices of pizza deliverers: response generalization and moderating effects of driving history, J. Appl. Behav. Anal., 24, 31, 1991. Ludwig, T. D. and Geller, E. S., Managing injury control among professional pizza deliverers: effects of goal setting and response generalization, J. Appl. Psychol., 82, 253, 1997. Ludwig, T. D. and Geller, E. S., An organizational behavior management approach to safe driving intervention for pizza deliverers, J. Organ. Behav. Manage., 19(4) monograph, 2000. Mayer, J. and Geller, E. S., Motivating energy efficient travel: a cost-effective incentive strategy for encouraging usage of a community bike path, J. Environ. Syst., 12, 99, 1982. Pavlov, I. P., Conditional Reflexes. Anrep, G. V., Ed. and Transl., Oxford University Press, London, 1927. Petersen, D., Safe Behavior Reinforcement, Aloray, Inc., New York, 1989. Reichel, D. A. and Geller, E. S., Applications of behavioral analysis to conserve transportation energy, in Advances in Environmental Psychology, Vol. III. Baum, A., and Singer, J., Eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, 1981. Roberts, D. S. and Geller, E. S., An “actively caring” model for occupational safety: a field test, Appl. Prevent. Psychol., 4, 53, 1995. Schnelle, J. F., Geller, E. S., and Davis, M. A., Law enforcement and crime prevention, in Behavioral Approaches to Crime and Delinquency: Application, Research, and Theory, Morris, E. K., and Braukmann, C. J., Eds., Plenum Press, New York, 1987. Skinner, B. F., The Behavior of Organisms, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1938. Snyder, S., Movies and juvenile delinquency: an overview, Adolescence, 26, 121, 1991. Streff, F. M., Kalsher, M. J., and Geller, E. S., Developing efficient workplace safety programs: observations of response covariation, J. Organ. Behav. Manage., 13(2), 3, 1993. Sulzer-Azaroff, B. and De Santamaria, M. C., Industrial safety hazard reduction through performance feedback, J. Appl. Behav. Anal., 13, 287, 1980. Wilde, G. J. S., Target Risk, PDE Publications, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1994. Williams, J. H. and Geller, E. S., Behavior-based intervention for occupational safety: critical impact of social comparison feedback, J. Saf. Res., 31(30), 135, 2000.

chapter eight

Identifying critical behaviors
The practical “how to” aspects of this book begin with this chapter. The overall process is called DO IT, each letter representing the four basic components of a behavior-based approach: Define target behaviors to influence; Observe these behaviors; Intervene to increase or decrease target behaviors; and Test the impact of your intervention process. This chapter focuses on developing a critical behavior checklist for objective observing, intervening, and testing. “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say, I just watch what they do.” —Andrew Carnegie Now the action begins. Up to this point, I have been laying the groundwork (rationale and theory) for the intervention strategies described here and in the next three chapters. From this information, you will learn how to develop action plans to increase safe behaviors, decrease at-risk behaviors, and achieve a Total Safety Culture. Why did it take me so long to get here—to the implementation stage? Indeed, if you are looking for “quick-fix” tools to make a difference in safety you may have skipped or skimmed the first two parts of this text and started your careful reading here. I certainly appreciate that the pressures to get to the bottom line quickly are tremendous, but, remember, there is no quick fix for safety. The behavior-based approach that is the heart of this book is the most efficient and effective route to achieving a Total Safety Culture. It is a never ending continuous improvement process, one that requires ongoing and comprehensive involvement from the people protected by the process. In industry, these are the operators or line workers. Long-term employee participation requires understanding and belief in the principles behind the process. Employees must also perceive that they “own” the procedures that make the process work. For this to happen it is necessary to teach the principles and rationale first (as done in this Handbook), and then work with participants to develop specific process procedures. This creates the perception of ownership and leads to long-term involvement. When people are educated about the principles and rationale behind a safety process, they can customize specific procedures for their particular work areas. Then the relevance of the training process is obvious, and participation is enhanced. People are more likely to accept and follow procedures they helped to develop. They see such safe operating procedures as “the best way to do it” rather than “a policy we must obey because management says so.”


Psychology of safety handbook

Figure 8.1 culture.

Employee involvement is limited when a program is force fitted into a work

Obviously, the kind of safety consultant depicted in Figure 8.1 stifles employee ownership and involvement. Yet, so many safety efforts start as off-the-shelf programs. A videotape is shown and ready-made workbooks are followed to train step-by-step procedures. Much more involvement occurs when consultants begin a new safety effort by teaching rationale and principles and then guiding participants through the development of specific procedures. Subsequently, people want to be trained on the implementation procedures. When effective leaders or consultants guide the customization of a process, they state expectations but they do not give mandates or directions. They show both confidence and uncertainty (Geller, 2000; Langer, 1989, 1997). In other words, they are confident a set of procedures will be developed but do not know the best way to do it. This allows employees room to be alert, innovative, and self-motivated. The result is that ownership and interpersonal trust increase, which in turn leads to more involvement. As we begin here to define principles and guidelines for action plans, it is important to keep one thing in mind—you need to start with the conviction that there is rarely a generic best way to implement a process involving human interaction. For a behavior-based safety process to succeed in your setting, you will need to work out the procedural details with the people whose involvement is necessary. The process needs to be customized to fit your culture.

The DO IT process
For well over a decade, I have taught applications of the behavior-based approach to industrial safety with the acronym depicted in Figure 8.2. The process is continuous and involves the following four steps.

Chapter eight:

Identifying critical behaviors


Figure 8.2

Behavior-based safety is a continuous four-step process.

D: Define the critical target behavior(s) to increase or decrease. O: Observe the target behavior(s) during a pre-intervention baseline period to set behavior-change goals and, perhaps, to understand natural environmental or social factors influencing the target behavior(s). I: Intervene to change the target behavior(s) in desired directions. T: Test the impact of the intervention procedure by continuing to observe and record the target behavior(s) during the intervention program. From this data obtained in the Test phase, you can evaluate the impact of your intervention and make an informed decision whether to continue it, implement another strategy, or define another behavior to target for the DO IT process. This chapter focuses on the first two steps, defining and observing target behaviors. Before we get into those specifics, however, I want to briefly outline the DO IT process to make an important point: What I am explaining to you is all easier said than done. Remember, there are no true quick fixes for safety. To begin, just what are clear and concise definitions of target behaviors? This is the first step in the DO IT process. There is so much to choose from: using equipment safely, lifting correctly, locking out power appropriately, and looking out for the safety of others, to name just a scant few. The outcome of behaviors, such as wearing personal protective equipment, working in a clean and organized environment, and using a vehicle safety belt can also be targeted. If two or more people independently obtain the same frequency recordings when observing the defined behavior or behavioral outcome during the same time period, you have a definition sufficient for an effective DO IT process. Baseline observations of the

For example.3 The ABC model is used to develop behavior change interventions. As I discussed in the preceding chapter. the power of an activator to influence behavior is determined by the type of consequence(s) it signals (Skinner. certain. 1969). and certain. but residents answer or do not answer the telephone or door depending on current motives or expectations developed from prior experiences. . sizable. and large positive reinforcers or rewards. activators direct behavior and consequences motivate behavior. In fact. In other words. Figure 7. we will pull over. This helps explain why safety is a struggle in many workplaces. The DO IT process is based on operant learning. We will respond to this activator if it is supported by a consequence. and certain consequences.3. based on the simple ABC model depicted in Figure 8. Consequences are discussed in Chapter 11.3 are discussed in Chapter 10. Remember. Let us talk a little more about consequences. which we discussed in Chapter 7. For example. and sizable negative reinforcers or punishers.11. 1953. a ringing telephone or doorbell activates the need for certain behaviors from residents. You see. if we believe the police officer will give us a ticket if we do not stop. and we work frantically to escape or avoid soon. safe behaviors are often punished by soon and certain Figure 8. What about the intervention step? This phase of DO IT involves one or more behaviorchange techniques. safe behaviors are usually not reinforced by soon. The activators listed in Figure 8. The strongest consequences are soon. sizable. probable. shows the flashing blue light on the police car as a discriminative stimulus (or activator) that signals (or directs) the motorist to perform certain driving behaviors learned from past experience. More details on this aspect of the process are given later in this chapter. we work diligently for immediate.132 Psychology of safety handbook target behavior should be made and recorded before implementing an intervention program. for example.

discomfort. and the consequence could be quite sizable. too. they eventually stop performing the behavior. for example. Take. and it often allows people to achieve their production and quality goals faster and easier. certain (and sometimes sizable) positive consequences for at-risk behaviors. and uncertain (actually improbable) from an individual perspective. Taking risks avoids the discomfort and inconvenience of most safe behaviors. most safety situations in the workplace are not like this one. negative consequences. perhaps fatal. to achieve more production. The man in Figure 8. certain. However. He is complying with the activator. In this case. and slower goal attainment. When Pavlov stopped giving his dogs food (the unconditioned stimulus) following the bell (the conditioned stimulus). and without supportive consequences from peers his compliance could be temporary. of course. Also. the dogs eventually stopped salivating (conditioned response) to the bell. negative. Supervisors sometimes activate and reward at-risk behaviors. When subjects in operant learning experiments no longer receive a consequence for making the desired response. and sizable positive consequences for safe behaviors are soon.5. Given the observable traffic flow. a negative consequence is almost certain to happen. but there are no obvious (soon. He might not see a reason for the hard hat. safety can be considered a continuous fight with human nature (as discussed earlier in Section 2). and sizable) consequences supporting this safe behavior. including inconvenience.4 will surely comply with the “Don’t Walk” activator and stay on the curb until the light changes. negative consequences from stepping off the curb at the wrong time would occur very soon. Because activators and consequences are naturally available throughout our everyday existence to support at-risk behaviors in lieu of safe behaviors. Competing with the lack of soon. unintentionally. Research backs up these examples. the consequences that motivate safety professionals to promote safe work practices— reduced injuries and associated costs—are delayed.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 133 Figure 8. . and it occurs in classical conditioning.4 Compliance with some activators is supported by natural consequences. Several illustrations make these points. This is referred to as extinction. certain. the man in Figure 8.

Let us see how this is done. but we are getting ahead of ourselves. interviews with employees. Which one is having more fun? Who is more uncomfortable? Who is safe? Chances are both men will complete mowing their lawns without an injury.5 Compliance with some activators is not supported by natural consequences. Developing and maintaining safe work practices often requires intervention strategies to keep people safe—strategies involving activators. Other target behaviors may be at-risk behaviors that need to be decreased in frequency. cleaning a work area. audit findings. First. So which worker will have enjoyed the task more? Again. putting on personal protective equipment. What the process focuses on in your workplace depends on a review of your safety records. we need to define critical behaviors to establish targets for our intervention. consequences. and less fun than the more efficient at-risk alternative. These become the targets of our intervention strategies. inconvenience. such as misusing a tool. like lifting with knees bent. placing obstacles in an area designated for traffic flow. overriding a safety switch. . A DO IT process can define desirable behaviors to be encouraged or undesirable behaviors to be changed. or both.134 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 8.6. Defining target behaviors The DO IT process begins by defining critical behaviors to work on. this defines the fight against human nature. and so on. The DO IT process is a tool to use in this struggle with human nature. stacking materials incorrectly. Safety typically means more discomfort. Some target behaviors might be safe behaviors you want to see happen more often. or replacing safety guards on machinery. job hazard analyses. Check out the two lawn-mower operators in Figure 8. near-hit reports. and other useful information.

People already know a lot about the hazards of their work and the safe behaviors needed to avoid injury. They often know when a near hit had occurred because an at-risk behavior or environmental hazard had been overlooked. After selecting target behaviors. They even know which safety policies are sometimes ignored to get the job done on time. and less fun. . or decrease. increase. Job hazard analyses or standard operating procedures can also provide information relevant to selecting critical behaviors to target in a DO IT process. Defining target behaviors results in an objective standard for evaluating an intervention process. Deciding which behaviors are critical is the first step of a DO IT process. All participants in the process need to understand exactly what behaviors you intend to support. They also know which at-risk behaviors could lead to a serious injury (or fatality) and which safe behaviors could prevent a serious injury (or fatality). A great deal can be discovered by examining the workplace and discussing with people how they have been performing their jobs. the plant safety director or the person responsible for maintaining records for OSHA or MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) can provide valuable assistance in selecting critical behaviors. In addition to employee discussions.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 135 Figure 8. inconvenient. • At-risk behaviors that could potentially contribute to an injury (or fatality) and safe behaviors that could prevent such an incident. it is critical to define them in a way that gets everyone on the same page.6 Compared to at-risk behavior. Critical behaviors to identify and target are • At-risk behaviors that have led to a substantial number of near hits or injuries in the past and safe behaviors that could have prevented these incidents. injury records and near-hit reports can be consulted to discover critical behaviors (both safe and at risk). Obviously. safe behavior is often uncomfortable.

This distinction between direct observations of behavior vs.” is a behavior because it can be observed or heard by others. From education. we might infer that the person is actually tired. or a vehicle safety belt. direct guidance through instruction and demonstration (activators) might be the intervention of choice to teach the correct use of a respirator. you are not actually observing a behavior. If the person’s work activity slows down or amount of time on the job decreases. and their reference to observable activity—they describe what was said or done. the words used to describe behavior should be chosen for clarity to avoid being misinterpreted. On the other hand. the act of saying words such as “I am tired. There are thousands of words in the English language that can be used to describe a person. one from safe behavior and one from at-risk behavior. From all these possibilities. If done correctly. most action words can have more than one interpretation. a behavioral “slow down” could result from other internal causes. verbal recognition (a consequence) would be more suitable to support the outcome of correctly wearing a respirator at the appropriate time and place. Likewise. Yes. The important point here is that feelings. These outcomes can be temporary or permanent. Outcomes of behavior Often it is easier to define and observe the outcomes of safe or at-risk behavior rather than the behavior itself. The test of a good behavioral definition is whether other persons using the definition can accurately observe if the target behavior is occurring. For example. when people describe critical behaviors in objective and observable terms.7.136 Psychology of safety handbook There is another point to be made about the DO IT process. Thus. For example. this can reduce biased subjectivity in various interpersonal matters. one learns general principles. Training is the process of translating knowledge from education into specific behaviors. they are transferring knowledge into meaningful action plans. In other words. however. It is risky to infer inner person characteristics from external behaviors. They are internal aspects of the person that cannot be directly observed by others. but rather you are observing the outcome of a pattern of safety behaviors (the behaviors required to put on the personal protective equipment). a hard hat. What is behavior? The key is to define behaviors correctly. As shown in Figure 8. You see. evaluating an outcome cannot always be directly attributed to a single behavior or to any one individual. . when observing a worker wearing safety glasses. a locked out machine and a messy work area are both outcomes of behavior. It involves translating educational concepts into operational (behavioral) terms. like worker apathy or lack of interest. feels. but they are always observed after the behavior has occurred. behavior is what a person does or says as opposed to what he or she thinks. procedures. this is not an observation of tired behavior. However. brevity to keep it simple. and the intervention to improve a behavioral outcome might be different than an intervention to improve behaviors observed directly. behavioral outcomes is important. or believes. without a clear and precise definition. or motives should not be confused with behavior. attitudes. or policy. precision to fit the specific behavior observed. Let us begin by stepping back a minute to consider: What is behavior? Behavior refers to acts or actions by individuals that can be observed by others.

target behaviors are often defined by environmental context. However. The nonoccurrence of a recommended safety action in a given situation is often defined as at-risk behavior. Describing behaviors A target behavior needs to be defined in observable terms so multiple observers can independently watch one individual and obtain the same results regarding the occurrence or nonoccurrence of the target behavior. Here is another important point. Second. the absence of a behavior is not a behavior. The importance of safety-related behaviors depends on the situation in which the behavior occurs. this lack of doing something to protect oneself is not a behavior that can be observed in a DO IT process. For example. Such behavior can be observed and changed. The first is the person who is behaving.7 Selective word definitions cause communication confusion. “Is not paying attention. It is important to define what is happening—the at-risk behavior(s) occurring in place of desired safe behavior.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 137 Figure 8.” “acting careless. You cannot study a behavior that does not happen. are not adequate descriptions of behavior. safety glasses and ear plugs are not needed in the personnel office but are needed in other work areas. because observers would not agree consistently about whether . Thus. Although the lack of an appropriate safe action might put a person at risk. Then. but no less important. For example. There should be no room for interpretation. what the person says or does constitutes an action and last. Person–action–situation Three elements comprise a complete description of behavior. is the situation in which the person acts (when or where). if a person is not wearing the required PPE. he or she is at risk.” or “lifting safely. it is possible to study the factors influencing this at-risk behavior and perhaps inhibiting safe behavior.” for example.

” and “Keeping a hand on the handrail while climbing stairs.” “Honking the fork lift horn at the intersection.” Some outcomes of behaviors also can be dealt with in singular terms. However. Percentage of agreement is calculated by adding the number of agreements and disagreements and dividing the total into the number of agreements. A volunteer acts out the behaviors while observers attempt to determine whether each of the designated steps of the activity was “safe” or “at risk. and then calculate the percentage of agreement between observers. Thus. an observer could readily count occurrences of these safe behaviors (or outcomes) during a systematic audit. lifting with the legs. In other words. Interobserver reliability The ultimate test for a behavioral description is to have two observers watch independently for the occurrence of the target behavior on a number of occasions. Multiple behaviors Let us look more closely at types of behaviors.” and “repairing equipment that had been locked out correctly.” for example.” “moving knife away from body when cutting. defining a “smooth lift” so that observers could agree on 80 percent or more of the observations would be more difficult and. if two observers watched for the occurrence of these behaviors. Some workplace activities can be treated effectively as a single behavior. Each of the procedural steps in safe lifting requires a clear objective definition so two observers could determine reliably whether the behavior in a lifting sequence had occurred.” “Bending knees while lifting. and moving feet when rotating (or not twisting). Role playing demonstrations are an important way to help define the behavioral steps of a procedure. More specifically. it would be necessary to define the separate behaviors (or procedural steps) of a safe lift. holding the load close to one’s body. however. for example. Disagreement occurs whenever one person reports seeing the behavior when the other person reports not seeing the behavior.138 Psychology of safety handbook the behavior occurred. for observers to reliably audit “asking for help. they would likely agree whether or not the behavior occurred. at least. is only one aspect of a safe lift. checking the load before lifting. lifting in a smooth motion. This would include.” and “using knees while lifting” are objective and specific enough to obtain reliable information from trained observers.” Suppose. “Bending knees while lifting. if safe lifting were the activity targeted in a DO IT process. descriptions like “keeping hand on handrail.” “using a vehicle safety belt.” “climbing a ladder that is properly tied off. If the result is 80 percent or higher. Examples include “Looking left–right –left before crossing the road. agreement occurs whenever the two observers report seeing or not seeing the target behavior at the same time. Many safety activities are made up of more than one discrete behavior. asking for help in certain situations. Observing reliably whether the load was held close and knees were bent would be relatively easy.” “Walking within the yellow safety lines. like “using ear plugs. 1994).” the “certain situations” calling for this response would need to be specified.” With a proper definition. the behavioral definition is adequate and the observers have been adequately trained to use the definition in a DO IT process (Kazdin. and it may be important to treat these behaviors independently in a definition and an audit. In contrast.” “Returning tools to their proper location.” “working on a scaffold with appropriate fall protection. your work group was interested in improving stair safety and decided the . The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to give percentage of agreement.

You are ready for the observation phase when you have a checklist of critical behaviors with definitions that are Specific. Group discussions about practice observations might very well lead to changed or refined behavioral definitions. After defining these procedural steps more completely in a group session. the participants should go to a setting with stairs and observe people using the stairs. Objective. We have already considered most of the characteristics of behavioral definitions implied by these key words.8 Behavioral observations for the DO IT process should be “SOON.” .” Then they should reconvene in a group meeting and compare notes. and Naturalistic. Additionally.” S O O pecific • Concise behavioral definition • Unambiguous bservable • Overt behaviors • Countable and recordable bjective • No interpretation • nor attributions • "What" not "W hy" N aturalistic • Normal interaction • Real-world activity Figure 8. taking one step at a time. it might be decided that some participants need more education and training about the observation process. When observers can use behavioral definitions and agree on the safe vs. as well as in Chapter 12 on “safety coaching. and walking rather than running. Observers should record independently whether each behavior of the activity is “safe” or “at risk. and examples of behavioral checklists are provided later in this chapter. at-risk occurrence of each behavior on 80 percent or more of the observation trials.8 reviews the key aspects of developing adequate definitions of critical behaviors to target for a DO IT process. you are ready for the next phase of DO IT— Observation. Observing behavior The acronym “SOON” depicted in Figure 8.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 139 safety-related behaviors in this activity include: keeping one hand on the handrail. Observable.

or praising a coworker. Some behaviors last only a few seconds. the property of response frequency is usually most important. They need to be quantifiable. To do this. Here. The rate of a behavior refers to its frequency of occurrence per unit of time. For our purposes. stacking racks less than three high. Most safety-related behaviors can be considered in terms of frequency or rate. the goal of the DO IT process is to increase the occurrence (frequency. Measuring behavior Certain safe and at-risk behaviors start and stop often during a work period. Properties of behavior One property of behavior is intensity. and using cut-resistant gloves might vary considerably throughout the day. A fork lift. like turning off the power to a machine. percentage of occurrence per opportunity might be a more meaningful property to measure than frequency or rate.” Others may continue for several hours. Another property is speed. we have to consider various properties of behavior. On the other hand. such as performing a series of responses at a particular work station or discussing safe work practices during a group meeting. Thus. situations that require locking out power. can be operated at fast or at slower speeds. In other words. the opportunities for some safety-related behaviors. Some meaningful aspect (or property) of the target behavior needs to be recorded systematically so changes (or improvements) in the behavior can be monitored over time. From these frequencies (total occurrences of safe behavior and total opportunities for the safe behavior). and/or duration) of safe behaviors and decrease the occurrence of at-risk behaviors. They are readily measurable in terms of rate. it is most meaningful to consider the number of occasions the target behavior actually occurs per total situations requiring that behavior. observers of a target behavior should be able to translate their experience into a form that can be counted and compared objectively with other observations. rather than frequency. Some behaviors should continue throughout lengthy work sessions. the sound can range from a low-intensity whisper to a high-intensity shout. or it may occur several times. When a person says something. In these cases. for example. an injury investigation. it might be most appropriate to observe and record the duration. the frequency or rate of operating a fork lift at an at-risk speed is a meaningful target for a DO IT process. A particular response may occur once in a given period of time. Generally. Protective apparel such as safety glasses and ear plugs may need to be worn continuously. For example. smoking a cigarette. For now. or the total amount of time the behavior occurs. Recording observations Accurate and permanent records of observed behavior are essential for a job safety analysis. occur less often during the usual workday. Most existing records are in the form . or signing a “safety pledge. For example. putting on safety glasses. rate. and a successful DO IT process. percentage. I shall return later to this issue of targeting and measuring the most appropriate properties of safety-related behaviors.140 Psychology of safety handbook I have not yet explained one very important characteristic of “observable” behaviors. it is important to understand that the property targeted by a behavior-change intervention depends on specific situational factors and program objectives. like locking out power to equipment. Consider lifting. a percentage of safe behavior can be calculated and used to monitor safety performance. Still another property of behavior is duration.

Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 141 of written comments. Independent frequency records can only be compared if the lengths of the observation periods are the same. but once they occur. At work. Any observer should be able to count the number of times the behavior begins and ends within a given period. Interval recording. a frequency or rate measure would not be as informative as a record of the length of time the target behavior occurs. 15 minutes). This measurement procedure is termed interval recording. Some safety-related behaviors begin and end relatively infrequently during a workday. or percentage of occurrence per opportunity of a particular behavior over a sufficient period of time. The number of “safe” and “at-risk” checkmarks can be totaled and used to calculate the percentage of “safe” behaviors recorded in a particular interval. interval recording is often the most practical approach to observing and recording critical behaviors. to note periodically and systematically whether the target response is occurring in a particular situation. Response rate is analogous to miles per hour. a particular safe behavior? Calculating a behavior rate. helps answer several important questions. you should first observe and record a certain property of that behavior. Second. comparisons between two measurements can be made even when the lengths of observation periods are different. This gives you a record of the time interval during which the behaviors were counted and enables you to convert response frequency into a response rate. though. This results in a frequency measurement. It might be more practical. A checklist of critical behaviors is used and the observer merely watches an individual work for a set period of time and checks off “safe” or “atrisk” for each behavior on the list. This is the approach recommended by Krause et al. Before attempting to change a specific behavior. . they last for long durations. By measuring the frequency. The response rate here is 3 responses per minute. response rates are comparable regardless of the lengths of the different recording periods. 45 occurrences of a behavior) by the length of the time interval (for example. you determine the extent to which that behavior needs to be changed. Instead of watching an individual and counting the start and end of a particular behavior during a given time period. duration. Careful observation of response frequency. perhaps demotivating. a precise objective definition of the beginning and the end of the target behavior is required. in contrast to event recording where the occurrence of a discrete behavior is counted during an observation session and possibly converted to response rate. it is important to record the time you begin observing the target behavior and the time you stop. for example. or a measure of observable behavior. By translating frequencies into rates. In this case. (1996) and McSween (1995). Response rate is calculated by dividing the frequency (for example. and often do not offer an objective behavioral metric. Two basic requirements are necessary to record the rate of a behavior. an observer could intermittently look at the individual throughout the work period in a given environmental setting and note whether or not the target behavior is occurring. • • • • How does the frequency of the target behavior vary among different individuals? In what situations and at what times does the behavior occur most often? When and where does the behavior occur least often? How often does a person have an opportunity to make an appropriate safe behavior but does not make it? • What specific environmental changes occur before and after the target behavior occurs? • What environmental factors are supporting a particular at-risk behavior and/or inhibiting. First.

Dad. Only through appropriate feedback can people improve their performance. at-risk behaviors in real-world settings. we do not get natural feedback regarding our safe vs. for seven one-hour sessions Krista drove around town with an instructor in the front seat and one or more students in the back. Therefore. However. from turning on lights.” Would he point out consistently the activators that require safe vehicle-control behaviors? Would he put emphasis on the positive. “good driving judgment” is recognizing environmental conditions (or activators) that signal certain vehicle-control behaviors. This is commonly referred to as “judgment. Driving activators and consequences. Also. at-risk use of such control devices. particularly those that can prevent injury from vehicle crashes. the rest of the time they sit in the back seat and perhaps learn through observation.” She was 15 years old and thought she was ready to drive. She had not yet translated her education into operations or action plans.” Actually. waiting for their turn at the wheel. but how do you fight a culture that puts teenagers behind the wheel of motor vehicles before they are really ready for such a risky situation? “Don’t worry. that was part of my worry. display negative emotional reactions in certain situations and teach Krista (through classical conditioning) to feel anxious or fearful in particular driving situations? Would some at-risk driving behaviors by Krista or the other . Thus. On-the-job training obviously requires an appropriate mix of observation and feedback from an instructor. and brakes work. Different situations call for different procedures. we do not readily recognize the activators (or discriminative stimuli) that should signal the use of various vehicle controls. by supporting my daughter’s safe behaviors before criticizing her at-risk behaviors? Would he.” From a behavior-based perspective. when we first learn to drive. but she had not been trained.142 Psychology of safety handbook Several methods are available for objectively observing and recording safe vs. In order to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia before the age of 18. She was educated about the concepts and rules regarding driving. For one-half of these sessions they must be the driver.9. When we turn a steering wheel in a particular direction. and then implementing the controls appropriately. feedback must be added to the driving situation if we want behavior to improve.” my daughter said. “I’ve had driver’s education in high school. many other aspects of driving are not followed naturally with feedback consequences. teenagers with a learner’s permit are required to take seven two-hour instructional periods of on-the-road experience with an approved driver-training school. I give a number of examples throughout this and subsequent chapters and hope at least one of these methods will relate directly to the situation in which you want to apply the DO IT process. as shown in Figure 8. This was an opportunity for my daughter to transfer her driver education knowledge to actual performance. or a student in the back seat. Practice does not make perfect. gas pedal. Some tasks give natural feedback to shape our behavior. A personal example My daughter Krista asked me to drive her to the local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office to get her “learner’s permit. I knew better. and cruise-control switches to pushing gas and brake pedals. I wondered whether my daughter’s driving instructor would give her appropriate and systematic feedback regarding her driving “judgment. Of course. and our steering behavior is naturally shaped. windshield wipers. turn signal lever. we see immediately the consequence of our action. Although we get feedback to tell us our steering wheel. The same is true of several other behaviors involved in driving a motor vehicle.

Krista was quite anxious to learn the results and I looked forward to giving her objective behavioral feedback. When we returned home. I wanted to make this a positive experience.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 143 Figure 8. Her percentage of safe driving behaviors (percent safe) was 85 percent and I considered this quite good for our first time. and to do this. seven hours of such observation and feedback is certainly not sufficient to teach safe driving habits. The CBC we eventually used is depicted in Figure 8. To my surprise. We needed a DO IT process for driving. student drivers be overlooked by the instructor and lead to observational learning that some at-risk driving behaviors are acceptable? Developing a driving behavior checklist. I told Krista her “percent safe” score and proceeded to show her the list of safe checkmarks. I totaled the safe and at-risk checkmarks and calculated the percentage of safe behaviors.9 Practice requires feedback to make perfect. Using the critical behavior checklist After refining the CBC and discussing the final behavioral definitions with Krista. Through one-on-one discussion. I made it clear I would be using the CBC on both parts of the roundtrip. I asked my daughter to drive me to the university—about nine miles from home—to pick up some papers. my daughter and I derived a list of critical driving behaviors and then agreed on specific definitions for each item. The first step was to define critical behaviors to target for observation and feedback. Even if the driving instruction is optimal.10. I felt ready to implement the second stage of DO IT—observation. it was necessary to emphasize the behaviors I saw her do correctly. I recognized a need for additional driving instruction for my daughter. My university students practiced using this critical behavior checklist (CBC) a few times with various drivers and refined the list and definitions as a result. while covering the checks in the At-Risk column. Obviously. she did not seem impressed with her 85 percent safe score and . I had good news.

one often neglected by many drivers. “You did great. Day: Start Time: End Time: Comments % Figure 8.35 mph 35 mph. “Where did I screw up?” I continued an attempt to make the experience positive. pushed me to tell her what she did wrong.” “But why wasn’t my score 100 percent?” reacted Krista.10 A critical behavior checklist (CBC) can be used to increase safe driving. In fact. It illustrated the unfortunate reality that the “bottom line” for many people is “where did I make a mistake”? My daughter. She was developing an important safety habit. “Where did I go wrong?” This initial experience with the driving CBC was enlightening in two respects.45 mph 45 mph. “Get to the bottom line.144 Psychology of safety handbook Critical Behavior Checklist for Driving Driver: Date: Observer 1 : Origin: Observer 2 : Destination: Weather : Road Conditions : Behavior Safe At-Risk Safety Belt Use: Turn Signal Use: Left turn Right turn Lane change Intersection Stop: Stop sign Red light Yellow light No activator Speed Limits: 25 mph and under 25 mph. . at age 15. she vehemently denied that she did not always come to a complete stop. A second important outcome from this initial CBC experience was the realization that people can be unaware of their at-risk behaviors and only through objective feedback can this be changed. had already learned that people evaluating her performance seem to be more interested in mistakes than successes. However. by saying. honey. That obviously makes performance evaluation (or appraisal) an unpleasant experience for many people.65 mph Passing: Lane Use: Following Distance (2 sec): Totals: % Safe = Total Safe Observations = Total Safe + At-Risk Obs. My daughter did not readily accept my corrective feedback regarding her four at-risk behaviors. I did remind her that she did use her turn signal at this and every intersection and this was something to be proud of.55 mph 55 mph.” she asserted. Dad. look at the high number of safe behaviors. she was soon convinced of her error when I showed her my data sheet and my comment regarding the particular intersection where there was no traffic and she made only a rolling stop before turning right.

I found this reciprocal application of a CBC to be most useful in developing mutual trust and understanding between us. which I recommend whenever possible. After all.” The psychology of setting children up as driving coaches for their parents is powerful if adults can be open to such a process and show positive support. initial feedback made us “consciously incompetent” with regard to some driving . That is right. 2001). The complete rationale for this conclusion will be apparent by the time you finish reading this Handbook. we learned not to get too hung up on the actual numbers. rigorous research has verified my hypothesis (DePasquale and Geller. too. Krista used the CBC in Figure 8. Rather. It seemed very useful to remind my daughter of her prior success (to increase confidence and set high expectations for the current session) and to focus her attention on particular areas (i. students who received their CBC results from a driving session immediately before their next session showed significantly greater increases in safe driving behaviors than students who received their CBC feedback immediately after a driving session. I discussed the CBC results with my daughter right after a driving session (as a consequence). 1998). While using the checklist does translate education into training through systematic observation and feedback. we became aware of our at-risk driving behaviors. In other words. the CBC in Figure 8. Several feedback sessions were needed before some safe driving behaviors occurred regularly and before some at-risk behaviors decreased markedly or extinguished completely. We also learned that even experienced people can perform at-risk behavior and not even realize it.” Through the CBC feedback process. It is noteworthy that since these valuable feedback sessions with my daughter. I. I found myself asking my daughter to explain my lower than perfect score and arguing about one of the recorded “at-risk” behaviors. we found it more effective to present CBC feedback as an activator than a consequence.. Perhaps your common sense tells you such a process can have dramatic benefits for both parent and child. My students and I have evaluated a systematic application of the CBC for driver training classes (DePasquale and Geller. Specifically. That is. behaviors) for potential improvement.10 to evaluate my driving on several occasions. In other words. How could I not get a perfect driving score when I knew I was being observed? From our experience with the CBC. I had been driving for 37 years and teaching and researching safety for more than 20 years. In fact. was defensive about being 100 percent safe. From unconscious to conscious Figure 8. the principles of psychology revealed in this text indicate the strongest long-term safety-related benefits will occur for the child participant of a well received STAR process.e..Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 145 I really did not appreciate the two lessons from this first application of the driving CBC until my daughter monitored my driving. however. I reviewed the CBC scores of her previous trip (as an activator). Interestingly. we learned to appreciate the fact that through this process people are actively caring for the safety and health of each other in a way that can truly make a difference. The process is called STAR for the critical components of an effective observation and feedback process—“See”—“Think”—“Act”—“Reward. my daughter and I learned the true value of an observation and feedback process. I actually used the CBC as both an activator and a consequence. the real value of the process is the interpersonal coaching that occurs.10 had been refined for use in public transportation vehicles like buses and taxi cabs (Geller. there is plenty of room for error in the numerical scores. Then prior to the next driving session. With my daughter. As mentioned previously.11 depicts the process we often go through when developing safe habits. For these behaviors. After all. My students and I have also produced an instructional videotape and workbook to teach middle school children how to use a CBC to monitor the driving performance of their parents (Geller et al. but awareness did not necessarily result in 100 percent safe behavior scores. Both Krista and I were unaware of some of our at-risk driving behaviors. 2001). 1998). we were “unconsciously incompetent.

for some driving behaviors. Continuous feedback and mutual support resulted in beneficial learning. and now it's a safe habit. but these behaviors were not always habitual.'' UC: '' I no longer think about it. I need to remind myself on every occasion to take the extra time or effort to set the safe example. and staying in the right lane except to pass. I even remained “unconsciously incompetent” . 1988. I barely noticed them. With safety-belt use. I can recall going through each of the stages in Figure 8. When lap belts first appeared in vehicles. These are the behaviors that benefited most from the CBC feedback process.146 Psychology of safety handbook Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence ''bad habits'' ''learning'' Unconscious Competence Conscious Competence ''safe habits'' ''rule governed'' UI: ''I didn't know there was a better way to do it. particularly safetybelt and turn-signal use. 1992).” Feedback made us aware of certain driving rules or the driving situation (activator) that calls for a particular safe behavior.11. They reach the “unconscious competence” stage in Figure 8. behaviors. I am “unconsciously competent” about some safe driving practices.11. especially stopping completely at intersections. because I'm following the approved procedure. Some of my safe driving behaviors have progressed no further than the “conscious competence” stage.'' CI: ''I know there's a better way.'' CC: ''I know I'm doing it right. Thus. developed with our CBC feedback process. because over time I had gotten careless about certain driving practices. maintaining a distance of two seconds behind vehicles in front. I know it's right. The behavior has not become a habit. as reflected in improved percent safe behavior scores on the CBC. we became “consciously competent. Complying with these rules. I need to learn how to do it right. With continuous observation and feedback from both others and ourselves. some safe behaviors become automatic or habitual. This stage involves thinking or talking to oneself to identify activators that require certain safe behaviors and giving self-approval or self-feedback after performing the appropriate safe behavior.'' Figure 8.11 The DO IT process enables shifts from bad to good habits. is referred to as “rule governed” behavior (Malott.

1987). I bet many readers are now in this stage for safety-belt use but can remember being at each of the earlier stages of habit formation. I learned well the statistics that justify the use of vehicle safety belts on every trip. The driving CBC I developed with my daughter illustrates the observation and feedback process recommended by a number of successful behavior-based safety consultants (Krause. First. In the mid-1970s. but which of these safe behaviors are followed when mowing the lawn in your backyard? A DO IT process could increase our use of personal protective equipment at home as well as at work. I actually taught the value of using safety belts in my safety workshops at the time. and graphed my safety-belt use as my vehicle entered and departed the . My vehicle was visible from the large window in my research laboratory. safety-belt use in my vehicle became a habit.. This was the approach used by my students years ago when they observed. Next. I have always buckled up. That was sufficient to change my behavior. I was “consciously incompetent” with regard to this safe behavior. 1995). we need others in our family or work team to observe us with a CBC and then share their findings as actively caring feedback. 1982. they informed me of their little “experiment” by displaying a graph of weekly percentages of my safety-belt use. we need to understand the necessity of behavioral feedback to improve our performance. I still did not buckle up on every trip. see reviews by Petersen. In fact. and Sulzer-Azaroff. 1995. we need to accept the fact that we can all be unconsciously or consciously incompetent with regard to some behaviors. Krause et al. However.” My students were holding me accountable for a behavior I should be performing. For example. At what stage of habit formation are you when you get in the back seat of someone else’s vehicle. 1996. I was “consciously competent. 1989. wearing safety glasses. After two weeks of collecting baseline data without my knowing it. recorded. and steel-toed shoes might be a safe habit on the job.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 147 for safety-belt use in 1974 when vehicles would not start unless the front-seat lap belts were buckled. Even though I knew the value of safety-belt use. and my students began observing whether I was buckled up when entering and leaving the faculty parking lot. 1995. the popular quote “Do as I say. I merely buckled my front-seat lap belt and sat on it. ear plugs. I was appropriately embarrassed by the low percentages for the first two weeks of the “project. and I moved to the optimal “unconscious competence” stage for this behavior. This is the approach used in most of the published studies of the behavior-based approach to safety (for example. The second approach to the Define and Observe stages of DO IT involves a limited CBC (perhaps targeting only one behavior) and does not necessarily involve one-to-one coaching. 1980).” applied to me. From incompetence to competence.. not as I do. I refer to this approach as one-to-one safety coaching because it involves an observer using a CBC to provide instructive behavioral feedback to another person (Geller. From that day on. Then. Two basic approaches The CBC examples described previously illustrate two basic ways of implementing the Define and Observe stages of DO IT. McSween. Like numerous other drivers (as observed by Geller et al. like a taxi cab? It is possible to be “unconsciously competent” in some situations but be “consciously competent” or “consciously incompetent” in another situation for the same behavior.” Subsequently. For about a year I had to think about it each time. 1998). I started to buckle up consistently in the late 1970s only after my students made my belt use the target of an informal DO IT process.

When they see a safe behavior opportunity (SBO). and used willingly throughout a worksite. Thus. * Some applications of the DO IT process have worked well without this permission phase. They might observe such an SBO from their work station or while walking through the plant. Each of these approaches to the Define and Observe stages of DO IT are advantageous for different applications within the same culture. They do not approach another individual specifically to observe him or her. 1990). as discussed earlier in this chapter. With immediate success. several Ford plants expanded the process to target numerous on-the-job work practices (Geller. it is important to understand the basic procedures of each and to consider their advantages and disadvantages. the group members should give each other permission to observe this work practice among themselves. it is best not to argue with them. Intervening to reduce risk must take precedence over recording an observation of at-risk behavior. they should put their CBC aside and intervene. Through use of this CBC. Therefore. In 1984. . For instance. and this behavior change in 1984 alone saved the lives of at least 8 employees and spared about 400 others from serious injury. Vehicle safety-belt use across all Ford plants increased from 8 percent to 54 percent. 1985. if they see an at-risk lifting behavior and are close enough to reduce the risk.12 depicts a sample CBC for safe lifting. observers keep on the lookout for an SBO for lifting. either safe or at risk. usually frequency of occurrence. It often helps to develop a behavior checklist to use during observations. 1988). If some group members do not give permission.” Figure 8. Corporate cost savings were estimated at $10 million during the first year and cumulated to $22 million by the end of 1985 (Gray. as in numerous safetybelt promotion programs (Geller. A work group defines a critical behavior or behavioral outcome to observe. the CBC should list each behavior separately. As discussed earlier. Of course. Simply exclude these individuals from the observations and invite them to join the process whenever they feel ready.” for example. accepted. 1985). obtaining permission first will help develop trust and increase opportunities to expand the list of critical behaviors to target. they take out their checklist and complete it. target behaviors like “safe lifting” and “safe use of stairs” include a few specific behaviors. Participants willing to be observed anonymously for the target behavior(s) use the CBC to maintain daily records of the safe and at-risk behaviors defined by the group. I taught this particular approach to plant safety leaders for 110 different Ford Motor Company plants (Geller. and include columns for checking “safe” or “at risk. behaviors are then added until eventually a comprehensive CBC is developed. For some work settings. I have found it quite useful to start with the simpler approach of targeting only a few CBC behaviors. Rather they look for opportunities for the target behavior to occur. If the target behavior is “safe lifting. a work group might revise the definitions and possibly add a lifting-related behavior relevant to their work area. 1990). after Ford Motor Company obtained remarkable success with applications of the DO IT process to increase vehicle safety-belt use. However.* They will likely participate eventually when they see that the DO IT process is not a “Gotcha Program” but an objective and effective way to care actively for the safety of others and build a Total Safety Culture.148 Psychology of safety handbook faculty parking lot. After defining their target so that two or more observers can reliably observe and record a particular property of the behavior. Starting small This approach targets a limited number of critical behaviors but does not require one-onone observation.

An equipment guard in place. and equipment power locked out properly are in that “safe” condition because of employees’ behaviors. a generic checklist is used to observe behaviors that may occur at various job sites. they take out their CBC and record “safe” or “at risk” to indicate objectively whether the desired safe behavior(s) had occurred to make the condition safe. a work area neat and clean. This process could be used to hold people accountable for numerous behaviors or behavioral outcomes. The CBC depicted in Figure 8. If the performer wishes not to be observed. most equipment and environmental audits reflect behaviors. Multiple behavior CBCs might be specific to a particular job or be generic in nature.don't twist smooth motion . This helps to build the trust needed to eventually reach 100 percent participation in the DO IT process. Observing multiple behaviors As the list of targets on a CBC increases. It is quite analogous to the standard environmental audit conducted throughout industrial complexes to survey equipment conditions. environmental hazards. Auditing several critical behaviors usually puts observers in close contact with another person (the performer). the observer should leave with no argument and a friendly smile. even though a work group might have agreed on the observation process in earlier education and training meetings. only relevant for operating a motor vehicle.13 is generic because it is applicable for any job that requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). it becomes more and more difficult to complete a checklist from a remote location.12 A critical behavior checklist (CBC) can be used to increase safe lifting. and the availability of emergency supplies. In contrast. a tool appropriately sharpened. The observer should seek permission from the performer before recording any observations. 1995). A behavior auditor might look for an SBO regarding any number of safe environmental conditions.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 149 Observer: Target Behavior Date: Safe At-Risk load appropriate hold close use legs move feet .no jerks Comments (use back if necessary): % Safe Observations: Total Safe Observations X 100 = Total Safe Observations + At-Risk Observations % Figure 8. Because different PPE . Actually. resulting in a one-on-one coaching situation (Geller. When they see an opportunity for the safe target behavior to have occurred. The driving CBC I used with Krista was a job-specific checklist.

Such information might suggest a need to make certain PPE more comfortable or convenient to use.13 A critical behavior checklist (CBC) can be used to increase the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). the overall percentage of safe employees can be monitored. The CBC in Figure 8. Obviously. the observer needs to know PPE requirements before attempting to use a CBC like the one shown in Figure 8. he or she places a checkmark in the left box (for total number of observations). additional behaviors will be targeted on the CBC.12 can be used to calculate an overall percent safe score. 2000). If the performer was using all PPE required in the work area. this CBC was designed to conduct several one-on-one behavior audits over a period of time. The checkmarks in the individual behavior categories of the CBC in Figure 8. . a check would be placed in the right-hand box. certain PPE categories on the CBC may be irrelevant for some observations. It might also suggest the need for special intervention as discussed in the next three chapters.150 Psychology of safety handbook Critical Behavior Checklist for Personal Protective Equipment Observation period (dates): Observer: TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OBSERVED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OBSERVED USING ALL REQUIRED PPE PPE (For Observed Area) Gloves Safety Glasses/Shield Hearing Protection Safety Shoes Hard Hat Lifting Belt SAFE OBSERVATION (Proper Use of PPE) AT-RISK OBSERVATION (Improper or No Use of PPE) TOTAL Figure 8.13. This enables valuable feedback regarding the relative use of various devices to protect employees. Also. might be required on different jobs.13 includes a place for the observer’s name. the percentage of safe behaviors for each PPE category can be assessed. but the performer’s name is not recorded.12. by dividing the total number of safe checks by the total safe and at-risk checks. See the formula at the bottom of the CBC in Figure 8. Chapter 12 also includes additional information on the design of CBCs for one-onone behavior observation. The formula at the bottom of the CBC in Figure 8.13 are totaled and. For jobs requiring extra PPE. Each time the observer performs an observation. We have found it very effective to post this global score weekly for different work teams. Such social comparison information presumably motivated performance improvement through friendly intergroup competition (Williams and Geller. From these entries.

it is important to understand how the first two stages of DO IT can facilitate a proper behavioral analysis of the situation. T. Blacksburg.. A critical behavior checklist (CBC) is used to observe and record the relative frequency (or percentage of opportunities) critical behaviors occur throughout a work setting. Appl. If the CBC contains only a few behaviors or behavioral outcomes (conditions caused by behavior).. D. Behavior Modification in Applied Settings. Geller. K.. E. Casali. VA. 94. Organ. Neenah. E. Defining critical behaviors to target for observation and intervention is not easy. J. Geller. and Johnson. 1994. Saf. 1998. C. Over time and through building trust.. the team needs to struggle through defining these behaviors so precisely that all observers agree on a particular property of each behavior at least 80 percent of the time. Anal. Van Nostrand Reinhold. J. Introduction to invited address by E... New York. Geller. S. 38. Geller. E. First. 45(5). VA. Manage. 2001. S. Geller at the annual National Safety Council Congress and Exposition. it is possible to conduct observations without engaging in a one-on-one coaching session. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. injury records. S. Geller. Saf.. S.. Safety coaching is one very effective way to implement each stage of the DO IT process and is detailed in Chapter 12. After selecting a list of behaviors critical to preventing injuries in their work area.. Keller & Associates. P. A. E. R. A. McGorry. 149. J. Safety coaching: key to achieving a Total Safety Culture. October. Prof.. 2000. 1995. Glaser.. Performance management and occupational safety: start with a safety belt program. Pacific Grove. References DePasquale. H. Center for Applied Behavior Systems. WI.. J. 1980. a short CBC can be readily expanded and lead to one-on-one safety coaching. Seat-belt usage: a potential target for applied behavior analysis. Employee-Driven Systems for Safe Behavior: Integrating Behavioral and Statistical Methodologies. A work team needs to consult a variety of sources.. under editorial review. Behav.. 1990. CA. R. 1988. Behav. 5th ed. S. It is not as overwhelming or time-consuming as one-on-one coaching with a comprehensive CBC. S. Blacksburg. This chapter focused on the first two stages—Define and Observe. 11(1). . J. nearhit reports. Geller. 1985. Kazdin. 2nd ed. J. Orlando. E. S.. and the plant safety director. Inc.. The behavioral property most often observed for industrial safety is frequency of occurrence per individual worker or per group of employees. Ten leadership qualities for a Total Safety Culture: safety management is not enough. G.. Corporate Safety Belt Programs. S. E. 1995.. and Geller. 13.. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Understanding Behavior-Based Safety: Step-by-Step Methods to Improve Your Workplace... Virginia Tech. J. FL. E. This is the topic of the next chapter. Krause. Geller. including the workers themselves.Chapter eight: Identifying critical behaviors 151 In conclusion In this chapter we have gotten into the “nuts and bolts” of implementing a behavior-based safety process to develop a Total Safety Culture. job hazard analyses. P. This is often the best approach to use when first introducing behavior-based safety to a work culture.. E. 1998. The Safety STAR Process: Involving Young People in the Reduction of Highway Fatalities. S. 40(7) 16. Intervening to improve driving instruction: should behavioral feedback be an antecedent or a consequence?. Chevaillier. Prof. each letter representing one of the four stages of behavior-based safety. E. The overall process is referred to as DO IT.. Gray. S.. and Cronin.

Perseus Books. Wiley. J. S. 135. Sulzer-Azaroff. Goshen. J.. New York. 1997. Langer. Accid. Reading. 1953. New York. 1989. 1988. Skinner. T. and Hodson.. MA. Res. Saf. 1982. Malott. W.. 177. Behav. 1996. B. 2nd ed. Langer. 1992. Williams. Anal. 31(3). Sulzer-Azaroff. S.. E. Safe Behavior Reinforcement. 1969... Mindful Learning.. 22. F.. NY. 181. Mindfulness. Behavior-based intervention for occupational safety: critical impact of social comparison feedback J. J. R. Manage. D. and Geller. Malott. 1995. 45. Appleton-Century-Crofts.. Occup. McSween. L. A theory of rule-governed behavior and organizational behavior management.. Hidley. New York. 1989.... W. E. E. New York. Organ. The Behavior-Based Safety Process: Managing Involvement for an Injury-Free Culture. Rule-governed behavior and behavioral anthropology. Petersen. Inc. MA. R. . Behavioral approaches to occupational safety and health. S. E. Perseus Books. 12(2). F. Science and Human Behavior. Frederiksen.. J. Aloray. B. Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis. The modification of occupational safety behavior. Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1987. Behav.. Macmillan. H... Skinner. H.152 Psychology of safety handbook Krause. B. B.. J. S. 2000. 9.. T. Ed. in Handbook of Organizational Behavior Management.. The Values-Based Safety Process: Improving Your Safety Culture with a Behavioral Approach. R. New York. Reading.. Van Nostrand Reinhold..

Often this includes suggestions for making the safe behavior more convenient. The CBC (critical behavior checklist) was introduced as a way to look for the occurrence of critical behaviors during a work routine and then offer workers one-on-one feedback about what was safe and what was at risk. support. all checks in the safe columns of all CBCs).e. The global “percent safe score” does not provide direction regarding which particular behaviors need improvement. an overall global score can be calculated by dividing the total number of behavioral observations (i. all checks on all CBCs) into the total number of safe observations (i. of course. The checks in the safe and at-risk columns of a CBC can be readily summarized in a “percent safe score. behavioral direction is provided. behavioral direction is needed. and personal factors influencing at-risk behavior in order to determine the most cost-effective corrective action.. When the CBC is reviewed during a one-on-one coaching session. This is behavioral coaching and is explained in more detail in Chapter 12. motivation. Critical distinctions are made between four types of intervention—instruction.e.chapter nine Behavioral safety analysis The defining and observing processes of DO IT provide opportunities to evaluate the situational factors contributing to at-risk behavior and a possible injury. . This provides an overall estimate of the safety of the workforce with regard to the critical behaviors targeted in the observation step of DO IT. This assumes. A global “percent safe score” is not sufficient. and between accountability and responsibility. This chapter details the procedures of a behavioral safety analysis. It might also include the removal of barriers (physical and social) that inhibit safe behavior. including a step-by-step examination of the situational. 2000). If some employees are not sure of the safe way to perform a certain job. comfortable. but it can provide motivation to a workforce that wants to improve (Williams and Geller. social. The worker sees what critical behaviors were observed as “safe” and “at-risk. that the workers know the safe operating procedures for every work task.”—Socrates Chapter 8 introduced the DO IT process and provided some detail about the first two steps—define target behavior(s) to improve and observe the target behavior occurring naturally in the work environment. “A prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. It is an achievement-oriented index that holds employees accountable for things they can control. and self-management—between training and education.” A constructive conversation with the coach provides support for safe behavior and corrective feedback for behavior that could be safer. and easier to remember..” As I discussed in the previous chapter.

and behaviors so crucial to a constructive.1 The display of behavioral feedback provides direction and motivation for improvement.1. apathy. as depicted in Figure 9. The key is constructive. It is important to have frank and open group conversations about the physical and social barriers to safe behavior. behavior-based conversation—analysis. One key to making a conversation constructive is to have useful information. calculate separate percentages for each behavior. Information is needed about environmental and social factors that influence the occurrence or nonoccurrence of critical behaviors. The quality of a completed CBC usually increases with the number of useful comments. behavior-focused conversation at both the group and individual level. Often behaviors not targeted by the CBC become relevant. Where does this information come from? You guessed it. This enables a second key to having a constructive. it comes from the behavioral observations and it is more than the various percentages derived from tallying and dividing certain column checks. perhaps because they facilitate or hinder the performance of a critical behavior or because they should be included on a revision of the CBC. So while an observer is checking for safe or at-risk occurrences of critical behaviors. That is. or a mismatch between a person’s talents and the job. and discussed in team meetings. he or she is watching for contributing factors to at-risk behavior. Here is where the observer records any observations that might be useful in a one-to-one feedback session or a group discussion. The results can be posted in a prominent location. instead of adding safe and at-risk checks across behaviors. as well as for the occurrence of behaviors that ought to be included on a revised CBC. Figure 9. . Where on a CBC does an observer record these unanticipated conditions. Figures 8. events. The synergy from group discussion can result in creative ways to make work settings more user friendly and conducive to safe behavior.10 and 8.12). Group consensus-building (as detailed later in Chapter 18) can help establish new social norms regarding the safe way to do something.154 Psychology of safety handbook Groups can receive support and direction for specific behavior if a “percent safe score” is derived per behavior. behavior-based conversation? Every CBC should have a place for comments (see. Sometimes behavior reflects misunderstanding or a need for education and training or certain behaviors could suggest fatigue. Then the group can see which critical behaviors are safe and which need improvement. for example.

property damage. For example. we are indeed vulnerable to malpractice. as reflected by noncompliance. this discrepancy is between behavior considered to be at risk vs. a difference exists between the behavior demonstrated and the behavior desired. entertain ways to make the job more user friendly before deciding what behaviors are needed to prevent injury. . Without a careful behavioral analysis of the situation requiring intervention or corrective action.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 155 The information in the “Comment” section of a CBC is invaluable in determining what factors contribute to at-risk behavior and should be changed to reduce such behavior. This is obviously not fault finding nor victim blaming. we are not talking about “accident investigation. Reducing behavioral discrepancy It is important to consider human performance problems as a discrepancy rather than a deficiency (Mager and Pipe. safe.” The worker might have failed to perform a particular safe behavior because he took a short cut or the individual could have performed a certain behavior that puts someone at risk for injury. In other words. reach. the possibility of a constructive discussion of personal factors potentially contributing to the incident increases markedly. This is the theme of this chapter. When evaluating safety problems. This is. Thus. In addition to providing direction for recording observations in the comment section of a CBC. In other words. The behavioral discrepancy could be a “sin of omission” or a “sin of substitution. we need to conduct a proper behavior analysis. as illustrated in Figure 9. Control designs with different shapes so they can be discriminated by touch as well as sight. Can the task be simplified? Before designing an intervention to reduce a behavioral discrepancy. make sure all possible engineering “fixes” have been implemented. Before intervening to correct a problem. The purpose is to determine the most cost-effective corrective action. 1980). As discussed earlier in Chapter 6. or personal injury.” This is “incident analysis” with a focus on behavior. of course. consider the many ways the environment could be changed to reduce physical effort. Afterward. it makes sense to begin a behavior analysis with a discussion of environmental or engineering factors. and repetition. Sometimes behavior facilitators can be added. an action plan can be designed to reduce the discrepancy between what is and what should be. Let us consider the variety of situations or work contexts that can influence a behavioral discrepancy. the rationale behind ergonomics and the search for engineering solutions to occupational safety and health. people involved in an injury feel more comfortable discussing environment-related causes than individual factors. Too often “retraining” or “discipline” (meaning punishment) are selected impulsively as a corrective action for behavior change when another less costly and more effective approach is called for. After deciding what is safe and what is at risk for a particular individual and work situation. This places the focus on the behavior. such as 1. this chapter offers basic guidelines for analyzing the behavioral aspects of a near hit or injury. A proper behavioral safety analysis enables the selection of the most cost-effective intervention. In other words. 1997).2. Given this self-serving bias (Schlenker. not the individual. when people experience failure. they are more likely to place blame on external than personal factors.

comfortable. it is possible complex assignments can be redesigned to involve fewer steps or more people. Behavior-based instruction or demonstration can overcome invisible expectations. Plus. Clear instructions placed at the point of application. In these cases. reduce memory load. To reduce boredom or repetition. Mager and Pipe (1997) conclude that many discrepancies between real and ideal behavior can be eliminated with relatively little effort. . Ask these questions at the start of a behavior analysis: • Can an engineering intervention make the job more user friendly? • Can the task be redesigned to reduce physical demands? • Can a behavior facilitator be added to improve response differentiation. Color codes to aid memory and task differentiation (Norman. or efficient. and behavior-based feedback can enable continuous improvement. Furthermore.2 We are reluctant to accept personal responsibility for our injuries. behavior might be more at risk than desired because expectations are unclear. or feedback is unavailable. or increase reliability? • Can the challenges of a complex task be shared? • Can boring. 3. Convenient machine lifts or conveyor rollers to help with physical jobs. 2. 1988). repetitive jobs be swapped? Is a quick fix available? From their more than 60 combined years of analyzing and solving human performance problems. simple tasks might allow for job swapping. solutions to reducing a behavioral discrepancy are obvious and relatively inexpensive.156 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 9. 4. More specifically. a work team could decide what resources are needed to make a safe behavior more convenient. resources are inadequate.

or efficient than the at-risk alternative. the interpersonal consequences for reporting an environmental hazard or near hit are more negative than positive. In other words. convenient. and these consequences determine our future behavior.3. a safety manager might consider an individual’s public safety award a positive consequence. Sometimes naturally occurring consequences work against us. How about the “rate busters” in industry and school who excel in work quantity or quality? Praise from supervisors and teachers is often overshadowed by punishing consequences from coworkers and classmates. ask these questions. This is called empathy and is illustrated in Figure 9. After all. For example. but for the individual it could be a negative consequence because of expected harassment from coworkers. a key principle of applied behavior analysis is that behavior is motivated by its consequences. Those analyzing an incident need to try to see the situation through the eyes of the performer (Geller. This is especially true in safety because safe behavior is usually less comfortable. these situations imply that Figure 9. The result is often a reduction in individual output. In some work cultures.3 It is useful to see a situation through the eyes of the other person. our behavior results in favorable or unfavorable consequences. 2000). . Some consequences might actually seem positive to an observer but be viewed as negative by the performer. • • • • • Does the individual know what safety precautions are expected? Are there obvious barriers to safe work practices? Is the equipment as safe as possible under the circumstances? Is protective equipment readily available and as comfortable as possible? Do employees receive behavior-based feedback related to their safety? Is safe behavior punished? As I explained in Chapter 8.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 157 When conducting this aspect of a behavioral analysis.

4? It is really not rare for the best performers to be “rewarded” with extra work. Short cuts are usually taken to save time and can lead to a faster rate of output. I have analyzed several . a behavioral discrepancy might occur to avoid extra work assignments. That might seem like an efficient management decision.” Mager and Pipe (1997) refer to these situations as “upside-down consequences” and suggest that whenever a behavioral discrepancy exists. • What are the consequences for desired behavior? • Are there more negative than positive consequences for safe behavior? • What negative consequences for safe behavior can be reduced or removed? Is at-risk behavior rewarded? As indicated previously. Ask these questions during your behavior analysis. So taking on at-risk short cuts can be labeled “efficient” behavior. In other words. someone was irresponsible or careless. Are people put down when they should be lifted up? Are the consequences for performing well punishing rather than rewarding as illustrated in Figure 9. The hidden agenda might be that “only a ‘chicken’ would wear that fall protection.158 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 9. It might even be considered “cool” or “macho” to work unprotected and take risky short cuts. at-risk behavior is often followed by natural positive consequences. It is not unusual for people to be ridiculed for wearing protective gear or using an equipment guard. part of the problem is owing to the desired behavior being punished.4 Sometimes exemplary performance is punished. Giving extra work for exemplary performance can lead to avoidance behavior. but the long-term results of this “upside-down consequence” could be detrimental.

• What are the soon. and positive consequences for at-risk behavior? • Does a worker receive more attention. Can the punishment consequences be implemented consistently and fairly? Can the safety incentives stifle the reporting of injuries and near misses? Do the safety incentives motivate the achievement of safety-process goals? Do monetary rewards foster participation only for a financial payoff and conceal the real benefit of safety-related behavior—injury prevention? • Are workers recognized individually and as teams for completing process activities related to safety improvement? Figure 9.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 159 work environments. prestige. certain. a careful behavior analysis of the work situation is needed (as outlined previously) to determine what kinds of motivating consequences should be removed from or added to the work context. each consequence manipulation in Figure 9. certain. influence occurrences of safety-related and production-related behaviors. Three categories of behavior are shown (safe. 1996).5 depicts a variety of extra and extrinsic consequences that can influence occurrences of safe or at-risk behavior. • • • • . In these cultures. Most people perform the way they do because they expect to achieve soon. These usually take the form of incentive–reward or disincentive –penalty programs. Disincentives are often ineffective because they are used inconsistently and motivate avoidance behavior rather than achievement. certain. at risk. and negative consequences. thus. Behavior does not occur in a vacuum. many of these programs do more harm than good because they are implemented ineffectively (Geller. for example. safety incentive programs based on outcomes stifle the development and administration of an effective safety incentive program to improve behavior. He could handle equipment problems without slowing down production. Unfortunately. Ask these questions. and positive consequences or they expect to avoid soon. Ask these questions when analyzing the impact of extra consequences put in place to motivate improved safety performance. Therefore. or status from coworkers for at-risk than safe behavior? • What rewarding consequences for at-risk behavior can be reduced or removed? Are extra consequences used effectively? Because the natural consequences of comfort.5 can be considered a corrective action. or efficiency usually support at-risk over safe behavior. They are given only to illustrate the variety of potential individual and group consequences that can change the context of a work situation and.5 are not presented as recommended interventions. and production related) as potentially influenced by four different types of behavior-based consequences. People take calculated risks because they expect to gain something positive and/or avoid something negative. where bypassing or overriding the power lockout switches was acceptable because it benefited production—the bottom line. it is often necessary to add extra consequences. the worker who could fix or adjust equipment without locking out the power was a hero. Obviously. None of the consequence examples are natural or intrinsic to the task. The consequence examples in Figure 9. Details about designing an effective safety incentive–reward program are given in Chapter 11. Rather they are added to the situation in an attempt to sustain desired behavior or change undesired behavior. convenience. Moreover.

but since they do not. A very different kind of situation also calls for skill maintenance training. people need to go through the motions just to “stay in practice. So training should really be the least used approach for corrective action. • • • • Could the person perform the task safely if his or her life depended on it? Are the person’s current skills adequate for the task? Did the person ever know how to perform the job safely? Has the person forgotten the safest way to perform the task? What kind of training is needed? Answers to the last two questions can help pinpoint the kind of intervention needed to reduce a skill discrepancy.5 Various extrinsic consequences can influence safety-related behaviors. Mager and Pipe (1997) claim that most of the time a behavioral discrepancy is not caused by a genuine lack of skill. This is when certain behaviors occur regularly.” Then. of course. Fortunately. Is there a skill discrepancy? But what about those times when the individual really does not know how to do the prescribed safe behavior? The person is “unconsciously incompetent. This is. emergencies do not happen very often.160 Psychology of safety handbook Safe Behavior At-Risk Behavior Production Behavior Individual Consequence Reward Penalty "Thank You "Sissy" or other Card" for non-macho cleaning up comment for spill using PPE Praise for Verbal adjusting reprimand for equipment walking outside without locking yellow line out power Written Praise for warning for working 12 hours overtime omitting a quality check Group Consequence Reward Penalty Group Team ranked celebration after at bottom for 100 coaching attendance at sessions safety meetings High-fives for Group team lifting reprimand for without a host unreported property damage Group Work team efficiency ranked last on plaque for "Resource fastest work Management" Figure 9. they will be ready to do the right thing. Contrary to circumstances . but discrepancies still exist. a “yes” answer to these questions implies the need for a skill maintenance program. Usually people can perform the safe behavior if the conditions and the consequences are right.” This situation might call for training which is a relatively expensive approach to corrective action. Skill maintenance might be needed to help a person stay skilled such as police officers practicing regularly on a pistol range to stay ready to use their guns effectively in the rare situation when they need them. People need to practice the behaviors that could prevent injury or save a life during an emergency. the rationale behind periodic emergency training. Ask these questions to determine whether the behavioral discrepancy is caused by a lack of skill. More specifically. if the infrequent event does occur.

However. with some safe driving practices dropping out of some people’s driving repertoire completely. Ask these questions to determine whether the individual has the potential to handle the job safely and effectively. for example. thus. If you do not. • Does the person have the physical capability to perform as desired? • Does the person have the mental capability to handle the complexities of the task? • Is the person overqualified for the job and. In this case. the person gets plenty of practice doing the behavior ineffectively or unsafely. but what if a person’s interests. it is a good idea to assess whether the person is right for the task. The first approach is exemplified by simplifying the task. As described in Chapter 8. practice does not make perfect but rather serves to entrench a bad (or at-risk) habit.” (Yes. However. Vehicle driving behavior is perhaps the most common and relevant example of this second kind of situation in need of skill maintenance training. I used this kind of behavior-based coaching to teach my daughter safe driving practices and she used the same technique to give me feedback about a few of my driving behaviors that had drifted from the ideal. but the training process would take relatively long and I would not like it. • How often is the desired skill performed? • Does the performer receive regular feedback relevant to skill maintenance? • How does the performer find out how well he or she is doing? Is the person right for the job? From this discussion it is clear a skill discrepancy can be handled in one of two ways. and be “computer challenged. Practice with appropriate behavior-based feedback is critical for solving both types of skill discrepancies. you will increase the risk for personal injury. the cost-effective solution is to replace the performer. prone to boredom or dissatisfaction? • Can the person learn how to do the job as desired? . More details on behavior-based coaching are presented in Chapter 12. or prior experiences are incompatible with the job? The person might be like me. and at one time they showed little discrepancy between safe and atrisk driving. I am writing the first draft of this Handbook by hand). Sure I could learn how to operate and even fix a computer if my life depended on it. for many drivers.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 161 requiring emergency training. Change the job or change the behavior. while the latter approach is reflected in practice and behavior-based feedback or behavioral coaching. Ask these questions to determine whether the cause of the apparent skill discrepancy is owing to lack of practice or lack of feedback. So before investing in skill training for a particular individual. Most drivers know how to drive a vehicle safely. at-risk drivers might need behavior-based coaching to improve. safe driving has deteriorated. skills. Rather. you will not only suboptimize work output. it is often necessary to add an extra feedback intervention to overpower the natural consequences that have caused the behavior to drift from the ideal. If the person does not have the motivation or the physical and mental capabilities for a particular assignment. this problem is not lack of practice. if the skill is already used frequently but has deteriorated (as in the driving example). Whereas the police officer gets task-inherent feedback to improve performance on the pistol range.

The principles and methods of behavior-based safety are applicable in many situations—when and wherever human performance is a factor and can be improved.” A behavioral incident analysis will likely give priority to a number of alternative intervention approaches. Before deciding on an intervention approach. to achieve a Total Safety Culture. analysis. including behavioral observation and interpersonal coaching.7 illustrates one reason. In summary Figure 9. as I have indicated in earlier chapters. behavior-based safety training is needed throughout a work culture. Thus. but I hope a more proactive rationale can motivate participation. my Ph. and traveling in between. First. Everyone in a workforce needs to understand the basic rationale or theory behind the behavior-based approach.162 Psychology of safety handbook What is the Performance Discrepancy? Which Solution(s) yield the most for least effort? Is Change Called For? What Kind of Training is Needed? Can the Task be Simplified? Is the Person Right for the Task? Are Expectations Clear? Is There a Skill Discrepancy? Is Behavior-Based Feedback Available? What are the Natural Consequences? Figure 9. training in behavior-based safety provides skills useful in numerous domains at work. are new to most people. Therefore. engineering strategies are considered for task simplification. Before an individual worker is targeted with a training intervention. Do not impulsively assume corrective action to improve behavior requires training or “discipline. Behavior-based safety training The principles and procedures of behavior-based safety. I discuss critical disadvantages of using “discipline” or a punishment approach to corrective action in Chapter 11. conduct a careful analysis of the situation. Why should employees want such training? Figure 9. students and I systematically evaluated 20 different industrial sites where behavior-based safety had been in effect for at least one . Then work teams need to participate in exercises to customize observation. Finally.D. at home. practice sessions are needed in which individuals and teams receive supportive and corrective feedback regarding their implementation of behavior-based safety—from designing a CBC and analyzing CBC results to using a CBC for constructive intervention. during recreational and sport activities.6 Ask ten basic questions to conduct a behavior-based incident analysis. and the individual(s) involved in an observed discrepancy between desired and actual behavior. and feedback procedures for their work areas. The bottomline. behavior-based safety works to reduce injuries. In a comprehensive research project. the behavior.6 summarizes the main steps of a behavior-based incident analysis with a flow chart of ten basic questions to ask.

. they need to trust that implementing the methods of behavior-based safety will work to prevent injuries. or empowerment. Obviously. This is how safety can come to be viewed as a top-down “flavor of the month. There is a difference. ownership. are you satisfied if your teenager receives only “driver education. safety education Let us understand the difference between education and training. They might even see . Safety training vs.7 Most employees in a work culture need basic behavior-based safety training. They will perceive the program as a requirement rather than an opportunity to make a difference. This requires education. 1998a. you already know the distinction. Thus. misusing these terms can lead to problems. 1999.” If we do not educate people about the principles or rationale behind a particular safety policy. The factor which predicted the greatest amount of employee participation in behavior-based safety was having effective and comprehensive training in behavior-based safety. The purpose of this NIOSH-supported research was to determine the critical success factors for behavior-based safety (DePasquale and Geller.” or do you prefer some “training” with that education? Because people know intuitively the difference between education and training. We might perceive safety training as a step-by-step procedure or program with no room for individual creativity. people need to know how to carry out a process. the value of giving quality behavior-based safety training cannot be overemphasized. Actually. Geller et al. They need sufficient training to feel confident they can complete every procedural step effectively. they might participate only minimally. year. not training. After the implementation of the behavior-based approach. More specifically. program or process.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 163 Figure 9. but they also need to believe the process is worthwhile.b). injuries were reduced significantly at each of these sites. Do you want your teenager to receive sex education or sex training? In contrast.

we clown around with our biased common themselves as animals in a “circus. When I lecture to large groups of university students or to safety professionals and hourly workers. Learning the theory or principles behind an intervention approach is crucial for customizing intervention procedures for a particular work situation. With proper education. 1991. We use our biased and ineffective common sense. and with a change in procedures. Indeed. write statements on a blackboard or flipchart.8 sense. People need both education and training to improve. As Deming is known for reiterating at his quality and productivity workshops. By the same token. additional training is obviously needed. safety education without follow-up training will not reap optimal benefits.8. rather than as members of a safety community. but after the procedures are developed—hopefully with input from an educated work team—training is necessary. Bottomline. Different teaching techniques Teaching styles are not the same for education and training. “There’s no substitute for knowledge” (Deming. we are like the clown in Figure 9. these participants can refine or upgrade procedures when appropriate. without gaining profound knowledge through education and training. I might use brightly colored overheads. make an extreme statement to elicit contrary reaction. People need to know precisely what to do. Without education and training.” well trained to jump through hoops. or ask pointed questions and solicit answers from the audience. 1992).164 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 9. I use various techniques to maintain attention and get participants involved in the learning process. empowered to go beyond the call of duty for safety. My purpose is to influence the participants’ cognitive or thinking . We do our best with what we now know.

This kind of presentation might increase profound knowledge or critical thinking skills. In this way. People need to learn the specific behaviors or activities required for successful implementation. In this case.” An illustrative example My colleagues at Safety Performance Solutions use both education and training to teach safety coaching skills. and a third person gives rewarding and/or corrective feedback. Participants in a training course should practice the desired behavior and receive pertinent feedback to support what is right and correct what is wrong. Training targets behavior directly and might indirectly influence thought processes. If feedback is given genuinely in a trusting and caring atmosphere. one person sets the stage. 1997). Then they use group exercises to implement a training process. When the skit is performed in front of the group. In one variation of this training process. and this could lead to behavior change. I try to “think a person into behaving a certain way. Then training would “act a person into a certain way of thinking.” In other words. This requires training and should include behavior-based observation and feedback. After the group acts out appropriate safety coaching. Attitudes.” I hope it is clear that both training and education are needed. This is commonly referred to as education. education targets thought processes directly and might indirectly influence what people do. however.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 165 processes (Langer. but one’s thinking or attitude associated with the behavior might be positive. This typically calls for more than a lecture format. In summary Although the title of this section is “Behavior-Based Safety Training. or awareness is not sufficient. and ways to improve these critical human dimensions. teaching the basic principles behind a behavior-based approach to coaching. This teaching frequently includes restating the underlying principle or rationale. we have asked groups to first show us the wrong way to coach and then to demonstrate the right way. people need to understand and believe in the theory and principles underlying the behavior-based approach to preventing injuries. First. intentions. participants develop a brief skit to demonstrate the coaching principles they have learned. values. . the feedback from the audience and the educator/trainer improves the performance. beliefs. everyone can give feedback on how principles translate into practice. whereas behaviors are directly influenced through training. the audience can offer supportive and corrective feedback. participants need to practice the behaviors called for by the intervention process and then receive constructive behaviorfocused feedback from objective and vigilant observers. consultants. Making this distinction between education and training in conversation and application can help to straighten out the apparent confusion among safety professionals. belief. Training might start with a specification of the steps needed to accomplish a particular task but more than this is needed to assure certain skills or procedures are learned. and perceptions can be influenced directly through education. If done right. They start with education. Usually the educator/trainer finds opportunities to add to an observer’s feedback and points out how that feedback could have been more constructive. behavior might not only be directly improved. In other words. to implement a particular behavior-based safety process. Understanding. education and training go handin-hand to maximize real benefits from the learning process. In one small-group exercise. and employees regarding differences between attitudes and behaviors. another person demonstrates safe or at-risk behavior. For example.

because such a transition usually requires a relevant change in personal motivation. people need to become aware of their undesirable habit (as in . people are “consciously incompetent. for example. The bottom line is that a strategic combination of both education and training is needed to improve both behavior and attitude. maybe. belief. 1997). Of course. Here we examine some basic principles about behavior and behavior-change techniques that should influence your choice of an improvement intervention. intention. Under certain circumstances. or values indirectly if the behavior change is accepted by the participant and perceived as related to a particular attitude. or value. and instruction represents a type of intervention. education and training are instruction. After performing some behaviors frequently and consistently over a period of time they become automatic. our behavior can become self-directed. depending on their short. belief. the target behavior must become self-directed. in the sense that we follow someone else’s instructions. We can talk to ourselves or formulate an image before performing a behavior in order to activate the right response. We begin with a distinction among other-directed. In this state. Training can also influence attitudes. an operation’s manual. or value which is perceived as linked to a certain behavior. instruction is sufficient to change behavior. and automatic behavior (Watson and Tharp. and another type of intervention is needed. whether another approach to corrective action would be more cost-effective—from redesigning a task to clarifying expectations and providing behavior-based feedback. Then subsequent chapters provide guidance for designing a certain type of behavior-change intervention. Sometimes instruction does not work. recognition. we are choosing intentionally to ignore a safety precaution or take a short cut in order to perform more efficiently or with more comfort or convenience. If implemented correctly. beliefs. In other words. Three types of behavior On-the-job behavior starts out as other-directed behavior. After learning what to do. or policy statement. This section provides information critical for making such a recommendation. Some habits are good and some are not good. Such direction can come from a training program. our self-directed behavior is not always desirable. This included a sequence of questions to ask in order to decide whether instructional intervention is needed. rewards. Sometimes we talk to ourselves after performing a behavior in order to reassure ourselves we performed it correctly or we figure out ways to do better next time. intention. essentially by memorizing or internalizing the appropriate instructions. self-directed. and other positive consequences can facilitate the transfer of behavior from the self-directed phase to the habit phase. we are usually open to corrective feedback that is delivered well. Perhaps a motivational intervention is called for or. Intervention and the flow of behavior change Taken together. At this point.166 Psychology of safety handbook Education can influence behaviors indirectly if the education process changes an attitude. We have already covered a variety of situational factors that influence the occurrence of safe or at-risk behavior. A complete behavioral safety analysis should often include a recommendation for a certain type of behavior-change intervention. intentions. When we take a calculated risk.and long-term consequences. Before a bad habit can be changed to a good habit. only supportive intervention is needed.” It is often difficult to change self-directed behavior from incompetent to competent. A habit is formed.

• Turning a risky habit (when the person is unconsciously incompetent) into selfdirected behavior. An incentive –reward program is external and extrinsic. and directive feedback.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 167 at-risk behavior) before adjustment is possible. It adds an activator (an incentive) and a consequence (a reward) to the situation in order to direct and motivate desirable behavior (Geller. I explained the ABC model as a framework to understand and analyze behavior as well as to develop interventions for improving behavior. Once a person learns the right way to do something. Because your purpose is to instruct. if the person is motivated to improve (perhaps as a result of an incentive –reward program). Let us see what kinds of behavior-based interventions are appropriate for the three transitions referred to previously. • Changing risky self-directed behavior (when the person is consciously incompetent) to safe self-directed behavior. this type of intervention is more effective when the instructions are specific and given one-on-one. and “C” refers to the consequences following behavior and produced by it. While instructional intervention consists primarily of activators. practice is important so the behavior becomes part of a natural routine. as exemplified by education sessions. An instructional intervention is typically an activator or antecedent event used to get new behavior started or to move behavior from the automatic (habit) stage to the self-directed stage or it is used to improve behavior already in the selfdirected stage. when we give people rewarding feedback or recognition for particular safe behavior. so external motivation is not needed—only external and extrinsic direction. 1996). The aim is to get the performer’s attention and instruct him or her to transition from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence. while consequences motivate behavior. • Turning safe self-directed behavior (when the person is consciously competent) into a safe habit (unconscious competence). in many cases. This is an especially desirable state for safety-related behavior. This type of intervention consists primarily of activators. supportive intervention focuses on the application of positive consequences. Continued practice leads to fluency and. meaning they provide direction or motivation naturally as a task is performed (as in a computer game) or they are added to the situation extrinsically in order to improve performance. As we have all experienced. you remember activators direct behavior. They also allow participants the chance to receive rewarding feedback for their improvement. we are showing our . Activators and consequences are external to the performer (as in the environment) or they are internal (as in self-instructions or self-recognition). but practice does not come easily and benefits greatly from supportive intervention. Role playing exercises provide instructors opportunities to customize directions specific to individual attempts to improve. Recall that the “A” stands for activators or antecedent events that precede behavior or “B”. They can be intrinsic or extrinsic to a behavior. Thus. You assume the person wants to improve. Instructional intervention. Three kinds of intervention strategies In Chapter 8. Then. training exercises. his new self-directed behavior can become automatic. the intervention comes before the target behavior and focuses on helping the performer internalize your instructions. to automatic or habitual behavior. We need support to reassure us we are doing the right thing and to encourage us to keep going. Supportive intervention. Of course.

we often need to add both activators and consequences to the situation in order to move people from conscious incompetence to conscious competence. This is when an incentive –reward program is useful. Geller. policy. The promise is the incentive and the consequence is the reward. The person knows what to do. we refer to this as taking a calculated risk. a motivational intervention is needed. In safety. Excessive control on the outside of people can limit the amount of control or self-direction they develop on the inside. Often a disincentive –penalty intervention is ineffective because. or interpersonal aggression (Sidman. Each occurrence of the desired behavior facilitates fluency and helps build a good habit. uncomfortable. Motivational Intervention. Instruction alone is obviously insufficient because they are knowingly doing the wrong thing. . 1997). Because threats of punishment appear to challenge individual freedom and choice (Skinner. the safe alternative is relatively inconvenient. When people know what to do and do not do it. Therefore. Powerful external consequences might improve behavior only temporarily. even sabotage. convenience. Note that supportive intervention is typically not preceded by a specific activator. but the excessive outside control makes the behavior entirely other-directed. As I discussed earlier in Chapter 4. Such supportive intervention is often most powerful when it comes from one’s peers—as in peer support. the individual is consciously competent. the positive regard we give people for their safety-related behavior can go a long way toward facilitating fluency and a transition to the automatic or habit stage. this approach to behavior change can backfire and activate more calculated risk taking. they require some external encouragement or pressure to change. 1999. the negative consequence or penalty seems remote and improbable. 1990. requiring enough external influence to get the target behavior started without triggering a desire to assert personal freedom. In other words.168 Psychology of safety handbook appreciation for their efforts and increasing the likelihood they will perform the behavior again (Allen. We usually perform calculated risks because we perceive the positive consequences of the at-risk behavior to be more powerful than the negative consequences. Daniels. when people are consciously incompetent about safety-related behavior. Hence. You do not need to activate desired behavior with a promise (an incentive) or a threat (a disincentive). Furthermore. as long as the behavioral intervention is in place. Motivational intervention is clearly the most challenging. or inefficient. while the negative consequence of at-risk behavior (such as an injury) is improbable and seems remote. Such a program attempts to motivate a certain target behavior by promising people a positive consequence if they perform it. In other words. but the large-scale implementation of this kind of intervention can seem inconsistent and unfair. 1971). As a result. when you support self-directed behavior you do not need to provide an instructional antecedent. they need to perform the behavior correctly many times before it can become a habit. This is because the positive consequences of comfort. theft. The person is already motivated to do the right thing. Thus. and these negative consequences are immediate and certain. The behavioral impact of these enforcement programs is enhanced by increasing the severity of the penalty and catching more people taking the calculated risk. this kind of motivational intervention is much less common than a disincentive–penalty program. and efficiency are immediate and certain. or law threatens to give people a negative consequence (a penalty) if they fail to comply or take a calculated risk. This is when a rule. Remember the objective is to motivate a transition from conscious incompetence to a self-directed state of conscious competence. 1989). after people know what to do. like an injury.

9. and self-management).e. they are unconsciously incompetent). as depicted at the far left of Figure 9. and thus the individual is unconsciously competent.9 reviews this intervention information by depicting relationships among four competency states (unconscious incompetence. and unconscious competence) and four intervention approaches (instructional intervention. In other words. This is when an external motivational intervention can be useful. coupled with consistent supportive intervention. supportive intervention. incompetence) determine which of four types of interventions is relevant. Then. can lead to a good habit. If they do. and they have performed their jobs safely one or more times. conscious incompetence.9 Awareness (conscious vs. . In other words. with substantial motivation and support. they are considered consciously incompetent or irresponsible.. they need repeated instructional intervention until they understand what to do. supportive intervention is needed to get the behavior to a fluent state. Most people need supportive intervention for their safe behavior. unconscious) and safety-related behavior (competence vs. Techniques for giving supportive recognition are described in Chapter 12. When people are unaware of the safe work practice (i. but the safe way might not be habitual. most experienced workers know what to do in order to prevent injury on their jobs. The flow of behavior change Figure 9. other-directed safe behavior can transition to unconscious competence without first becoming self-directed. When workers know how to perform a task safely but do not. the question of behavioral fluency is relevant. Stage of Performer Conscious Competence Unconscious Incompetence Automatic Behavior At-Risk Habit Conscious Incompetence Self-and OtherDirected Irresponsible Other-Directed Accountable Unconscious Competence Automatic Behavior Safe Habit Conscious Competence Self-Directed Responsible Type of Intervention Instructional Intervention Activators Motivational Intervention Activators and Consequences Supportive Intervention Consequences SelfManagement Activators and Consequences NO Impact Understand Desired Behavior? YES Perform Desired Behavior? Desired Behavior Fluent? YES Behavior SelfDirected? Figure 9. conscious competence. motivational intervention. Then when the desired behavior occurs at least once. A fluent response becomes a habit or part of a regular routine.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 169 A long-term implementation of a motivational intervention. the critical question is whether they perform the desired behavior. as discussed previously. The design of effective motivational interventions is covered in Chapter 11.

Manipulating relevant activators and consequences to increase desired behavior and decrease undesired behavior. you are asked to reach a certain objective or goal. This means 1. In essence. If a safe work practice is self-directed. However. However. When you are held accountable.170 Psychology of safety handbook The individual is consciously competent but needs supportive recognition or feedback for response maintenance and increased fluency.9 illustrates a distinction between conscious competence/other-directed and conscious competence/self-directed. accountability is the same as responsibility. An accountability system is needed that encourages personal involvement in and commitment to safety. feeding more involvement and more responsibility. the employee is considered responsible and a self-management intervention is relevant. Tracking continual change in the target behavior(s) in order to determine the impact of the self-management process. but that is all. Figure 9. Psychological research on relationships between environmental conditions or contingencies (as in an accountability system) and people’s feeling states (like personal accountability or responsibility) suggests ways to make this happen. You want that person to accomplish a certain task and you intend on making sure it happens. . The challenge for safety professionals and corporate leaders is to build the kind of work culture that enables or facilitates responsibility or self-accountability for safety. self-management involves the application of the DO IT process introduced in Chapter 8 to one’s own behavior. the methods and tools of effective self-management are derived from behavioral science research and are perfectly consistent with the principles of behavior-based safety. when you extend your responsibility beyond accountability. There is no supervisor or coworker around to hold the employee accountable for performing the job safely. They need to transition from an other-directed state to a self-directed state. You go beyond the call of duty as defined by a particular accountability system. Monitoring these behaviors. the distinction in Figure 9. or you might feel responsible enough to complete the assignment. As detailed elsewhere (Watson and Tharp.9 between accountable and responsible is critical. You do only what is required and no more. you mean the same thing. however. Many jobs are accomplished by a lone worker. workers need to extend their responsibility for safety beyond that for which they are held accountable. How does a person feel about an assignment— does he or she feel accountable or responsible? Here is where a difference is evident. This is often essential when it comes to industrial safety and health. you might not feel responsible to meet the deadline. Whether you hold someone accountable or responsible for getting something done. let us consider the receiving end of this situation. To improve safety beyond the current performance plateau experienced by many companies. responsibility From the perspective of large-scale safety and health promotion. In this case. See Geller (1998) and Geller and Clarke (1999) for more procedural details for safety selfmanagement Accountability vs. 1997). You do more than what is required. 2. Defining one or more target behavior(s) to improve. Then you will start a spiral of accountability feeding responsibility. There are times. People often use the words accountability and responsibility interchangeably. 4. often within a designated time period. 3. resulting in people becoming totally committed to achieving an injury-free workplace.

the participant is considered “unconsciously competent. They are unaware of the correct procedures and are “unconsciously incompetent. and increased involvement. are relatively complex and never reach the automatic stage. These people need supportive intervention to keep them safe. Unclear or misunderstood expectancies. some behaviors. Some training is required to keep people in practice for handling a relatively rare event (as in emergency training). social. These people certainly appreciate supportive intervention from managers. while other training is needed to help people change frequently occurring at-risk behavior to safe behavior. Each of these training situations requires behavior-based feedback. Education and training reflect an instructional approach to corrective action. It is usually a good idea to include some education with the training. in turn. friends. Then there is the training needed to introduce a new procedure or process. like locking out a power source. principles. but they keep performing the safe behavior when no one is around to support them. Self-directed individuals hold themselves accountable for doing the right thing. leads to employee ownership of the process. even when the behavior is relatively uncomfortable and inconvenient. Regular supportive intervention is often needed to keep these inconvenient behaviors going. They periodically perform all of the safe operating procedures called for on the job. Most of the factors contributing to a behavioral discrepancy are owing to the context in which the task is performed or characteristics of the task itself. and rationale are presented to justify the step-by-step procedures taught and practiced. which decreases the probability of personal injury. unless the individual is self-directed with regard to the particular behavior. Common contextual variables include 1. Adequate education also enables worker customization of procedures to fit a particular work context. These self-directed workers hold themselves accountable.Chapter nine: Behavioral safety analysis 171 In conclusion This chapter offered some basic guidelines for diagnosing the human behavior aspects of a safety-related problem.” However. the behavior can become habitual. this is the difference between at-risk and safe behavior. but obviously the situation and the individuals involved determine the protocol for delivering the feedback. They feel responsible and go beyond the call of duty . and coworkers.” Instruction will not help much for people who know what to do but do not do it. Upside-down contingencies that reward at-risk behavior or punish safe behavior. Often a job can be simplified or reengineered to reduce physical or mental effort. This is one more analysis challenge. Many situational. feelings of responsibility. the issue is not a matter of knowing what is safe. as discussed later in Chapter 12. These individuals are “consciously incompetent” and need a motivational intervention. 3. When such behavior becomes a natural part of the work routine. meaning relevant theory. Training should be considered only after critical contextual and task variables have been analyzed and corrected. The lack of behavior-based feedback to help people improve. The problem is consistency or fluency. When safe work practices are relatively convenient. This type of intervention is obviously most effective when the participants are willing to learn. like putting on PPE or buckling a safety belt. They do not follow the safe protocol every time. This. In safety terms. and personal factors contribute to a behavioral discrepancy—a distinction between the behavior performed and the behavior desired. For most employees. 2.

2nd ed... Critical success factors for behaviorbased safety.. in Proceedings of the 37th Annual Professional Development Conference and Exposition. S. W. Blunders and Success Stories on Giving and Receiving Recognition. Des Plaines. E.. DePasquale. 1998. M. Res. D. Self-directed Behavior: Self-Modification for Personal Adjustment. Deming. 30. A. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility. productivity. and competitive position. Inc.. L. Inc. Knopt. August 1992. E. E. J. G. 1999.. Atlanta... Skinner. and Tharp. 3rd. J. F. Cincinnati. Keller & Associates. C. in particular. Monterey. Geller. E... Prof. A.. C. 1999. Washington. R. Chapter 16. 1989. Pettinger.. IL. S. J. New York. I call this “actively caring”—the focus throughout Section 5 of this Handbook. Tucker. OH. Researching behavior-based safety: a multi-method assessment and evaluation. DePasquale. D. J. T. S. 1997. Watson. Critical success factors for behavior-based safety: a study of twenty industry-wide applications. E.. Do not impulsively assume corrective action requires “training” or “discipline. The bottom line Before selecting an intervention strategy. 1977. 44(7). S. S. Geller. Analyzing Performance Problems or You Really Oughta Wanna. Coercion and Its Fallout. MA.... P. E. Norman. conduct a careful analysis of the situation. McGraw-Hill.. S. H. J. Saf. MA. Mager.. and Clarke. Des Plaines. R. 34(3). Safety self-management: a key behavior-based process for injury prevention. 42(10). DePasquale. Geller. The Power of Mindful Learning... Ind. 16.” A behavioral safety analysis will likely give priority to a number of alternative intervention approaches. 1999. Impression Management: the Self-Concept. Behavior-based intervention for occupational safety: critical impact of social comparison feedback. New York. and Clarke. 40. I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are: Bloopers. and Geller. Saf. 7th ed. Quality. S. Saf. Pettinger. Performance Management Publications. WI. Publishers. J. Langer. and Williams. 1998. Geller. 135. Res. Geller. E.. Brooks/Cole Publishing. Key processes for continuous safety improvement: behavior-based recognition and celebration. . Bringing out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement..... presents principles and methods to help people transition from being held accountable to feeling responsible for safety.. Quality concepts to solve societal crises: profound knowledge for psychologists. and Geller.. Neenah. CA.. S. 1980. E.. Perseus Books. E. Do you coach with feeling?. the behavior. Boyce. Alfred A. W. American Society of Safety Engineers. 1997. Deming. 2000. Williams. 41(10). Sidman. B. J. Saf. New York. 1996. in Proceedings of Light Up Safety in the New Millennium: a Behavioral Safety Symposium. S. E. S.172 Psychology of safety handbook to prevent injuries to themselves and others. IL. Inc. of Saf. Basic Books. Geller. D. 34. and the individuals involved in an observed discrepancy between desired and actual performance. Brooks/Cole. 29. S.. Pacific Grove.. News. Daniels. J. J. Schlenker. Boston. Social Identity. W. GA. The Center for Effective Performance. J. Prof. The Psychology of Everyday Things. Williams. and Interpersonal Relations.. References Allen. invited address at the Centennial Convention of the American Psychological Association. 1990. E. P. and Pipe. Hyg. May 1991.C. J.. J. Prof... Saf.. Inc. ed.. The truth about safety incentives.. Geller. C. Authors Cooperative.. Performing such an analysis before intervening will help ensure your corrective action plan does not reflect malpractice. B. 1997.. 31(3). 1998a. CA. Reading. 237. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. four-day workshop presented by Quality Enhancement Seminars. E. GA. 2000. F. E. American Society of Safety Engineers.. 1971. 1998b.

section four Behavior-based intervention .


because in most situations activators and consequences naturally support risky behavior in lieu of safe behavior. Psychologists who use the behavior-based approach to solve human problems design activators (conditions or events preceding operant behavior) and consequences (conditions or events following operant behavior) to increase the probability that desired behaviors will occur and undesired behaviors will not. As I have said before. With this chapter. others refer to a specific behavior—”Hard Hat Required in this Area. and convenience than safe behavior. This chapter explains basic principles about activators to help you design interventions for increasing safe behavior and decreasing atrisk behavior. the ABC model is used as introduced in Chapter 8—as a framework for designing behavior-change interventions.” . As such. It is usually one long fight with human nature.” “Wear Ear Plugs in This Area”. with real-world examples showing how to develop effective strategies. First. Activators are generally much easier and less expensive to use than consequences. At-risk behavior often allows for more immediate fun. Activators precede and direct behavior. Edwards Deming In Chapter 9.chapter ten Intervening with activators Intervention techniques to increase safe behaviors or decrease at-risk behaviors are either activators or consequences. let me reiterate the need for safety interventions. I showed how the Activator–Behavior–Consequence (ABC) model can be used to diagnose the contributing factors to an incident or at-risk behavior and to decide on a plan for corrective action. others want you to avoid a certain behavior—“Don’t Walk. “Best efforts are not enough. Consequences follow and motivate behavior. This discussion is framed by six principles for maximizing the impact of activators. comfort. we begin our discussion of intervention design and implementation to improve safety-related behavior. This chapter explains activators. prompting the need for special intervention to direct and motivate safe behavior.” “No Smoking Area.”—W. maintaining our own safe behavior is not easy. you have to know what to do. • Some bear only a general message—“Safety is a Condition of Employment”. Posters or signs are perhaps the most popular activators for safety. The next chapter focuses on the use of consequences to motivate safety achievement. so it is not surprising that they are employed much more often to promote safe behavior.” • Some signs request the occurrence of a behavior—“Walk.

Let us consider six key principles for increasing the impact of activators. • Maintain salience with novelty.” then this time your common sense was correct. others do not—“Wear Safety Goggles. because you have been there and experienced the ineffectiveness of many safety signs. .1 seem not very far fetched. Does this sort of “over-kill” work to change behavior and reduce injuries? If you answered “yes.” while other signs prompt relatively inconvenient behaviors—“Lock Out All Energy Sources Before Repairing Equipment.176 Psychology of safety handbook • Sometimes a relatively convenient response is requested—“Buckle-Up.” or challenged—“100 Percent Safe Behavior is Our Goal This Year.” I have visited a number of work environments where all of these types of safety signs were displayed. They are • Specify behavior.1 Safety activators can be overwhelming and ineffective.” • We might be reminded of a general purpose—“Actively Care for a Total Safety Culture.” • Some signs imply consequences—“Use Eye Protection: Don’t be blinded by the light”. Which signs would you eliminate from Figure 10.1? How would you change certain signs to increase their impact? What activator strategies would you use instead of the signs? This chapter will enable you to answer these questions—not on the basis of common sense but from behavioral science research. I have seen situations that make the illustration in Figure 10. Figure 10. In fact.

signs that refer to a specific behavior can be beneficial.. Geller et al. Thyer and Geller. In one series of studies. Figure 10. 1977.. A general antilitter message (“Please don’t litter. the activators in these studies had characteristics besides response specificity to help make them effective. but not overwhelm with complexity. No environmental protection message. Activate close to response opportunity. Implicate consequences. but too much specificity can bury a message.. Winett. The activators were salient because they were different or novel. a message that gave a rationale for the behavioral request “Please help us recycle by depositing in green trash can in rear of store” was even more effective at directing the desired behavior. and reminded vehicle occupants to buckle up (Berry et al. Customers rarely receive flyers when they enter . Principle #2: Maintain salience with novelty All of the field research demonstrating the impact of response-specific signs was relatively short term.2 illustrates “explosively” the need to include sufficient response information with a behavioral request. Our research on the importance of response specificity in activator interventions has been replicated in other environmental protection research and in a few safety-belt promotion studies. 3.” In addition. as I have seen in a number of industrial signs. Please dispose of properly”). As you will see. There were three useful conclusions. Each of these principles is illustrated below with the help of some real-world examples. However. 1977). patrons receiving the flyers with the specific behavioral request were significantly less likely to litter the store. increased the purchase of drinks in returnable bottles (Geller et al. In contrast. and 20 to 30 percent of these flyers were deposited in the “green trash receptacle.. we gave incoming customers of grocery stores promotional flyers which included 1. 1973). The general antilitter message was no more effective than no message (the control condition) in reducing littering or in getting flyers deposited in trash receptacles. 1975). Overly complex signs are easy to overlook—with time they just blend into the woodwork. Principle #1: Specify behavior Behavioral research demonstrates that signs with general messages and no specification of a desired behavior to perform (or an undesirable behavior to avoid) have very little impact on actual behavior. None of the projects lasted more than a few months. 1985. For example. as illustrated in Figure 10.3. my students and I conducted several field experiments in the 1970s on the behavioral effects of environmental protection messages.Chapter ten: • • • • Intervening with activators 177 Vary the message. Keeping signs salient or noticeable is clearly a challenge. For example. Activators ought to specify a desired response. 1976. 2. and with different research designs (Geller et al. 1987). 1992. across different stores. Involve the target audience. specific response messages reduced littering in a movie theater (Geller. Our findings were consistent over several weeks. A specific behavioral request (“Please deposit in green trash can in rear of store”). Later we searched the stores for our flyers and measured the impact of the different instructions. 1978). directed occupants in public buildings to turn off room lights when leaving the room (Delprata.

grocery stores. but the withdrawal time will be even shorter. Each tap on the snail’s shell results in successively shorter withdrawal time until eventually the snail will stop responding at all to .2 Some activators are not specific enough. most customers did not see the messages every day. 1987) and on flash cards (Geller et al. However. Through habituation we learn not to respond to an event that occurs repeatedly. because they rarely shopped more than once a week. Plus. After about 30 seconds the snail will extend its body from the shell and continue on its way. For example. Your third tap will cause withdrawal again. and it is considered by some psychologists to be the simplest form of learning (Carlson. when you lightly tap the shell of a large snail it withdraws into its shell. this time the snail will stay inside its shell for a shorter duration. Habituation It is perfectly natural for activators like sign messages to lose their impact over time.178 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 10. 1985. 1987) were exposed to the message only once.. This process is called habituation. Thyer et al. When you tap the shell again. so the flyers and their messages in our litter control and recycling research were quite novel and salient. 1993).. the subjects in the studies that showed effects of safety belt messages on dashboard stickers (Thyer and Geller. Similarly. Habituation happens even among organisms with primitive nervous systems. or on average less than once a day. the snail will withdraw again.

If you were to take a frog and drop it in boiling water. it would react immediately. I confess I have not witnessed this myself nor read it in a scientific journal. The snail’s behavior of withdrawal to the activator—shell tapping—will have habituated. I have heard of a much more dramatic illustration of habituation that I want you to only imagine. They no longer divert attention nor interfere with ongoing performance. Staying attentive to safety activators is a continuous fight with one aspect of human nature—habituation. At first these environmental sounds might be quite noticeable and perhaps distracting. radios. This is the case with many safety activators. but through habituation they become insignificant background noise. Habituation is perfectly consistent with an evolutionary perspective (Carlson. heat. traffic. if you put a frog in cold water and slowly raise the heat over several hours. given the basic learning principle of habituation. What would a snail do in a rain storm if it did not learn to ignore shell taps that have no consequence? Consider the distractions and distress you would experience daily if you could not learn to ignore noises from voices. the frog will not jump out but eventually cook in the boiling water. or squalor which people seem to adjust to over time? What is the relevance of habituation for safety? It is human nature to habituate to everyday activators in our environment that are not supported by consequences. the organism. and machinery. for example. leaping out to safety. However. Please do not try this. be it an employee or a snail. It is a waste of time and energy to continue responding to an activator that seems to be insignificant. . seemingly impossible situations of noise.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 179 Figure 10.3 Some signs are too complex to be effective. If there is no obvious consequence (good or bad) from responding to a stimulus. but it does sound plausible. Have you not seen. 1993). your tap. stops reacting to it.

3.” The number of days between sessions varied from one to five. My students and I studied the impact of these different reminder systems by having college students drive the experimental vehicle on a planned community course under the auspices of an energy conservation study. General Motors Research Laboratories loaned me a 1984 Cadillac Seville to answer these important questions. A reminder signal had maximum impact if it could be avoided by buckling up (Berry and Geller. A standard six-second buzzer or chime triggered by engine ignition. primarily owing to lack of salience. increased safety-belt use. A second reminder option where the six-second buzzer. What if buckling up enabled a driver to avoid a reminder that was salient and somewhat unpleasant? In 1987. would they increase safety-belt use? Why should a four. Geller. a beeping signal. 1984). but it must compete for our attention with the background noise initiating at the same time. General Motors applied some of our findings in an innovative safety-belt reminder system for its line of Saturn vehicles. When they buckle up.180 Psychology of safety handbook Safety-belt reminders. According to our field research (von Buseck and Geller. Because the reminder starts upon ignition. especially the vocal reminder. from the roar of the engine. and a manual lap belt. they are merely escaping the unpleasant activator. 1. about half of the drivers fasten their safety belt after turning on their ignition. Results were examined on an individual basis in order to study systematically the impact of a particular reminder system. Most important. or a pleasant chime? How long does it last? Is it the same sound used for other warning signals in your vehicle? Current safety-belt reminders in vehicles sold in the United States last from four to eight seconds. air conditioner. 2. 1988). there is no opportunity for these drivers to buckle up and avoid the reminder. The innovative safety-belt reminder in the Saturn cannot be masked by other vehicle start-up noises because it sounds six seconds after these noises have initiated. This gave the driver six opportunities to buckle up during a one-hour experimental session. 1988). We asked subjects to stop and park the vehicle at six specific locations along this two-mile course and flip a toggle switch in the vehicle’s trunk (presumably to record information on gasoline use). as mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 4. All Saturns have an airbag. A six-second buzzer or chime that initiated five seconds after ignition. This experimental vehicle was programmed to provide any of the following reminder systems. 1991. This special vehicle had a portable computer in its trunk to record each instance of belt use by the driver. Not only do we habituate to this sound. A voice reminder (“Please fasten your safety belt”) that initiated five seconds after engine ignition and was followed by a “Thank you” if the driver buckled up. Safety-belt reminders are a lesson in how easy it is to ignore activators. this .to eight-second audible reminder activate people to buckle up? Perhaps you never hear this reminder because you buckle up before turning on the ignition. Our findings indicated that the more salient signals. How often do you notice the audible safety-belt reminder in your vehicle? I have found many people unable to describe the sound. Even if safety-belt reminders were clearly audible. Each subject returned periodically to participate in this so-called “energy conservation study. automatic shoulder belt. The sound is usually the same for all warning signals in a vehicle. or verbal prompt kicked in if the driver was not buckled when the vehicle made its first stop after exceeding ten miles per hour. Do they work? I suggest they are mostly ineffective (Geller. or heater to music from a blaring radio. chime. Is it a continuous tone.

it will be the Saturn activator because it is based on theory and procedures developed from behavioral science research. A radar detector is a very effective activator to reduce speeding. You can see how understanding some basic principles from behavioral science can improve the design of simple activators like safety-belt reminders. He assumes the warning beeper is sufficient to activate coworkers’ avoidance behavior and prevent injury. If a driver is speeding and ignores this activator. this activator is voluntarily purchased by the drivers who tend to speed. Drivers who like to speed would purchase them. I hope readers will teach policy makers and police officers these basic principles about activators and consequences whenever they have the opportunity. The purchaser is receptive to the information provided by this activator. Speeders would never know which signal was “real” and would thus reduce their speeding to avoid a negative consequence. There is plenty of evidence. Traffic enforcement agencies could saturate risky areas (metropolitan loops or bypasses) with radar devices and monitor every fifth or tenth device. I do not believe anyone has systematically evaluated whether the Saturn activator for lapbelt use is more effective than the standard system. 1989). More important. He is not looking over his shoulder to check for a potential collision victim. 1991). This influences his at-risk behavior of looking forward instead of turning his head to check his blind spots. a speeding ticket is possible. If policy makers understood some basics of behavior-based safety and if they truly wanted to reduce excessive speeding.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 181 activator will not occur if the driver buckles the lap belt within that six-second window. supported by substantial research (Chance. as illustrated in the next example. Saturn drivers can buckle up after turning their ignition switch and avoid the safetybelt reminder. If any safety-belt reminder system can increase the use of vehicle lap belts. 1994. they can lose their influence entirely. I bet you can reflect on personal experiences quite similar to the one shown here. Kimble. and readily slow down following this activator’s distinct signal. I find it quite disappointing that this activator is outlawed in my home state of Virginia. but the driver is illustrating danger compensation (or risk homeostasis) as I discussed in Chapter 6. Not only has the brick mason habituated to the familiar “beep” of the backing vehicle. 1961). Thus. this activator is linked to a particular negative consequence. Such knowledge could also improve or alter public policy. The sound of this activator is distinct. When consequences are improbable. A key point is that understanding the basic learning . Why? Because it is consistent with the behavioral science principles discussed here. Warning beepers: a common work example Figure 10. as is currently the case for receiving a speeding ticket. Moreover.. field observations have revealed a decrease in lap-belt use in vehicles with automatic shoulder belts (Williams et al. even likely. Finally. they would not only allow radar detectors but they would encourage their dissemination. This particular activator has actually reduced the driver’s perceived risk. so the user will not confuse this signal with other vehicle sounds. that the lap belt offers optimal protection from vehicle ejection and fatalities (Evans. is that consequences occurring on an intermittent basis are much more effective at motivating long-term behavior change than consequences occurring on a continuous basis or after every response. Radar detectors. A basic behavioral science principle. however. The increased use of radar detectors and the strategic placement of staffed and unstaffed radar devices would make consequences for speeding more salient and immediate for those who most need control on their at-risk driving.4 illustrates quite clearly the phenomenon of habituation and reduced activator salience with experience.

There are removable slats to place different messages. and distinct. I am sure most of you have seen computer-generated signs with an infinite variety of safety messages. Similarly. they might need a positive consequence to motivate their input. Changeable signs Over the years I have noticed a variety of techniques for changing the message on safety signs. visitor lounges. and hallways that display many kinds of safety messages. Who determines the content of these messages? I know who should—the target audience for these signs. Principle #3: Vary the message What does habituation tell us about the design of safety activators? Essentially. The “safety share” discussed in Chapter 7 follows this principle. the examples will vary considerably. The messages from safety shares and near-hit discussions are also salient because they are personal.182 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 10. we need to vary the message. When an activator changes it can become more salient and noticeable. Some plants even have video screens in break rooms. Many organizations can get suggestions for safety messages just by asking. The same people expected to follow the specific behavioral advice should have as much input as possible in defining message content. But if employees are not accustomed to giving safety suggestions.4 Some signals we rely on lose impact over time. phenomenon of habituation can prevent overreliance on activators and support a need to work more defensively. conveniently controlled by user friendly computer software. lunchrooms. group discussions of near hits and potential corrective actions will also vary dramatically. genuine. . When participants in a group meeting are asked to share something they have done for safety since the last meeting.

It is relevant for developing and implementing any behavior-change intervention. Thus. Worker-designed safety slogans This is what I am talking about. this principle works both ways. passed a series of four signs arranged with sequential messages. 1972). The name plate in Figure 10.6 illustrates an ownership-involvement connection most of you can relate to. The messages were rotated periodically from a pool of 55 employee entries in a limerick contest for safety-belt promotion. employees and visitors driving into the main parking lot for Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. and vice versa. involvement feeds ownership and commitment. Through positive recognition and observational learning. It also reminds all sign viewers that many different people from various work areas are actively involved in safety. Of course. 1974. Ford employees created buckle-up activators for display at Ford World Headquarters. provides a positive consequence or reward to the participant. Principle #4: Involve the target audience This guideline is probably obvious by now. My three favorites are illustrated in Figure 10. this simple technique promotes ownership and involvement in a safety process. with the author’s permission. Newman. including more attention to safety-related matters. like the old Burma Shave signs. Notice that the last sign in each series of safety-belt promotion messages at Ford World Headquarters includes the name and department of the author. MI.6 would not have to be as obtrusive in a real-world application to increase the perception of ownership.5 In 1986. their ownership of and commitment to safety increase. including vicarious reinforcement. This would probably lead to a person taking greater care of the equipment. This leads to the next principle. of course. The simple activator in Figure 10. In 1985.5. their involvement in safety achievement is more likely to continue. Involve the target audience. When people contribute to a safety effort. When public trash receptacles include the logos of . This ownership-involvement principle is supported by litter control research that found much more littering and vandalism in public than private places (Ley and Cybriwsky. This public recognition. and it is a practical intervention strategy for many situations.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 183 Figure 10. When individuals feel a greater sense of ownership and commitment.

1989). 1987 –1988. Dr.. NC.. Work teams at Logan Aluminum in Russellville. nearby businesses. My students and I have also distributed “Buckle-Up Promise Cards” during church services (Talton.6 Some activators imply ownership and increase actively caring. companies including General Motors. 1988). 1990). at a time when states did not have seat-belt laws and the use of vehicle safety belts in the United States was below 15 percent. . Boyce and Geller (in press) used this promise card technique to motivate university students to recognize the altruistic or helping behavior of others. and at the Norfolk Naval Base (Kalsher et al. 1991). NC. Geller and Bigelow. and the Reeves Brothers Curon Plant in Cornelius. more than doubled the use of safety belts in company and private vehicles through “Buckle-Up Promise Cards” that employees were encouraged to sign (Geller and Lehman. throughout a large university campus (Geller et al. In every case. Safe behavior promise First. This simple activator approach also has had remarkable success in applications beyond safety-belt promotion. All three made use of hand-held cards with safety messages.. scrubs.. a significant number of pledge-card signers increased their use of safety belts after their initial commitment behavior. 1984). have used this activator to increase participation in community recycling programs (Katzev and Pardini. Wang and Katzev. Richard Katzev and his colleagues at Reed College in Portland. 1984. Ford. (1993) found the technique successful at increasing the use of safety glasses. Group ownership of a roadway typically leads to actively caring for its appearance.184 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 10. in the mid-1980s. VA. or flowers. 1986. More recently. This principle is also supported by the success of “Adopt-a-Highway” programs that have groups keep a certain roadway clear of litter and perhaps beautify with plants. OR. Streff et al. Corning Glass in Blacksburg. Burroughs Welcome in Greenville. KY. I would like to share three effective activator interventions I have used to involve a target audience. Kello et al. the merchants whose logos are displayed typically take care of the receptacle and keep the surrounding area clean. 1989). Most of these cards were distributed after a lecture or group discussion about the value of using vehicle safety belts (Cope et al.

Personal commitment to perform a specific behavior is activated as a result. or through a group consensus discussion.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 185 instituted a “Public Safety Declaration” that had employees sign a poster at the plant entrance specifying a safe-behavior commitment for the day—for example. When individuals keep their promise. or post them in their work areas as reminders. not a company contract. • Assure everyone that signing the card is only a personal commitment. Figure 10. The more involvement and personal choice solicited during the completion of this activator strategy. Signing the card publicly in a group meeting also implicates social consequences to motivate compliance. Group members decide on the duration of the promise period and write the end date on the card. but do not use pressure tactics. “We wear hearing protection in all designated areas.7 depicts a sample promise card for involving people in a commitment to perform a particular behavior. That is. group leader. • There should be no penalties (not even criticism) for breaking a promise. . the better each individual feels about the process. to sign and date a card. • Encourage everyone to sign the card. This behavior is written on the promise card.” Salience was maintained by changing the behavioral target in the public commitment message weekly.7 A promise card activates a behavioral commitment. • Involve the group in discussing the personal and group value of the target behavior. • Signers should keep their promise cards in their possession. Then each group member should be encouraged. recognition and approval from the group reinforces and supports maintenance of the targeted safe behavior. those involved in the process should feel obligated to fulfill the promise. I have found this group application of the safe behavior promise strengthens a sense of group cohesion or belonging. not coerced. Follow these procedural points for optimal results. • Make the commitment for a specified period of time that is challenging but not overwhelming. • Define the desired target behavior specifically. vior Promis Safe Beha I promise to e Card until From signature date Figure 10. The target behavior to increase in frequency could be selected by a safety director. perhaps by each individual in a group. many participants will be motivated to keep their promise to avoid disapproval from a group member.

If everyone contributed a “small win” for safety. Once Karly asked: “Daddy. what does that mean?” and I answered. 1992) showed that this activator had a substantially greater impact when a person held the buckle-up sign. My second reply focused on the powerful influence of involvement. to 45. “Thank You For Buckling Up. “Getting 22 percent to buckle up is not a big deal. and of the 82 percent who looked at the card. This intervention procedure enabled my young daughter to get involved in a safety project. Karly. When reinstating the intervention during the fourth week. 22 percent complied immediately with the buckle-up request. A follow-up study (Berry et al. They probably won’t buckle up the next day. the “flasher” flipped the card over to display the bold words. and average belt use decreased to 28. I never taught her about speed limits. As shown in Figure 10.5 percent (n 635) during a subsequent week of daily flashing. even though she did not yet understand the concept of “safety. but we need to start somewhere. as opposed to the sign being .by 14-inch flash card that read.” For the first evaluation of this behavior change intervention (Geller et al. We cannot expect to solve a major safety problem like low use of personal protective equipment with one intervention technique. and then work on each successive step. they are just using the wrong finger.” Every time she “flashed” another person to buckle up. Her early involvement in safety led to this later role as a safety teacher. her own commitment to practice the target behavior increased. 1985).” People need to break up big problems or challenges into small. This was the real long-term benefit of involving Karly as a “Flash for Life” activator. further strengthening her personal commitment to practice safe behaviors.” If someone buckled up after viewing this message. stopped vehicle. one at a time (Weick. The flash card was shown to 1087 unbuckled drivers. “It means you’re number one.. but her early involvement in safety-belt promotion generalized to caring about other safetyrelated behaviors. the cumulative effects could be tremendous. she has reminded me to buckle up.5 percent (n 625). First. the researchers observed a prominent increase in mean belt use to 51. On a few occasions we got a hand signal that was not used to indicate a right or left turn. Actually.5 percent (n 629) during an initial one-week baseline.” When hearing about this “Flash for Life” project. A person displayed to vehicle occupants the front side of an 11. many of my colleagues expressed concern for my sanity.186 Psychology of safety handbook The “Flash for Life” The second activator intervention I want to relate dates back to 1984. and often monitors my driving speed. and most of those who buckled up for your daughter only did it the one time. “Please Buckle-up—I Care. Now. people who actively care for safety by encouraging—or activating—others to practice safe behaviors strengthen their own personal safety commitment. Karly was only three and one-half years of age at the time. was the “flasher” for about 30 percent of the trials in the study. honey. I have never had to remind her to use her safety belt. You see.8. the “flasher” was in the front seat of a stopped vehicle and the “flashee” was the driver of an adjacent. The intervention was withdrawn during the third week. achievable steps..5 percent (n 634). achievement is built on “small wins. 1984). Thyer and colleagues (1987) demonstrated the benefits of another application of the “Flash for Life” intervention by posting college students at campus parking lot entrance/exit areas and asking them to “flash” vehicle occupants. Mean safety-belt use by vehicle drivers increased from 19. when I developed the “Flash for Life. My youngest daughter.” I had two answers to this sort of pessimism.” Here is how it worked. “Why do you waste your time?” some would say. When Karly was in fourth grade she won a speech contest for a talk on her “flashing” experiences at age three and one-half.

Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 187 Figure 10. notably the Hanford Nuclear site in Richland. attached to the stop sign by the exit. this points out the power of involvement. At a few industrial sites. employees have implemented this activator intervention in their parking lots.000 school children. Bottom: When the driver buckles up. Vehicle occupants typically gave a smile or “thumbs-up” sign of approval when they saw their coworkers “flashing for safety. Roberts and his students (1990) disseminated vinyl folders with the “Flash for Life” messages on front and back to 10.” This rewarded the participants for their involvement and increased the probability of their future participation in a safety project. WA. In another variation.8 Top: My daughter Karly “flashes” drivers to buckle up in 1984. . Again. They observed children “flashing” throughout the community and found higher rates of safety-belt use among children who received the flash card. Karly flips over the flash card to give a positive consequence.

and on 36 percent of these occasions the flight attendant gave a public buckle-up reminder. I have heard numerous “small win” success stories from recipients of this “Flash for Life” activator. From November 1984 to January 1993.. In the period from March 1994 to February 1995. Now that you have worn a seat belt for the safest part of your trip.. I hand the flight attendant a 3.9 I use the Airline Lifesaver Card to activate a buckle-up reminder on airplanes. Figure 10. usually upon request by an individual who heard about the intervention procedure. 1989a. you might save a life! For important information.188 Psychology of safety handbook I have personally distributed more than 3000 “Flash for Life” cards nationwide. a number of safety-belt groups in Ohio. And who knows. This announcement will show that your airline cares about transportation safety.. Well. .. I distributed the “Airline Lifesaver” on 492 flights. . Tennessee..the flight crew would like to remind you to buckle-up during your ground transportation!! Buckle Up 00 PS Figure 10. turn this card over. my third personal experience with an activator intervention is one I have used since November 1984. In addition.9. The card indicates that airlines have been the most effective promoters of seat-belt use and requests that someone in the flight crew make an announcement near the flight’s end to activate safety-belt use in personal vehicles.10 depicts a graph of these data collected over a decade of field observations. Perhaps you are wondering why I separated the two time periods when reporting the preceding results and what could account for the significantly higher announcement percentages during the second time period. and Virginia have personalized the flash card for distribution and use throughout their states. The Airline Lifesaver Now.by 5-inch “Airline Lifesaver” card like the one depicted in Figure 10. at the end of the trip would someone in your flight crew announce the buckle-up reminder below. b). I used different Airline Lifesaver cards The Airline Lifesaver Airlines have been exemplary promoters of seat belt use. whenever boarding a commercial airplane (Geller. Please. I gave the “Airline Lifesaver” to 118 flight attendants and heard a buckle-up reminder on 54 percent of these flights.

do you really think an airline message could be enough to motivate people to buckle up if they don’t already?” Consider this personal experience from the mid-1980s. it is “safe” to assume that the beneficial. However. she replied that she normally would not be so assertive but she had just heard a buckle-up reminder on her flight. at least the act . To date. When I thanked the woman for making the buckle-up request. If the delivery of an Airline Lifesaver does not influence a single airline passenger to use a safety belt during ground transportation. As shown in Figure 10.11 for an illustration of the back of this incentive card.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 189 Figure 10. PA. A common comment was “No one listens to the airline announcements anyway. and besides. See Figure 10. and Air Products and Chemicals of Allentown.” claiming I am wasting my time. it is impossible to assess the direct buckle-up influence of the Airline Lifesaver. cards used during the second phase offered prizes valued from $5 to $30 if the buckle-up reminder was given. “and if a stewardess can request safety-belt use. including Ford Motor Company.” Except for a few anecdotes like this one.10 The percentage of compliance with the Airline Lifesaver request was higher when a reward was offered. so can I. It is encouraging that several large corporations. As with the “Flash for Life” activator. during these periods. If the announcement is made. 65 percent stamped and mailed the postcard and they received a prize. asking her to “Please use your safety belt.9. Tennessee Valley Authority. largescale impact of this activator is a direct function of the number of individuals who deliver the reminder card to airline personnel. have distributed Airline Lifesaver cards to their employees for their own use during air travel. many friends have laughed at the “Airline Lifesaver.” The driver immediately buckled up. the cards distributed during the first phase merely requested the buckle-up announcement. I observed a woman approach the driver of an airport shuttle. of the attendants who received this reward opportunity. I give the attendant a postcard to mail to my office in order to redeem a reward.

the primary purpose of getting involved in a safety intervention is to prevent injury or improve a person’s quality of life. I believe I would get more compliance with the request for a buckle-up announcement if I handed an attendant the announcement card at the end of the flight—closer to the opportunity to make the requested response. the sign requesting lights be turned off was below the light switch." you are actively caring for the safety and health of others. We cannot count the number of injuries we prevent. and I give airline attendants the “Airline Lifesaver” card when boarding the plane. I received a special letter from Steven Boydston. It sure worked for me. feedback. Actually. The encouraging words in this letter are repeated in Figure 10..” and that someday an injury will be prevented. The litter-control messages were on the flyers that needed disposal. 1994.11 The back of the new Airline Lifesaver card offers a reward for giving the reminder. Thus. we need motivation. We tell ourselves the safe behavior is “the right thing to do. we rarely see these most important consequences. the “Flash for Life” card was presented when people were in their vehicles and could readily buckle up. Of course. of handing an Airline Lifesaver card to another person should increase the card deliverer’s commitment to personal safety-belt use. then assistant vice president of Alexander & Alexander of Texas. This success story is itself an activator for such proactive interventions as the Airline Lifesaver. which helps me “keep the faith” that the “Airline Lifesaver” makes a difference.190 Psychology of safety handbook By reading the "buckle-up reminder. we just need to “keep the faith. In fact.” On December 28. Principle #5: Activate close to response opportunity Note that most of the effective activators discussed so far occurred at the time and place the target behavior should happen. Unfortunately. when I inquired about the lack of a . and self-talk.12. For more information call (703) 231-8145 The Center for Applied Behavior Systems Figure 10. Inc. interpersonal approval.

1973). it is reasonable to predict that promoting vehicle safety-belt use on television would be less effective than presenting buckleup activators at road locations.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 191 Figure 10. This “point-of-purchase advertising” is presumed to be an optimal form of product marketing (Tilman and Kirpatrick. 1994. buckle-up announcement while deplaning. 1971.12 I received these words of encouragement from Steven Boydston on December 28. Similarly. We distributed handbills prompting the purchase of returnable drink containers at the entrance to a large grocery store or at the store location where drinks can be picked up for purchase (Geller et al. This assumption is supported by the classic and rigorous evaluation of safety-belt promotion in public service announcements on television by Robertson et al. as exemplified by the “Flash-for-Life” intervention. six different safety belt messages were shown during the day and during prime time on one cable of a dual-cable television system. (1974). customers purchased significantly more drinks in returnable than throwaway containers when prompted at the point of purchase. my students and I systematically evaluated the impact of proximity between activator and response opportunity. As predicted. Point-of-purchase activators In one study.. Residents in Cable System A . 1972). In this study. some flight attendants tell me they forgot about the card. Activating with television You would think that product ad activators on television are less effective in directing behavior than promotions at store locations.

. many viewers may have missed the end of these public service activators. They started collecting baseline data in March 1993.2 percent and 10. At least part of the ineffectiveness of activating with television is owing to lack of proximity between the specific response message and the later opportunity to perform the target behavior.13 was positioned approximately 7 feet from Route 42 and 300 feet from the intersection of Route 42 and Highway 460. It is easy to conclude that television public service announcements have no effect on whether a person buckles up (Robertson. 1976). 1984. as illustrated by the following field study.13 was painted on both sides in black eight-inch high letters against a white background. Still. this must be balanced with the great amount of exposure enabled by television.3 percent for females for the intervention group. But consider that four of the six different television spots were based on a fear tactic. The sign was eight feet long by four feet high. and the field observers could not know the experimental condition of a particular vehicle observation. Anxiety elicited by a vivid portrayal of the disfiguring consequence of a vehicle crash can interfere with the viewer’s attention and retention (Lazarus. the sign shown in Figure 10. the use of safety belts by vehicle drivers was observed in a systematic rotating schedule from 14 different sites within the community. . Winett. if communities and corporations activated safety at the time and place for the desired behavior. The control residents in Cable System B (7400 homes) did not receive any messages. as well as vehicles continuing on Highway 460. Vehicle license plate numbers were recorded and later matched with each owner’s name and address from the files of the state Department of Motor Vehicles. and 8. Robertson. and the buckle-up message shown in Figure 10. The television viewers did not know they were in an experiment. during most weekdays from approximately 4:00 to 6:30 p. Overall mean safety-belt use among drivers was 8. After 13 weeks of baseline observation. the overall impact could be far greater than a television ad and the cost could be minimal. McGuire. 1983). It can cause viewers to “tune out” subsequent spots as soon as they appear (Geller. It is also likely the naturalistic use of safety belts during actual television episodes. Consequently. 1989). However. Research suggests that a fear-arousing approach is usually not desirable for safety messages (Leventhal et al. 1980). would have greater impact than a commercial activator or public service announcement (Geller. 1986). as discussed in Chapter 7. 1983.192 Psychology of safety handbook (6400 homes) received the safety belt messages 943 times over a nine-month period. A one percent effect of a television ad could translate to thousands using their vehicle safety belt. Buckle-up road signs Over a two-year period my students evaluated the behavioral impact of buckle-up activators located along the road in my hometown of Newport—a small rural community in southwest Virginia. by unobtrusively observing and recording the safety-belt use of vehicle drivers and passengers from a parked vehicle near the intersection of a four-lane highway (Highway 460) and the two-lane road (Route 42) leading into Newport.. In addition. 1989. when the Newport traffic was heaviest. Observations were taken of vehicles entering or leaving Route 42 to Newport. The sign could not be seen by occupants of vehicles continuing along Highway 460.m. Each viewer was exposed to the messages two to three times per week. highlighting the negative consequences of disfigurement and disability. for one month before and the nine months during the television activators.4 percent for males and 11. which demonstrated the problem’s solution—using safety belts.3 percent for the control group.

“WE BUCKLE UP IN NEWPORT TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR OUR CHILDREN. We wanted to see if safety-belt use could be activated with a sign that did not need to be changed weekly to reflect belt-use feedback. none of the other researchers evaluated sign effects for as long a period as our study.13 The feedback sign in Newport. 1990) and to reduce vehicle speeds at various community locations (Van Houten and Nau. 1991). While mean safety-belt use in vehicles traveling on Highway 460 remained relatively stable.14. The weekly percentages of drivers’ safety-belt use are graphed over the 77 weeks of the project. VA. our findings suggest that an activator message referring to .Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 193 Figure 10.13. those continuing on Highway 460 (the control group). After 21 weeks of observation during this withdrawal condition.” The results of our long-term field observations are depicted in Figure 10. but with a different message. Other researchers have shown impressive effects of feedback signs to increase safety-belt use at an industrial site (Grant. The new message was. We showed relatively long-term benefits of the activator intervention with little habituation effects. Results show quite clearly that both signs increased safety-belt use substantially. Vehicle observations continued for 24 weeks. The identical message was posted on a three-foot by six-foot sign in front of the Newport Community Center. then the feedback sign was removed. Every Monday the percentages were changed to reflect mean safety-belt use for males and females during the prior week. the signs were reinstated. the mean safety-belt use in vehicles entering or exiting the road on which the signs were placed fluctuated systematically with placement and removal of the buckle-up activators. 1983. In addition. Ragnarsson and Björgvinsson. The overall impact of these activators was impressive and suggests that large-scale increases in safety-belt use would occur if communities and companies nationwide implemented this simple activator intervention. Percentages were calculated separately for vehicles entering or exiting Newport (the intervention group) vs.14 depict mean driver safety-belt use per phase and condition. compared the safety-belt use of males and females. However. The five-inch letters were black and removable. The horizontal lines through the data points of the graph in Figure 10. located about one-half mile from the sign shown in Figure 10.

even likely. A few were so outraged that they reacted with Figure 10. as shown in Figure 10. it is instructive to note that our second activator intervention ended abruptly when vandals carried the 70-pound sign about 100 yards and threw it in my pond.14 The feedback sign on Route 42 increased the percentage of drivers buckled up. that this apparent one-person decision to post a community sign irritated some residents.15.15 Vandals threw the second sign in the pond. We just built the signs and put them in place. actively caring consequences can be as effective as a feedback sign that requires more effort to implement owing to the need to collect behavioral data and post weekly feedback. We did not solicit community approval or involvement when developing or implementing this intervention. . It is possible. Finally.194 X Psychology of safety handbook Percentage Using Available Shoulder Belt 80 70 60 50 Route 42 40 Highway 460 Baseline 0 0 Mar-93 Feedback Sign 10 Jul-93 Follow Up 35 Jan-94 Second Sign 55 60 Jul-94 5 May-93 15 20 Sep-93 25 30 Nov-93 40 45 Mar-94 50 May-94 65 Sep-94 70 75 Nov-94 Y Consecutive Weeks Figure 10. Consider this.

implicates social approval vs.. The same was true for a number of attempts to promote various energy conservation behaviors that involved more effort than flicking a light switch (Hayes and Cone. for example. 1978). it is likely this activator will be effective for this person and if he shares the negative incident and its messy consequences with other store personnel. In contrast. this activator will take on increased significance and behavioral impact. Consequences motivated employees to create safety slogans. Incentives vs. drunk driving or safety-belt use laws. for example. that the target behaviors were all relatively convenient to perform. 1975. An incentive announces to an individual or group. In a similar vein. could not activate water conservation behaviors (Geller et al. We are talking about depositing handbills in a particular receptacle. Heberlein. however.16 illustrates the influence of negative consequences on activator impact. 1975. they avoid receiving the audible reminder. disavowing a commitment. choosing certain products. Palmer et al. It is important to realize. Principle #6: Implicate consequences Field research has shown that activators which do not implicate consequences can influence behavior when they are salient and implemented in close proximity to an opportunity to perform the specified target behavior. This unpleasant consequence is contingent on the occurrence of a particular undesirable behavior. however. I have received more compliance with the “Airline Lifesaver” since offering rewards for making the buckle-up announcement and the “Flash for Life” included a “Thank You” consequence if the “flashee” buckled up. 1983) or the collection and delivery of recyclable newspapers (Geller et al. disapproval for honoring vs. in written or oral form. 1976) without adding rewarding consequences. a disincentive is an activator announcing or signaling the possibility of receiving a penalty. Vehicle buzzers designed to promote safety-belt use were improved by implicating consequences. My students and I. the availability of a reward. That is. a negative incident occurred because the specific behavior-focused instructions were not followed. Signing a promise card or public declaration. There is plenty of evidence that activators alone will not succeed when target behaviors require more than a little effort or inconvenience. Avoiding an annoying stimulus is a consequence that might motivate some people to buckle up. disincentives Activators that signal the availability of a consequence are either incentives or disincentives. perhaps to gain a sense of freedom from our obvious attempt to control their behavior (Brehm.. Research has shown quite convincingly that the impact of a legal mandate.. 1977. the compliance will be reactive rather than proactive. From now on. This pleasant consequence follows the occurrence of a certain behavior or an outcome of one or more behaviors. for example. using available safety glasses and safety belts. the salient beep of a radar detector effectively motivates reduced vehicle speeds because it enables drivers to avoid a negative consequence—an encounter with a police officer. 1966). Figure 10.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 195 countercontrol (Skinner. Many of the activator strategies illustrated in this chapter were explicitly or implicitly connected to consequences. In this case. When drivers of the Saturn buckle up within six seconds of turning the ignition key. however. 1974). Witmer and Geller. We will return to this issue again in Chapter 15 when I discuss ways to increase perceptions of personal control and empowerment to boost involvement in efforts to achieve a Total Safety Culture. varies directly with the amount of media . and the most influential activators usually made reference to consequences.

promotion or disincentive (Ross. Figure 10. the success of an incentive program depends on making the target population aware of the possible rewards. it is important to understand that the power of an activator to motivate behavior depends on the consequence it signals. Every time the driver got into the vehicle. it would work owing to the potential consequences implied by the activator. 1982).16 Negative consequences can increase the subsequent impact of an activator. . The next chapter discusses how to design and apply consequences to motivate behavior. If a sign like the one shown in Figure 10.17 illustrates this connection between activator and consequence. At this point. she would be reminded Figure 10.196 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 10. Similarly. In other words.17 The most powerful activators imply immediate consequences. marketing positive or negative consequences with activators (incentives or disincentives) is critical for the motivating success of the consequence intervention.17 motivated a driver to attempt safer driving practices.

Deming was not criticizing appropriate use of goal setting. Does this mean we should stop setting safety objectives and goals? Should we stop trying to activate safe behaviors with signs. management by objectives. 1975. Substantial research evidence supports the use of objective goals and activators to improve behaviors if these behavior-change interventions are applied correctly (Latham and Yukl. Much to Krista’s chagrin.17 as an incentive or disincentive? My guess is you perceived it as a disincentive rather than an incentive. rather he was lamenting the frequent incorrect use of these activator interventions. and activators. I remember the techniques for setting effective goals with the acronym SMART.17. or a year? Does the average worker believe he or she can influence goal attainment. beyond simply avoiding personal injury? Set SMART goals. What does the goal of zero injuries mean anyway? Is this goal reached when no work injuries are recorded for a day. but the only benefit from that effort was my daughter’s increased motivation to work with the critical behavior checklist described in Chapter 8. However. . six months. As the illustration suggests. and targets for the work force . Setting goals for consequences Let us talk about safety goals in the context of activators that imply consequences. “Let’s lose this sign.” I was happy to comply. she flatly refused to drive with such a sign on our car. SMART goal setting defines what will happen when the goal is reached (the consequences). Holding people accountable for numbers or outcomes they do not believe they can control is a sure way to produce negative stress or distress. This is exactly how my daughter. “and focus on giving each other feedback with the checklist. management by objectives. This exercise simply reminded me that we are socialized to expect more negative consequences for our mistakes than positive consequences for our successes. .Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 197 of potential consequences for certain driving practices. eliminate work standards . slogans. have led me to believe that Deming meant we should eliminate goal setting. as illustrated in Figure 10. rather than an incentive to encourage safe driving. or a year? Does a work injury indicate failure to reach the goal for a month. These individuals overcome the distress of unrealistic management objectives or goals by developing a sense. . a perspective or attitude of helplessness. a month. and management by the numbers” (Deming. Included among Deming’s 14 points for quality transformation are “eliminate slogans. You would not expect dad to get a phone call commending his daughter’s driving.” if you take Deming’s points literally. 1985). I actually painted and mounted the sign depicted in Figure 10. perceived the activator in Figure 10. Incorrect goals. Setting zero injuries as a safety goal (as illustrated in Figure 10. and tracks progress toward achieving the . they would be to criticize at-risk or discourteous driving. six months.” she asserted. and work targets as they are currently implemented. exhortations. Incidentally.17. Some people will not be distressed because they will not take these outcome goals seriously. Experience has convinced them they cannot control the numbers. If any phone calls were made. so they simply ignore the goal-setting exhortations. and my personal communications with him in 1990 and 1991.1) is a misuse of these principles and should in fact be eliminated. . Krista. Dad. my evaluation of Deming’s scholarship and workshop presentations. and stop holding people accountable for their work injuries? Answers to all of these questions are “yes. I bet you saw the sign as a threat to reduce at-risk driving. The next chapter explores this unfortunate reality in greater detail. 1990).18. and goal statements? Does this mean we should stop counting OSHA recordables and lost-time cases. slogans. do you perceive the sign on the vehicle in Figure 10. Locke and Latham.

Rewarding feedback from completing intermediate steps toward the ultimate goal is a consequence that motivates continued progress.18 SMART goals are effective activators.198 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 10. They must believe the goal is relevant to achieving a worthwhile consequence and that they have the skills and resources to achieve it. However. It was necessary for them to understand the difference between the right and wrong way to set safety goals. Of course. No one likes to feel like a failure. As I have indicated earlier. from reporting and investigating near hits to conducting safety audits of environmental . This fosters the belief that injuries are beyond personal control. Focus on the process. and creates the sense that safety goal setting is a waste of time. I have seen several corporate mission statements with the safety goal of zero injuries. perhaps resulting from another person’s carelessness. injuries usually happen to someone else— what can they do about that? One injury in the workplace. zero injuries should be the aim or purpose of a safety mission—a mission that depends on various safety processes motivated in part by SMART goals. and each member of this safety steering committee was completely turned off to goal setting. or they at least attempt to discount their own possible contribution to the failure by blaming factors beyond their own control (as discussed in Chapter 6). they did not really believe in the power of goal setting until they actually used SMART goals to facilitate their behavior-based safety process. So people typically avoid situations where failure is frequent or eminent. For one thing. Instead. Their past experiences with corporate safety goals created a barrier to learning about SMART goals. It is easy enough to track injuries. this is obviously an example of incorrect goal setting. I had them practice SMART goal setting for safety and then gave them constructive feedback. goal. This leads to a perception of failure. it is critical that the people asked to work toward the goal “buy in” or believe in the goal. So have I made my point? “Zero injuries” should not be specified as a safety goal. but employees’ daily experiences lead them to believe that many injuries are beyond their direct control. ruins the goal of zero injuries. I once talked with a group of hourly workers about setting safety goals. Workers need to discuss what they can do to reduce injuries. Safety goals should focus on process activities that can contribute to injury prevention.

we selectively attend to some of these activators. and as a result they celebrated their “small win” at a group meeting. we do not need more activators in our lives. e-mail. ignoring others. Implicate consequences. and verbal communication from people inside and outside our vehicles. the group would reach their goal within the month. memos. Workers were motivated to initiate the safety process because it was their idea. On the road. radio ads. Obviously. Vary the message. junk mail. Each of these work groups reached their safety goals within the expected time period. Activate close to response opportunity. Perhaps subsequent goal setting for these groups should target healthy diet choices! These two examples illustrate the use of SMART goals and depict safety as processfocused and achievement-oriented. six principles for maximizing effective activators were given. rather than the standard and less effective outcomefocused and failure-oriented approach promoted by injury-based goals. and how to follow their progress along the way. They got involved in the process and owned it and they stayed motivated because the SMART goals were like a roadmap telling them where they were going. • • • • • • Specify behavior. At work. they had to develop a system for tracking and recording “safety talk. In conclusion In this chapter. It would be far better to make a few safety activators more powerful than to add more activators to a system already overloaded with information. policy pronouncements. I have presented examples of intervention techniques called activators. Only a portion of the activators we perceive actually influences our behavior. Understanding the six principles discussed in this chapter can help you predict which ones will influence behavior change. At home we get telephone solicitations. If each worker completed an average of one lifting observation per day. They occur before desired or undesired behavior to direct potential performers. The safety steering committee I mentioned earlier wanted to increase daily interpersonal communications regarding safety. Involve the target audience. More important. and verbal requests from family members. Based on rigorous behavioral science research and backed by real-world examples. it is phone mail. traffic signals. there is no escape from billboards. As discussed in Chapter 5. They set a goal for their group to achieve 500 safety communications within the following month. one with pizza. To do this. and verbal directions from supervisors and coworkers. and another with jelly-filled donuts. vehicle displays. television commercials. these goals were employee driven. We certainly do need more effective activators to promote safety and health. . when they would get there. Maintain salience with novelty. We need to plan our safety activators carefully so the right safety directives receive the attention and ultimate action they deserve. One member of the group volunteered to tally and graph the daily card totals. Employees had agreed to observe each other’s lifting behaviors according to a critical behavior checklist they had developed. Another work group I consulted with set a goal of 300 behavioral observations of lifting.” They designed a walletsized “SMART Card” for recording their interactions with others about safety. We are constantly bombarded with activators.Chapter ten: Intervening with activators 199 conditions and work practices.

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1993. order. These characteristics need to be considered when designing and evaluating intervention programs. Although supported by substantial research (Skinner. This perspective is supported by numerous “pop psychology” self-help books and audiotapes that say people motivate themselves with positive self-affirmations or optimistic thinking and enthusiastic expectations. In other words. first published in 1936. 1990). Indeed. even achievement-oriented reward and recognition programs. This happens in various ways. for example. I shall show you how to influence behavior and attitudes so that both are consistent with a Total Safety Culture. Carr et al. desire.. Pop psychology often asserts that people cannot be motivated by others.” or “I needed to do it. recognition. and penalties—will detract from intrinsic motivation and do more harm than good. “I wanted to do it. or need. and internal or external to a person. intrinsic (natural) or extrinsic (extra) to a task. thus. school. drive. reviews by Cameron and Pierce. This chapter explains why and provides principles and practical procedures for motivating people to work safely over the long term. “Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something. Fortunately. praise. many industry. there is much solid research in behavioral science to discredit Kohn’s assertions (see. represents a key principle of human motivation and behavior-based safety.chapter eleven Intervening with consequences Consequences motivate behavior and related attitudes. it actually runs counter to common sense. Think about it. Kohn concludes that interventions set up to motivate others. 1994. This self-motivation is typically referred to as “intrinsic motivation” and is a prominent theme in popular books by Deming (1993). It is also the theme of the classic best seller by Peale (1952). I say “fortunately” because if all reward and recognition programs detracted from our “intrinsic” (or internal) motivation to perform in certain ways. and Kohn (1993). Kohn reiterates throughout his book that any attempt to motivate people with extrinsic procedures—incentives. and Flora. grades. are generally perceived as “controlling” and. decrease “intrinsic” or self-motivation.”—Dale Carnegie The introductory quotation from Carnegie’s classic book. Pearlstein. 1995. behavior is caused by some external request. . or signal or by an internal force. we are apt to say.” or “I was told to do it. In other words. How to Win Friends and Influence People. When people ask us why we did something. and community motivational programs would be futile. 1938).” These explanations sound as if the cause of our behavior comes before we act. only by themselves from within. Covey (1989). Consequences can be positive or negative.

It seems Deming. Then principle-centered or value-based safety eventually follows.204 Psychology of safety handbook This chapter will explain the fallacy in Kohn’s argument and show ways to maximize the impact of an extrinsic reward process. as this chapter will explain. This implies the “defensive working style” employees need to adopt. especially in Chapter 10. and others who have written about human motivation presume people are already principle-centered for various activities.” Flushing the toilet is followed by a natural consequence that should increase future occurrences of this effortless response. the research-supported principle is that activators direct behavior and consequences motivate behavior. The list of rules in Figure 11. Again. They indicate that we have lost confidence in following the simplest of these rules— “flush. self-motivated behavior. principle-focused perspective. Most people do not consistently avoid at-risk behavior.1 was excerpted from Fulghum’s famous book. there are signs everywhere that this is not so. Did it work? Do you follow each of these basic norms regularly. Recall the principle I have emphasized several times—people act themselves into new ways of thinking. and behavior-based safety. They hold safety as a value. Perhaps you still recall a teacher or parent using these rules to try to shape your behavior. but the type of consequence certainly influences the amount of motivation. Covey (1989) refers to this motivation as “principle-centered. selfmotivated stage. In a Total Safety Culture.” Fulghum’s last rule. Kohn. reflect basic themes of this text. This calls for behavior-based safety (including the use of consequences) to bring people to the principle-centered. Deming and Covey want people to act out of the knowledge that it is the right thing to do. or motivation) is needed to make safe behavior the routine. everyone looks for ways to improve safety by intervening to reduce . for no other reason or consequence except your realization that it is the right thing to do? Imagine what a better world we would live in if everyone followed the simple rules listed in Figure 11. safety needs people to stick together in a spirit of shared belonging and interdependence. “LOOK. I like to control my own flush. and clean-up your own mess were taught to most of us early on. like take risks. don’t fight. As discussed in Chapter 9. play fair. This is the basic discrepancy between the person-based. They give advice from the perspective that people are “willing workers. In other words. The last two kindergarten rules in Figure 11. Rules like share everything. thank you. support. and I did not appreciate engineers taking that opportunity for personal control away from me. Take the automatic flushers in public facilities like airports. When people consistently go out of their way for the safety of themselves and others. sometimes we need activators to remind us of this critical rule and consequences to keep us working together for safety. people become principle-centered and self-directed through their routine actions.” self-motivated to do the right thing.1 from a self-directed.1 are directly relevant to safety and. including safety. I have made the case that natural consequences often motivate people to do the wrong thing when it comes to safety. is key to behavior-based safety and to achieving a Total Safety Culture. These are clearly ideal edicts to live by. claiming he learned all the basic rules or norms for socially acceptable adult behavior as a young child. They have reached the ultimate in safety. Throughout this book. Covey. they are principle centered. in fact. or humanistic approach to safety. The power of consequences Popular author and humorist Robert Fulghum (1988) wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Frankly. As discussed previously. Alas.” I certainly agree with the need for inner-directed. However. behavior-based intervention (instruction.

and stick together ❑ And remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned--the biggest word of all: LOOK Figure 11. watch out for traffic. and crowds of people cheering for their extra effort? Right—the athletes. this is done by emphasizing grades. academic behavior is typically motivated by consequences. Here. I would have no worry about her future. and do exactly as told. As a result. the principles of behavioral science discussed here for safety have been applied successfully to keep students on track. If my daughter. certain. Karly. Sometimes. though. are lured away from their studies by more immediate and certain consequences for distracting behaviors. Some students are able to hang in there for the distant consequence of attaining a college degree and/or getting a good job. the hard work eventually pays off. it is necessary to remind them of these remote reasons.1. hold hands. How? By making classroom activities more rewarding (Sulzer-Azaroff and Mayer. Excerpted from Fulghum (1988). newspaper recognition. spent half the time working on academic-related tasks. With permission. 1991). the most sizable being distant and remote. claiming that high grades are necessary for a successful career. the place where we heard most of the rules listed in Figure 11. put up with uninteresting teachers. but what should I expect? She has been playing baseball and basketball since the fourth grade. we discussed ways to intervene with activators. Why? Because if the student is diligent and patient. 1986.2 reveals the power of consequences in school. . Everyone tells them to stick with the program. we focus on the more powerful intervention approach—manipulating consequences.1 Basic rules of social life we learned well as children we do not necessarily follow as adults. Many students have difficulty staying focused on their studies.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 205 ❑ Share everything ❑ Play fair ❑ Don’t hit others ❑ Put things back where you found them ❑ Clean up your own mess ❑ Don’t take things that aren’t yours ❑ Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone ❑ Wash your hands before you eat ❑ Flush ❑ When you go out into the world. as she does on sports. Consequences in school Figure 11. Of course. at-risk behaviors and increase safe behaviors. awards banquets. Many students. 1972. and positive consequences for their school-based behaviors? Who gets the letter sweaters. even reading for pleasure. In Chapter 10. At any rate. Do any students get soon.

These days you are apt to see the names of honor students published in local newspapers. certain. Unfortunately. What soon. and guess who has been at almost every game.206 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 11. if possible. consequences from peers are powerful motivators. mom. I felt peer pressure to conceal my high grades. and family members. VA. from trophies and plaques to encouraging words from coaches. I was reminded once more of how hard it can be to see rewarding consequences for academic success or improvement. You might see a bumper sticker proudly asserting that someone in a family made the honor roll. peers. Dad. Obviously.2 Students need consequences to keep them going. certain. grandma. but too often we fail to . and positive consequences available for any behavior can determine whether it is boring or fun. and often her older sister have. When I saw this on a pick-up truck in Blacksburg.” In college. We work to achieve peer recognition or approval. Peer influence. Think about this. in order to fit in with the group. students who ask questions and show special interest are often called “nerds.3. the soon. We have no trouble in the United States finding a “dream team” for athletic activities. Sports conditioning is work also. Academic activities are boring. Homework is work to be avoided. there has been a negative consequence to this sort of recognition. Do students receive peer support when they demonstrate extra effort in the classroom? In Karly’s high school. Actually. cheering her on. and from the start she has received positive consequences for her performance. reflected in the peer pressure bumper sticker depicted in Figure 11. but necessary to achieve those rewards of successful athletic performance. and valued consequences can keep Karly focused on improving her academic performance? Letters on a report card every six weeks cannot compete with the immediate ongoing rewards from her athletic performance. and sports activities are fun. I was in the fraternity with most of the school’s sports heroes and. and to avoid peer criticism or disapproval.

Take a look at the fisherman in Figure 11. 1987). Plus. it is objective. In a similar way.3 Peer pressure can inhibit academic performance. safety can be compromised because of excessive motivation for production. 1993). lead naturally to external consequences that support the behavior (rewarding feedback) or give information useful for improving the behavior (corrective feedback). to the task. In contrast. measured. 1975.4. In fact. or casting a fishing lure. or behaviors. intrinsic to the task. 1985). Rather. shooting a basketball. These cause him to focus so completely on the task at hand that he is not aware of his wife’s mounting anger— or he is ignoring her. The behavior-based perspective is supported by research and our everyday experience. for example. or intrinsic. motivate students to seek meaningful and admirable dreams through academic achievement. Kohn. tell us immediately how well we have performed at swinging a golf club.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 207 Figure 11. He catches a fish once in a while. for example. Some psychologists would claim he is motivated from within. the behavioral scientist points to the external consequences naturally motivating the fisherman’s behavior. extrinsic consequences Most applied behavioral scientists view “intrinsic motivation” differently from the description used in pop psychology books (for example. “intrinsic” does not mean “inside” people. This kind . Intrinsically motivated tasks. intrinsic refers to the nature of the task in which an individual is engaged. Intrinsic vs. Most athletic performance. These consequences. One root of the problem is misplaced consequences. Deci and Ryan. Notice that the “worker” in this picture does not receive a reward for every cast. He may also be unaware that his supply of fish is creating a potential hazard. Simply put. They motivate us to keep trying. and useful for developing situations and programs to motivate behavior change. practical. where it cannot be observed. They use the term “intrinsic motivation” to refer to this state (Deci. he is on an intermittent reinforcement schedule. includes natural or intrinsic consequences that give rewarding or correcting feedback. sometimes after adjusting our behavior as a result of the natural feedback directly related. or self-motivated. and directly influenced (Horcones. Rewards intrinsic to production can cause this motivation.

which I refer to as “internal” consequences in the next section. thereby facilitating ongoing motivation (Horcones.4 Some tasks are naturally motivating because of intrinsic consequences. if not most. This helps to make the intrinsic consequence rewarding to the performer. First. and reduced pace. Now we are talking about a person’s interpretation of the situation. Some tasks do not provide intrinsic or natural feedback. of reward schedule is most powerful in maintaining continuous behavior. like intermittent praise. Whenever there is an observable intrinsic consequence to a task.5 displayed genuine . or extra. recognition. consequence to support or redirect the behavior. the pupil should feel good about deriving the right answer. 1982). but to help people control their own behavior by offering positive reasons for making the safe choice. novelties. let us understand a very important point reflected in Figure 11. if the teacher in Figure 11. In fact. Now look at the student in Figure 11. safety behaviors fall in this category. that naturally discourage their occurrence. and credits redeemable for prizes. there is often a need for extrinsic supportive consequences. it is necessary to add an extrinsic. In other words. Thus. supervisor. 1992). many safety practices have intrinsic negative consequences. when in fact gambling is behavior maintained by intermittent rewarding consequences. Do you see a problem here? Sure. to shape and maintain safe behaviors (Skinner. the intrinsic consequence of completing a task correctly should be perceived as valuable and rewarding by the student. In other words. He expects an extrinsic positive consequence for completing an accurate calculation. Many. Anyone who has gambled understands.5. inconvenience. we need to help people perceive the intrinsic consequences of their performance and show appreciation and pride in that outcome. The student should perceive the important payoff as getting the right answer. or safety coach needs to help the performer see that consequence and realize its importance. such as discomfort.5.208 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 11. the instructor. The intent is not to control people. In this case. So. Some say gambling is a disease.

When it comes to safety and health. internal consequences to support the right behavior are terribly important. they can be observed by another person. and we cannot expect to receive sufficient support (extra consequences) from others to sustain our proactive. and this self-talk influences our performance. before performing certain behaviors. We also need to give ourselves genuine self-reinforcement after we do the right thing to keep ourselves going. observable aspects of people. external and intrinsic (natural) consequences for safe behaviors are not readily available. approval and delight in the student’s achievement. Remember. Behavioral scientists focus on these types of consequences to develop and evaluate motivational interventions because they can be objective and scientific when dealing with external. In other words. however.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 209 Figure 11. we might motivate ourselves to press on (with self-commendation) or to stop (with self-condemnation). After our activities. we often evaluate our performance with internal consequences. . There is no doubt that we talk to ourselves before and after our behaviors. So we need to talk to ourselves with sincere conviction to boost our intentions. external consequences The intrinsic and extrinsic consequences discussed so far are external to the individual. do not deny the existence of internal factors that motivate action. an extra extrinsic reward might not be needed to keep the performer motivated. and healthy choices. we need to savor these and use them later to bolster our self-reinforcement.5 External rewards can reduce internal motivation. called intentions. Internal vs. Behavioral scientists. safe. We often give ourselves internal verbal instructions. When we receive special external consequences from others for our efforts. In the process.

Debbie helped him into a wheelchair at the arrival gate. Debbie’s behaviors were motivated by intrinsic consequences occurring while she wheeled him to his destination. from observing sites along the way to enjoying conversation with a prominent scholar. as well as natural or intrinsic consequences. Individuals or groups being recognized must believe they truly earned this consequence through their * As anyone who has attended a Deming seminar will tell you. and consultant. Deming told us he felt “so bad” about his attempt to reward Debbie. Deming pulled a five-dollar bill from his pocket to give her. . thank you.* I said that I was a behavioral scientist and a university professor and would like to offer another perspective on his airline story. She quickly refused his offer. Edwards Deming at a seminar he conducted contrasts the behavioral perspective on intrinsic consequences with the humanistic and more popular view.210 Psychology of safety handbook An illustrative story A brief exchange I had with W. Later. our self-motivation is influenced by how these external consequences (intrinsic and extrinsic) are interpreted. Thus. Deming. recognition. If Debbie felt she deserved much more for her efforts. Pleased with Debbie’s actively caring behavior. The bottom line is this. I interpreted his extrinsic response as a reward and I felt good about my behavior—approaching the microphone. she might interpret her job as quite boring or nonsatisfying. Some consequences are natural or intrinsic to the task and others are sometimes added to the situation. she might have been offended and thought less of her customer. like words of approval or money. saying.” My experiences at Deming’s workshops led me to believe that such a reply from him represented sincere appreciation. probably causing more harm than good. “Yes. any extrinsic consequence could help justify her behavior and make her feel better about her job. and then helped get him into the limousine. but it would not have detracted from the ongoing intrinsic (natural) consequences that make her job enjoyable to her. Thus. he tried to find Debbie’s last name so he could contact her and apologize for his “terrible mistake. it was risky to voice a concern or question to Dr. my self-motivation was increased further by kind words and approval I received from other workshop participants as I returned to my seat. I ventured timidly to a microphone to state a behavior-based perspective. it is important that praise. Plus. saying she was not allowed to accept gratuities from customers. On the other hand. Self-motivation can decrease if a motivational program is seen as an attempt to control behavior. and other rewards are genuine expressions of appreciation. Talk about consequences. Deming used this story to explain the wide-spread pop psychology notion that motivation only comes from within a person. some material reward. The five dollars was an extrinsic consequence which could add to or subtract from self-motivation depending upon personal interpretation. meaning the intrinsic consequences are not enough to make her feel good about her work. my nervousness was quite rational. I was disappointed in Deming’s explanation of motivation and was distressed that an audience of 600 or more might believe that any attempt to show appreciation for another person’s performance with praise. and that any attempts to increase it with extrinsic rewards will only decrease a person’s “intrinsic” motivation. pushed him a long distance across the airport to his ground transportation. Deming nodded his head.” He was so sure he had depreciated Debbie’s “intrinsic” motivation by his attempt to give her an “extrinsic” reward. I began with the basic principle that behavior is motivated by consequences. or award ceremony would be done in vain. Deming (1991) was describing how much he appreciated the special attention he received from a flight attendant—Debbie. teacher. In this case. Our behavior is motivated by extrinsic or extra.

Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 211 own efforts. however. that “natural” is synonymous with “intrinsic” from a behavior-based perspective (Skinner. can be studied objectively. Even the most straightforward task classifications. Sulzer-Azaroff. for example. external). Figure 11. 1957. consequences can be natural (intrinsic) or extra (extrinsic). Rewards that we believe are genuine and earned by our own behaviors are likely to increase our inner drive. Relative to a task or job assignment.6 classifies various activities according to the type of consequence relative to the task (natural vs. Internal consequences are subjective and biased by the performer’s perceptions. Vaughan and Michael. 1982). thus.6 Behavior is motivated by four different types of consequences. extra) and the task performer (internal vs. can overlap with other categories. Four types of consequences Figure 11. produced by the target behavior. I have eliminated the term “intrinsic” from this classification scheme because of the different uses of this word. 1996. while “internal” is the same as “intrinsic” from a humanistic (or person-based) perspective (Deci. . we know from personal experience that internal consequences and evaluations accompany performance and dramatically influence motivation and subsequent performance. as is often the case with safety-related activities (Geller. undeserved. Note. the categorizations are neither mutually exclusive nor inclusive. 1975. consequences perceived as nongenuine. External consequences are observable by others and. While these activities illustrate particular types of consequences available to motivate performance. Natural consequences. It is difficult to know objectively the exact nature of the internal consequences influencing an individual’s performance. Figure 11. 1992). according to perceptions of the performer. In contrast.6 summarizes the different types of consequences. Extra consequences are necessary when the natural consequences are insufficient to motivate the desired behavior. consequences can be considered external or internal. extra consequences are added to the situation and are often delayed and may be uncertain. Kohn. 1993). are usually immediate and certain. Relative to the person performing the task. However. or administered only to control our behavior could be counterproductive.

Figure 11.” Let me give you an example. but external consequences are in place to keep the process going. thus requiring extra support. Now you have created internal consequences to accompany your activity. Many employees in this culture are motivated internally to submit suggestions. What if you got paid for gardening or playing the piano? Your motivation could be further influenced. As we have discussed. the idea of safety suggestions has long since passed. For example. natural and external consequences are immediately available. if you play a musical instrument. I once worked with safety leaders at a Toyota Motor manufacturing plant in Georgetown.000 employees submitted more than 35. whose 6. complete a crossword puzzle (see Figure 11.7). Does this mean there are no more good suggestions? Is the work force not creative enough? You know the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “No. it is usually necessary to support safe behavior with extra consequences. or safety-related suggestions in 1994. some activities or behaviors are not readily motivated by certain types of consequences. The suggestion boxes are empty. .000 quality. done a good job. In many work cultures. This is adding a personal evaluation bias to the natural feedback—internalizing the external consequences. production. A greater number of suggestions were expected in 1995. plant a garden. KY. This leads us now to a discussion of two very popular safety topics: rewards and penalties (actually referred to as “discipline” in occupational settings).7 Some tasks have natural rewarding consequences. Add to this the fact that you might compare your results to past results or the accomplishments of others. or participate in recreational sports. or maybe you are not pleased with the results. Managing consequences for safety At this point. Perhaps another person adds an extra consequence by commending or condemning your performance. I am sure you appreciate the special message reflected in Figure 11.212 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 11.8. This could dramatically influence your motivation. Submitting safety suggestions is an activity not typically followed by external motivating consequences. Let us take it a step further. Because safe behavior competes with at-risk behavior that is supported by external and natural consequences. You have performed well.6 can be used to identify these tasks and guide approaches for consequence intervention.

they are empowered to implement it themselves. a natural behavior-consequence contingency is put in place decreasing the previous negative consequences of safe behavior—the possible feeling of discomfort and restricted movement that can come from wearing PPE. Still. this contingency may not be sufficient to overpower the natural convenience and “get-the-job-done-quicker” contingency supporting the at-risk behavior of working . the individual or team responsible receives 10 percent of the savings for the first year that result from the implemented suggestion. Such external. extra and meaningful—in this case economic—consequences motivate a large work force to make a difference.8 Some tasks require supportive consequences. Four behavior-consequence contingencies for motivational intervention A behavior-consequence contingency is a relationship between a target behavior to be influenced and a consequence that follows. Employees receive timely feedback regarding the utility and feasibility of every suggestion. Increasing negative consequences of at-risk behavior. the probability of injury can be reduced by • • • • Increasing positive consequences of safe behavior. Safety can be improved by managing—or manipulating—four distinct behavior-consequence relationships. Decreasing negative consequences of safe behavior.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 213 Figure 11. and if the suggestion is approved. Decreasing positive consequences of at-risk behavior. Specifically. Also. The contingencies can involve natural or extra consequences. When PPE is made available that is more comfortable or convenient to use.

was certainly a direct function of the work pace (Silverstein et al. He protested against the human preoccupation with . This sort of systems change was not possible at the time. The most obvious contingency supporting the at-risk behavior was the relationship between work pace and the workers’ break time. It might be advisable to add an incentive/reward contingency to increase PPE use or implement a disincentive/penalty contingency to increase negative consequences of at-risk behavior. it is important to first examine the existing contingencies that support undesirable behavior. In this case. behavioral scientists have found negative consequences can permanently suppress behavior if the punishment is severe.” you should understand the practical limitations and undesirable side effects of using negative consequences to influence behavior.214 Psychology of safety handbook without PPE. this is a frequent problem with efforts to improve safety. 1987). Their question was. Skinner (1953) deplored the fact that “the commonest technique of control in modern life is punishment” (page 182). I thought it necessary to alter the work-break reward to decrease positive support of the atrisk behavior. What is the lesson? Is there a lesson in my failure to make a difference? Perhaps the most important lesson here is that some behaviors cannot be changed by merely adding a consequence intervention to the situation. I consulted with the managers and safety leaders of a large work group who were genuinely concerned about the work pace of their line employees. Sometimes it is necessary to change the existing contingencies first. certain. and immediate (Azrin and Holz. and sizable negative consequence following specific observable risky behaviors. and the probability of CTDs among these workers was not changed. especially carpal tunnel syndrome. The probability of a cumulative trauma disorder. As soon as employees finished their assignment. 1966). Actually. The case against negative consequences To subdue influences supporting at-risk behavior. We should not expect activators or weak consequences to improve safety over the long term if natural and powerful behavior-consequence contingencies exist to support at-risk behavior. However. An illustrative case study. According to supervisors. I could not recommend a feasible extra consequence powerful enough to overcome the current negative consequence—less time in the break room—of a slower work pace and the ongoing positive consequence—more time in the break room—contingent on a fast work pace. certain. Could this contingency be powerful enough not to override the many natural positive consequences for taking risks? Yes. “How can we reduce the work pace?” They essentially wanted my advice on an education or incentive program that would decrease the work pace and lessen the occurrence of cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). Do you think I recommended an education program—which would be an activator— to reduce the work pace? Did I suggest positive consequences to motivate a slower pace? Or did I advise negative consequences for a rapid pace? I am sure you understand why the answer is “no” to each of these questions. this contingency was necessary for the particular work process and the union contract. Several years ago. before using “the stick. the behavior was a rapid work pace. All that is needed is a policy statement or some type of top-down mandate specifying a soon. Before deriving a contingency to motivate behavior change. An existing behavior-consequence contingency might overpower the impact of a feasible intervention program. they could go to the break area and remain until the next work period. it is often tempting to use a punishment or penalty..

Plus. Escape. it is not uncommon for an individual to commit suicide in order to escape control by aversive stimulation. aggression. physical or psychological abuse from a family member. people will be motivated to do the right thing. . and countercontrol (Skinner. Sidman (1989) noted that the ultimate escape from excessive negative consequences is suicide. Sometimes. people might choose to attack those perceived to be in charge. Sidman.9 Fear of negative consequences is motivating. and as discussed in Chapter 6. murder in the workplace is rapidly increasing in the United States. Figure 11. As shown in Figure 11.” Under fear arousal conditions. Humans will often attempt to escape from negative consequences by simply “tuning out” or perhaps cheating or lying. negative consequences can influence behavior dramatically. 1999. Animals and people attempt to avoid situations with a predominance of negative consequences. Instead of escaping. For example. apathy (Chance. They feel controlled. Indeed. the use of negative consequences to control behavior has four undesirable side effects: escape. this can lead to distress and burnout. 1953. this means staying away from those who administer the punishment. but only when they have to. which can include the intractable pain of an incurable disease. Skinner. Obviously.9. 1974). or perceived harassment by an employee or coworker. but such situations are usually unpleasant for the “victim. Unpleasant attitudes or emotional feelings are produced when people work to escape or avoid negative consequences. Aggression. this type of contingency and side effect is incompatible with a Total Safety Culture where people feel “in control” and are ready and willing to go beyond the call of duty for another person’s safety and health.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 215 punishment until his death in 1990. Skinner’s animal research with relatively mild punishment indicated that negative consequences merely suppress behaviors temporarily. 1989).

however. A perceived loss of control or freedom is most likely when a negative consequence contingency is implemented. Instead. this could mean a decrease in employee involvement.. so you have vehicle drivers purchasing radar detectors. 1974). When people feel controlled by negative consequences. when wearing his “safety frames. The child. Regarding safety. These “discipline sessions” are unpleasant for both parties and. Some people look for ways to beat the system they feel is controlling them. In fact. they are apt to simply resign themselves to doing only what is required. countercontrol behavior is typically directed at those in charge of the negative consequences. some people only follow top-down rules when they believe they can get caught. Perhaps these coworkers were rewarded vicariously when seeing him beat the system they perceived was controlling them also. in turn. commitment. I met an employee once who exerted countercontrol by wearing safety glasses without lenses. but rather slow down production. do not encourage personal commitment or buy-in to the safety mission of the company. and situations that influence these feelings in people do not encourage buy-in. If persuaded to discuss their injuries with others.10 illustrates an example of countercontrol. An employee frustrated by top-down aversive control at work might not assault his boss directly. especially by people known to the audience. Personal testimonies. In other words. certainly. steal supplies. Going beyond the call of duty for a coworker’s health or safety is out of the question. the fourth undesirable side effect of negative consequence contingencies. Also. might punch a younger sibling and the younger sibling might punch a hole in a wall or kick the family pet—all as a result of perceived control by negative consequences. might not be directed at the source (Oliver et al. This is an example of “countercontrol” (Skinner. Individuals who have been injured on the job have special insight into conditions and behaviors that can lead to an injury. have much greater impact than statistics summarizing the outcomes of a remote group (Sandman. I have met many managers who include a “discipline session” as part of the corrective action for an injury report. Countercontrol. Apathy is a generalized suppression of behavior. Although the supervisors might view the behavior as “feedback. the culture loses the involvement of invaluable safety participants.” it is countercontrol if it occurred to regain control or assert personal freedom. or vandalize industrial property. and involvement. No one likes feeling controlled. the negative consequences not only suppress the target behavior but might also inhibit the occurrence of desirable behaviors. as typified by drivers slowing down when noticing a police car. The injured employee gets a negative lecture from a manager or supervisor whose safety record and personal performance appraisal were tarnished by the injury.” he got attention and approval from certain coworkers. Figure 11. they can be very influential in motivating safe work practices. sabotage a safety program. 1974). or the employee might react with spousal abuse.216 Psychology of safety handbook and the most frequent cause appears to be reaction to or frustration with control by negative means (Baron. the criticized and embarrassed employees are simply reminded of the top-down control aspects of corporate safety. Then the abused spouse might react by slapping a child. usually resulting in increased commitment not to volunteer for safety programs nor to encourage others to participate. Discipline and involvement Let us specifically discuss traditional discipline for safety—a form of top-down control with negative consequences. 1991). In this case. Aggressive reaction to this kind of control. 1993). . Apathy.

” Psychologists call these “slips” or “lapses” (Norman. As covered in Chapter 4. This “unconscious incompetence” needs to be corrected but certainly not with punishment. Sometimes. Plus. you will conclude that a corrective action other than punishment is called for. or information processing. We mean well but have cognitive failures or “brain cramps.10 quences. Because human errors are unintentional (as explained in Chapter 4). 2. Skilled people often put their actions on “automatic mode” and perhaps add other behaviors to the situation. Was a specific rule or regulation violated? If you answer “no. 1. there is also “conscious competence. rules will not decrease them. I often make judgment errors and take calculated risks on the tennis court.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 217 Figure 11. Does this mean you need to write more rules or document more regulations? I do not think so. memory. Was the behavior intentional? All human error is unintentional. This leads to the next question. we need to allow for the possibility that noncompliance with an existing rule or regulation can be unintended. Some answers will offer direction as to what the alternative intervention should be. a proper injury analysis (as discussed in Chapter 9) will reveal some human errors more atrisk at causing serious injury than behaviors already covered by a rule or regulation. 1988) and they are typically owing to limitations of attention. I rush the net when I should not or stroke the ball long . Yet.” punishment is obviously unfair. Countercontrol is usually directed at those in charge of negative conse- I propose you consider seven basic questions before applying a punishment contingency. You cannot write a rule for every possible at-risk behavior. As discussed in Chapter 9.” Sometimes poor judgment is used to intentionally take a risk. these types of errors increase with experience on the job. In most cases. How many of us fiddle with a cassette tape or juggle a cellular phone while driving? You can see how an error can easily occur.

but this rationale for at-risk behavior is very rare. 5. What I should do in these situations is quickly refocus my attention or reconsider the risks I took. specific characteristics of the work environment or culture usually enable or even encourage a calculated risk. not an unconscious or conscious desire to circumvent safety policies and hurt someone. When a calculated risk is taken. The deliberate or willful aspect of a calculated risk might seem to warrant punishment. On the other hand. In other words. I will slam the ball against the fence or toss my racket. I yell at myself internally and sometimes even talk out loud. Then. It only makes matters worse. What I often do instead. Does this self-critical punishment ever help? Of course not. then the severest punishment is relevant. This is when a certain behavior puts the individual at risk for a severe injury or fatality or places many individuals in danger. Did the individual lack knowledge or skills? Was a demanding supervisor or peer pressure involved? Did equipment design invite error with poorly labeled controls? Was the “safe way” inconvenient. 4. but this will not convince people their judgment was defective and that is what is needed to change this kind of conscious incompetence to conscious competence. this person should be fired immediately. that for punishment to be warranted this behavior must be made knowingly and willfully. uncomfortable. Now. What supports the at-risk behavior? This is the most important question of all. Is safety taken seriously only after an injury? Is safety performance evaluated only in terms of injuries reported per month. or cumbersome? Let us look at the organizational culture. People do not make errors or take calculated risks in a vacuum. however. the next question needs careful consideration. the kind of behavior analysis detailed in Chapter 9 can be conducted. This is human nature. Poor judgment occurs for a reason and it is important to learn an employee’s rationale for taking a risk. Occasionally. This leads to truly useful corrective action. Many managers claim they only use punishment at their workplace for the most serious matters. The same is true for your golf game and for meeting the continuous challenge of preventing injuries in the workplace. “Knowingly” means the individual knew a rule was violated (Question 3). enabling the design and implementation of a corrective action plan that can truly decrease the undesired at-risk behavior. but punishment certainly will not help. Was a rule knowingly violated? Researchers have proposed an inverse relationship between one’s experience on the job and the probability of injury from a mistake. and it will not be changed with punishment. Failure to lock-out a power source during equipment adjustment or repair work is the behavior most often targeted for punishment. As discussed in Chapter 9. the less likely we are to demonstrate poor judgment. however. it is not performed with the idea that someone will get hurt. Actually. instead of the . if an employee willfully and knowingly avoided a lock-out procedure to put himself and others at-risk for injury.218 Psychology of safety handbook when trying to hit a baseline corner. the tendency to take a calculated risk increases with experience on the job. People need to willingly talk about the factors contributing to their poor judgment and calculated risks. Some are quick to add. To what degree were other employees endangered? This question reveals the rationale I hear most often for punishing at-risk behavior. training and behavior-based observation and feedback can reduce these types of errors. is engage in a self-defeating punishment strategy. and “willfully” refers to the intentional issue (Question 2). the more knowledge or skill we have at doing something. Thus. 3. Some errors occur because the rule or proper safe behavior was not known and it is possible for an experienced worker to forget or inadvertently overlook a rule. Many dangerous behaviors are mistakes resulting from poor judgment. As discussed in Chapter 9.

Remember. Both Henrich and Bird presumed numerous at-risk behaviors occur before even a near hit is experienced. When errors are intentional (as in calculated risks). equipment. especially when beneficial behavioral influence is improbable anyway. See Chapter 9 for a more complete list of questions needing answers for a comprehensive behavior analysis. We need open and frank discussions with the people working at risk in order to analyze and change management practices. How often have others escaped punishment? One sure way to lose credibility and turn a person against your safety efforts is to punish an employee for behavior that others have performed without receiving similar punishment. By posing these seven questions. Figure 11. How often has the individual performed the at-risk behavior? A particular error or calculated risk is analyzed and punishment considered because something called attention to its occurrence. So what good is it to punish one of many at-risk behaviors? If the behavior is an error. But how many at-risk behaviors typically occur before leading to an injury? As I reviewed in Chapter 7. punishment does more to inhibit involvement in safety improvement efforts than it does to reduce at-risk behavior. Rather. What about progressive discipline? Whenever I teach behavior management principles and procedures. When the behavior violates a designated rule or policy. In other words. These factors need to be discovered and addressed. So consider your observation of an at-risk behavior a mere sample of many similar at-risk behaviors and use the occasion to stimulate interpersonal dialogue about ways to reduce its occurrence. the two dimensions of Figure 11. Heinrich (1931) estimated 300 near hits per one major injury. Perceived inconsistency is the root of mistrust and lowered credibility (Geller. 1998).Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 219 number of proactive process activities performed to prevent injuries? These are only some of the questions that need to be asked. the person did not intend to cause an injury. So why risk such undersirable impact. I hoped to show the futility of using punishment as a corrective measure in most situations. Are there not times when punishment is necessary? Does not an individual who “willfully” breaks the rules after repeated warnings or confrontations . there were factors in the situation that influenced the decision to take the risk. let alone an injury. the analysis (commonly referred to as an “investigation”) is likely a reaction to an injury. and the development of effective corrective action. the question of how to deal with the repeat offender frequently comes up. or organizational systems that contribute to much of the at-risk behavior we see in the workplace. 6. If the probability of getting caught while taking a calculated risk is low—and it is miniscule if you wait until an injury occurs—any threat of punishment will have little behavioral impact.11 summarizes this discussion about various types of at-risk behavior and the relevance of punishment for corrective action. Errors (cognitive failures and mistakes) are unintentional and often caused by environmental factors. it does not help to add one more threat (punishment) to the situation. In summary. Bird observed this ratio to be 600 to one (as reported in Bird and Germain. the analysis boils down to considering whether the act was intentional and whether the system or work culture influenced the noncompliance.11 are most critical. analysis. If the threat of personal injury is not sufficient to motivate consistent safe behavior (and it often is not). My point here is that punishment will make answers—and an effective corrective action plan—harder to come by. the situation is viewed as unfair. 7. This is only possible when the threat of punishment is removed. punishment will only stifle reporting. Although I addressed this issue with seven different questions. If the punished employee has seen others perform similar behaviors without punishment. 1997).

Now. Lapse. or Mistake No Unpreventable Slip. We also hope the learning is more than how to avoid getting caught next time. and eventually dismissal. or Mistake No Punishment No Punishment Figure 11. Instead.” This is not about docking one’s wages for a safety infraction.220 System Encouraged Yes Calculated Risk Yes No Psychology of safety handbook Calculated Risk Intentional No Punishment Punishment May Be Warranted Preventable Slip. The employee is required to think about the calculated risk and decide what can be done to eliminate such at-risk behavior. Grote (1995) calls this “positive discipline. who might give lipservice to following the safety rules to avoid another dismissal but will likely share a negative attitude with anyone willing to listen. . starting with verbal warning. Lapse. we expect them to perform better when they return to work. By not withholding wages. As we have all experienced. If the employee is angry and does not own up to a calculated risk. deserve a penalty? Through progressive discipline these individuals receive top-down penalties. useful learning is unlikely.” Here is the critical question. dismiss the employee with pay. The standard progressive discipline approach in safety enforcement includes three steps. dismissal is the best solution for noncooperative individuals who can be a divisive and dangerous factor in the workforce.” One way to avoid this problem is not to send an employee home without pay. expect a more disgruntled worker. do not expect the employee to return to work with a more pleasant and co-operative demeanor. “three strikes and you’re out. then written warnings. Actually. In some cases. Is the person a better “player” upon his or her return? When employees are punished by being temporarily dismissed. The individual is usually allowed back “in the game. whether the right or wrong kind of learning occurs in this situation depends on one key factor—attitude. Fortunately. Instead. In other words. It is about finding a meaningful way to reduce a behavioral discrepancy. this evaluative process is not tainted by a negative or hostile attitude. this worst case scenario is rare. “returning a rotten apple to a barrel makes other apples it contacts rotten.11 Punishment is only warranted when the undesirable behavior is intentional and not encouraged by the work culture. After the third infraction.” But the wrongdoer is not out for good. this is not a free vacation day by any stretch of the imagination. If negative or hostile emotions develop in an employee as a result of the dismissal. we hope they learn something from this demeaning punishment. it is common to send the employee home for a certain number of days without pay. In other words.

1991). the ultimate deliverable is a specific list of things the employee will do to reduce the behavioral discrepancy and realign work practice with safety as a value. recommend a penalty for the alleged cheater. In one case. the idea of an Employee Discipline Council seems logical and intuitively appealing. a professor was advised to eliminate his “closed book. the probability of compliance is greatly enhanced (Cialdini. For example. leadership. How about an employee discipline council? If a student at my university is caught cheating by an instructor or another student. The action plan also might include a solicitation of social support by requesting certain coworkers to offer directive and/or supportive feedback (as detailed in Chapter 12). 1993. This corrective action plan should include a specification of environmental and interpersonal supports the individual will summon in order to meet an improvement objective. Disciple was also derived from the same Latin roots.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 221 It should be clear that one option for the employee to consider is not to return to work. Given that employees typically have the most direct influence over their peers. and that top-down discipline usually decreases voluntary involvement in desirable safety processes. Is it too difficult to perform consistently with the paradigm of safety as a core value? It is unlikely a person will admit to not holding safety as a core value. analysis. If a council of people representative of the entire work force serve the fact-finding. employee involvement would be enhanced rather than hurt by a discipline system. the employee might recommend a modification of a workstation to make the desired behavior more convenient or add an activator to the area as a behavioral reminder. In another case. an instructor was given advice on the use of different test forms and classroom seating arrangements. It is critical for a supervisor or safety leader to review this corrective action plan as soon as the employee returns to work. and counseling implied by the Latin roots of discipline—disciplina meaning instruction or training and discipulus referring to a learner. feasible. Students volunteer to serve on the honor council and a “Chief Justice” is elected by the entire student body. it is realistic and relevant for the employee to conduct a behavioral analysis (as outlined in Chapter 9) and then develop a personal corrective action plan for reducing the behavioral discrepancy implied by the rule infraction or calculated risk. his or her name is submitted to the “University Honor Council” along with details about the incident. Thus. Such a council could offer the guidance. and corrective-action functions of safety discipline. This disciplinary system is administered for and by the students it serves. Thus. Geller and Lehman. After fact finding and deliberating. The individual should seriously consider whether he or she can meet the safety standards of the company. and refinement of the document. consensus building. University faculty or staff only get involved in this discipline system when making a referral or when presenting evidence during the honor council’s fact-finding and behavior analysis mission. The rationale behind the university honor council is that those most affected by cheating and those most capable of gathering and understanding the facts about alleged cheating should run the system. at the end of the dismissal day(s). take home” exams. When a person signs a commitment that took some effort to develop. Both parties must agree that the plan is reasonable. the honor council might dismiss the case. and/or suggest changes in the instructor’s procedures or policies. The final document of the plan also should be signed by both parties. and cost effective. . It is likely mutual agreement and commitment to a suitable action plan will require significant discussion.

Eventually. M. In one-on-one situations with children at home or in school. the reward for an entire work group. Safety did not improve. Doing it wrong Most incentive/reward programs for occupational safety do not specify behavior. In addition.” So. M. a red light at the entrance–exit gate flashed for 12 hours after one lost-time injury. Whenever a lost-time injury occurred. By this point. This need for consistent delivery of consequences—whether positive or negative—makes it quite challenging to develop and manage an effective motivational program for safety. such programs often create apathy or helplessness regarding safety achievement. even enthusiasm.12 shows how the results of an outcome-based incentive program were displayed to the 1800 employees of a large industrial complex. Ready”) climbed one step higher every day there was no losttime injury. The man on the ladder and the flashing red light were reminders of failure. That is. I am sure you understand the difference between an incentive and a reward. An incentive is an activator that promises a particular positive consequence (a reward) when a correct behavior occurs. The man on the ladder (twice life size and named “I. but corporate safety is obviously not improved. Ready did not reach the top of the ladder in 2 1 years. Disincentives. Ready reached the top of the ladder to signify 30 days without a lost-time injury. for safety. Initial zeal for the 2 program waned steadily. Ready fell down the ladder and started his climb again. the motivating power of incentives and disincentives depends on following through. Rules or policies that are not consistently and justly enforced with penalties for noncompliance are often disregarded. M. I. Not surprisingly. but must cheat or beat the system to celebrate the “achievement” of an injury reduction goal. are activators such as rules and policies that announce penalties for certain undesired behavior. at least over the short term. what behavior is motivated? Not to report injuries. because the effective use of extra positive consequences is often critically important to overcome the readily available influences supporting risky behavior. and I. there is pressure to avoid reporting that injury. Indeed. subsequent incentives might be ignored. using positive consequences to increase desirable behavior is straightforward and easy. if possible.222 Psychology of safety handbook “Dos” and “Don’ts” of safety rewards Now let us look at the flip side of discipline—rewards. However. people stopped looking at the display. I have seen coworkers cover for an injured employee in order to keep accumulating “safe days” and not lose their chance at a reward possibility. M. If having an injury loses one’s reward. Most of the employees . outcome-based incentive programs involve substantial peer pressure because they use a group-based contingency. especially when it comes to safety. on the other hand. or worse. if anyone in the company or work group is injured. These incentive programs might decrease the numbers of reported injuries. No specific tools or methods were added to reduce the injury rate. Remember. Employees develop the perspective that they cannot really control their injury record. everyone loses the reward. This is unfortunate. Many of these nonbehavioral. I have seen more inappropriate reward programs in occupational safety than in any other area. Figure 11. If promises of rewards are not fulfilled when the behavioral criteria are reached. using rewarding consequences effectively with adults in work settings is easier said than done. At first this plan activated significant awareness. Every employee was promised a reward as soon as I. Employees are rewarded for avoiding a work injury or for achieving a certain number of “safe work days. however. Throughout my 35 years of professional experience in motivational psychology.

1975) about preventing lost-time injuries. Ready reached the top of the ladder and a plantwide celebration commemorated the achievement. 5. 7. Doing it right Here are seven basic guidelines for establishing an effective incentive/reward program to motivate the occurrence of safety-related behaviors and improve industrial health and safety. 2. I.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 223 Figure 11. I taught an incentive steering committee the guidelines presented below for doing it right.12 An outcome display of progress can activate feelings of helplessness and demoralize a workforce. yet they did not know what to do to stop the injuries. Many workers became convinced they were not in direct control of safety at their facility and developed a sense of learned helplessness (Seligman. or jackets with a safety message are preferable to rewards that will be hidden. 3. Groups should not be penalized or lose their rewards for failure by an individual. and the committee worked out the details. The rewards should be displayed and represent safety achievement. The behaviors required to achieve a safety reward should be specified and perceived as achievable by all participants. sweaters. Progress toward achieving a safety reward should be systematically monitored and publicly posted for all participants. and a process-based approach was implemented. blankets. M. Contests should not reward one group at the expense of another. 1. Everyone who meets the behavioral criteria should be rewarded. 6. Coffee mugs. . 4. The outcome-based incentive program was dropped. There is a happy ending to this story. shirts. or spent. hats. After about six months. used. were not personally responsible for the failure. It is better for many participants to receive small rewards than for one person to receive a big reward.

was displayed in a prominent location. such as a snowmobile. and rewards serve as feedback and a statement of appreciation for doing the right thing. at the big prize instead of the real purpose of the program: to keep everyone safe. The big raffle prize. That is why it is better to reward many than few (Guideline 3). as I pointed out earlier in Chapter 3. I have worked with a number of safety directors who used a lottery incentive program and vowed they would never do it again. Eventually. More important than external rewards is the way they are delivered. Safety needs to be perceived as win–win. I perceive a disadvantage in linking chance with safety. contests that pit one group against another can lead to an undesirable win –lose situation (Guideline 5).13.15. however. Also. however. and if lottery tickets are dispensed for specific safe behaviors. the valuable reward is received by a lucky few. a lottery results in one “lucky” winner being selected and a large number of “unlucky” losers. The material reward in an incentive program should not be perceived as the major payoff. Special items like these cannot be purchased anywhere and. they are more valuable than money. the reward takes on special meaning (as discussed previously in Chapter 10). When rewards include a safety logo or message (Guideline 4). pick-up truck.14. Volk (1994) interviewed a number of safety directors who verified my observations. there is some motivational benefit. . they become activators for safety when displayed as illustrated in Figure 11.224 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 11. Rewards should not be perceived as a means of controlling behavior but as a declaration of sincere gratitude for making a contribution. Their attention was directed. Incentives are only reminders to do the right thing. Everyone got excited—temporarily—about the possibility of winning. if the safety message or logo was designed by representatives from the target population. from the perspective of internal consequences. you have many deposits in the emotional bank accounts of potential actively caring participants in a Total Safety Culture.13 Raffle drawings that result in few “lucky” winners and many “unlucky” losers can do more harm than good. Also. If many people receive this recognition. The announcement of a raffle drawing might get many people excited. Guideline 2 recommends against the popular lottery or raffle drawing. As portrayed in Figure 11. It is bad enough we use the word “accident” in the context of safety processes. or television set. As illustrated in Figure 11.

Every team that meets the “bonus” criteria should be eligible for the reward. Guideline 2 should be applied when developing incentive/reward programs to motivate team performance. In other words. . Everyone in the organization is on the same team. This means developing a contract of sorts between each employee that makes everyone a stockholder in achieving a Total Safety Culture. Figure 11.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 225 Figure 11. Team performance within departments or work groups can be motivated by providing team rewards or bonuses for team achievement.15 Safety contests can motivate unhealthy competition.14 Rewards with safety messages are special to those who earn them.

I address feedback more specifically as an external and extra consequence to prevent injuries. As Daniels wisely stated. 1995).226 Psychology of safety handbook Penalizing groups for individual failure (Guideline 6) reflects a problem I have seen with many outcome-based incentive/reward programs. all containing a special safety logo. “If you think this is easy. Their plan was essentially a “credit economy” where certain safe behaviors.” At the end of the year. including four hourly and four salary employees. For a work group to receive credits for audit activities. reviewing. Let us examine an exemplary case study. Employees were systematically observed. met several times to identify specific behavior-consequence contingencies. or at least maintained. Only one behavior was penalized by a loss of credits—the late reporting of an injury. which could be achieved by all employees. Displaying the results of such a program only precipitates these undesirable perceptions and expectations. you are doing it wrong” (2000. they needed to decide what behaviors should earn what rewards. earned certain numbers of “credits. An incentive/reward program is only one of several methods to increase safe work practices with observation and feedback. The types of actively . Safety thank-you cards I would be remiss if I did not describe “Safety Thank-You Cards” in a discussion of exemplary incentive/reward approaches. In the next chapter. Some individual behaviors earned credits for the person’s entire work group. their motivation and sense of personal control is increased. Figure 11. Ready program. the results of environmental and PPE observations had to be posted in the relevant work areas. M. leading a safety meeting. The steering committee. certain. special participation in safety meetings. The problem is typified in the I. At the start of the new year. The variety of behaviors earning credits included attending monthly safety meetings. team. It is certainly easy to administer a contingency that simply withdraws reward potential from everyone whenever one person makes a mistake. however. That is. The audit aspects of this incentive/reward program exemplify a basic behavior-based principle for health and safety management—observation and feedback. and they received soon. As discussed earlier. This can do more harm than good. it is advantageous to display progress toward reaching individual. participants exchanged their credits for a choice of different prizes. and positive feedback (a reward) after performing a target behavior. Obviously. when the incentive/reward program is behavior-based and perceived as equitable and fair. When people see their efforts transferred to a feedback chart. each participant received a “safety credit card” for tallying ongoing credit earnings. developing and administering an effective incentive/reward program for safety requires a lot of dedicated effort. On the other hand. but it is worth doing. There is no quick fix. An exemplary incentive/reward program In 1992. I consulted with the safety steering committee of a Hoechst Celanese company of about 2000 employees to develop a plant-wide incentive program that followed each of the guidelines given previously. page 179). and certain work practices. thus promoting group cohesion and teamwork. or company goals (Guideline 7). writing.16 depicts a thank-you card that was available to all employees for distribution to coworkers whenever they observed them going out of their way for another person’s safety (Roberts and Geller. and conducting periodic audits of environmental and equipment conditions. it can promote unhealthy group pressure and develop feelings of helplessness or lack of personal control. if you take the time to do it right. and revising a job safety analysis.

. At some locations. Ford. Recognizing and correcting an unsafe condition Reminding a coworker not to perform an unsafe act. I have seen a wide variety of thank-you cards designed by work teams and used successfully at a number of industrial sites. At several plants. Phillip Morris. . Kal Kan. Making a task safer..C. Hoechst Celanese.” Sometimes the cards could be accumulated and exchanged for tee shirts. the person who delivered a thank-you card returned a receipt naming the recognized employee and describing the behavior earning the consequence. this actively caring thank-you approach to safety recognition has great potential as an inexpensive but powerful tool for motivating safe behavior. including Abbott Laboratories. Over the years. I was surprised but pleased to see a large number of these thank-you stickers on employees’ hard hats. Manufacturing Thank You for ACTIVELY CARING Date: Please describe specifically the observed ACTIVELY CARING behavior: (see back for examples) Examples of ACTIVELY CARING Behaviors Observer's Code: The first letter of the city where you were born The first letter of your mother's maiden name The number of the month you were born .17. . SC. Exxon Chemical. thank-you cards were used in a raffle drawing. each thank-you card was worth 25¢ toward corporate contributions to a local charity or to needy families in the community. Westinghouse Hanford Company. when deposited in a special collection container. or jackets with messages or logos signifying safety achievement.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences Front Back 227 C. and Weyerhaeuser. . The back of the card included a colorful peel-off symbol which the recognized employee could affix in any number of places as a personal reminder of the recognition. Removing or cleaning unsafe objects or debris from a work area. or displayed on a plant bulletin board as a “safety honor roll. or going beyond the call of duty to help another person avoid an at-risk behavior. 1990). the thank-you cards took on a special actively caring meaning. . The actively caring card used at the Hoechst Celanese plant in Rock Hill. and involved such things as suggesting a safer way to perform a task. Giving positive feedback to a coworker for working safely. General Motors.16 Employees can use a thank-you card to recognize each other’s safe behavior. Obviously. caring behaviors warranting recognition were listed on the back of the card. Reporting a near miss. thus creating objective information to define a “Safe Employee of the Month” (Geller. Logan Aluminum. At a few locations. exchangeable for food. or trinkets. Specifically. caps. drinks. Other Recipient's Code: The first letter of the city where you were born The first letter of your mother's maiden name The number of the month you were born Hoechst Celanese φ Observer's Name Thank You Limit: 55 φ Elaine George Dave Salyer Tom Tillman Recipient's Name Department 1490 Jim Woods Figure 11. . is shown in Figure 11. Hercules. . pointing out a potential hazard that might have been overlooked.

they gave the reward coupon to their coach. The “Mystery Observee” program The “Mystery Observee” incentive program developed and implemented at NORPAC paper mill in Longview. The incentive/reward contingency was simply stated. Give an Actively Caring Thank-You Card and “Rhino Sticker” to anyone who goes beyond the call of duty for safety or health. the 64 line workers at this chemical plant contributed more than $1750 during the Christmas holidays of 1996. its general.” Each of these volunteers received a coupon redeemable for a meal for two at a local restaurant. Guess who picked out and delivered the toys? Children of the employees. The program started with 35 of 450 mill workers agreeing to be a “mystery observee. The mystery observees were not to tell anyone they had the reward coupon.00 to purchase toys for disadvantaged children in and around Portland. WA. However. Now that is special actively caring leverage from a simple behavior-based incentive/ reward program. and its potential to add a fun and constructive diversion to the standard work routine. and cost-effective applicability to almost any behaviorbased observation and feedback process. The actively caring cards delivered for safety-related behaviors were similar to the one illustrated in Figure 11. is exemplary for its ingenious way of targeting the right behavior. practical.228 Psychology of safety handbook I Thanks for From front of card Help this card Makes A Difference Please deposit this in the collection box "Hand-N-Hand For Savety We Stand" back of card Figure 11. Every actively caring card received and then deposited in a designated “Actively Caring for Others” box was worth $1. More specifically. With this program. except the peel-off sticker depicted the company logo—a rhinoceros.17 This Actively Caring Thank-You Card offers reward leverage.17. when the mystery observees received coaching in a behavior-based observation and feedback process. Motivational leverage with this simple actively caring thank-you card was illustrated a few years ago at the Hercules chemical plant in Portland. OR. each week . Here is special motivational leverage.

The NORPAC employees believed the preeminent feature of interpersonal coaching is the one-on-one feedback discussion. therefore. however. or dissemination.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 229 employees were asked to complete a critical behavioral checklist on a coworker (with permission) and then present the results in a positive one-to-one feedback session. and you do too. You get what you reinforce. tedious. Word processing on a computer allows for rapid “quick-fix” control of letters.” some say. Then the big payoff is injury prevention. positive consequences are connected naturally to word-processing behavior. revision. Computer users also can walk to a printer and obtain a typed. “hard copy” of their document for study. You can see how this simple inexpensive incentive/reward program was both pleasant and constructive. and the extra reward can be perceived as a “token of appreciation” for heartfelt participation. they linked the reward to this phase of their behavioral safety coaching process. “I type slowly with only one finger. Observers were apt to say I was self-directed and intrinsically motivated. that some people will participate for the reward. It is relatively easy to complete a critical behavioral checklist (CBC) compared with relaying the CBC results to an observee in a positive and constructive interpersonal conversation. Of course. In conclusion Writing this book was challenging. All these soon. It is possible. Thus. sacrificing. sentences. it is crucial to consider carefully what specific behavior is most desirable in a safety-related process. I am sure you see my point. It made it easier to transition from behavioral observation to interpersonal feedback. It got people talking about the behavior-based coaching process in positive terms and it rewarded the most difficult aspect of a behavioral coaching process— interpersonal feedback. and exhausting. You don’t know what you’re missing. I know better. I literally wrote the various drafts of this text. No wonder . I could never go back to preparing a manuscript by hand. Incidentally. The potential reward for completing this last and most important aspect of behavioral coaching added an element of fun to the whole process. That is why it is important to educate people about the rationale and true value of a particular safety effort. This successful mystery observee program illustrates an important principle in incentive/reward programs. At the end of the feedback conversation. the observer received a reward coupon if he or she happened to select a mystery observee to coach. Then this coach became one of 35 mystery observees. tiresome. overwhelming. and paragraphs. I have never learned to type and. but how about the quality of the CBC? Will the number of constructive comments on a CBC decrease when a reward is given for quantity? You can count on this for employees who view the reward as a “payoff” for their efforts.” I am sure you have noticed my disparate uses of “intrinsic” in the prior paragraphs and you now understand the two meanings of this popular motivational term. have never benefited from the technological magic of computer word processing. Programs that reward employees for handing in a completed CBC will probably increase the number of checklists received. anticipating an opportunity to reward another coworker for completing a one-to-on behavioral observation and feedback session. Thus. My colleagues explain that it is not necessary to be a skilled typist to reap the many intrinsic benefits of preparing a manuscript on a computer. words. “and still enjoy the wonderful benefits of high-tech computer word processing. certain. Are my friends and colleagues so enthusiastic about computer-based word processing because of intrinsic (internal) motivation or because of intrinsic (natural) consequences linked to their computer use? As a review of this chapter.

2000. The feedback I received from these earlier versions was valuable in refining this text and in motivating my progress. Simon & Schuster. 2nd ed. W. New York... How to Win Friends and Influence People. W. The Property Damage Accident. Improve Q. W. and positive consequences to feed my motivation. A. reward. productivity. Bringing out the Best in People. 1994. Almost daily.. and intrinsic motivation: a meta-analysis. I distributed copies to about ten colleagues and friends who had expressed interest in reading early drafts and offering feedback. References Azrin. injuries and fatalities could be reduced on a large scale. Res. four-day workshop presented by Quality Enhancement Seminars. Chance.. Daniels. Inc. New York. Loganville. Jr. C. and in a few days I saw his artwork. FEBCO. 1993. F. Covey. If I communicate effectively and earn the approval and appreciation of readers for the principles and procedures presented in this text. in Operant Behavior: Areas of Research and Application... R. 4th ed. but we also maximize the chances that our activities will influence the behavior of others. Punishment. We talked about concepts I wanted to portray. Influence: Science and Practice. I got significant satisfaction (or the internalization of external consequences) from reading and refining the typed text. L. there were plenty of external and natural consequences to keep me going. New York. E... 1966. Violence in the Workplace: a Prevention and Management Guide for Businesses. I worked with a very talented illustrator who provided me with soon. The next day my secretary delivered a refined version—another external consequence from my work. 1997. Cameron. T. D. and Germain. Carnegie. 1989. R. In the next chapter. In fact. 1993. GA..” While I did not reap the benefits of fast computer turnaround. Deming.C. Ventura.. S. Educ. Reinforcement.. Throughout the writing process. A. I experienced a sense of rewarding satisfaction (internal consequence) from seeing my thoughts and ideas take form. Practice can only improve with feedback. We can only learn to communicate more effectively if we learn how we are coming across to others.230 Psychology of safety handbook my friends and colleagues are motivated about computer word processing and urge me to get on the high-tech “band wagon. 64. This would be an external and natural consequence of authoring this text—the remote but preeminent motivator for my writing behavior. Dickinson.. Bird. Mawhinney. Carr.. this was my ultimate motivation for soliciting feedback on earlier drafts of this text and for painstakingly refining the presentations. As soon as a chapter appeared close to my internal standard. Inc. Honig.. N. and Holz. OH. Pacific Grove.. C. D. Other times we discussed revisions. Appleton-Century-Crofts.. 1999.. A. .H. 125. Baron. Harper Collins College Publishers. I do realize this is a step I would not need if I were computer literate). 3rd ed.. When we earn genuine appreciation and approval from others for what we do. May 1991.. 1936. New York. I gave my writing to a secretary who processed my writing on computer disk (yes. 1995. E. R.. McGraw-Hill. Sometimes I judged it ready. Pathfinders Publishing of California. Perform. P. New York. Rev.. 8(2). G. Ed. and Pierce. Learning and Behavior. Simon & Schuster. 363. J.. Cincinnati. W.. Punished by rewards? A behavioral perspective. and Pearlstein. 1981 ed.. we not only become self-motivated. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.K. I shall discuss ways to maximize the beneficial impact of feedback. B. Continuous feedback from others was invaluable as a motivator and necessary mechanism for continuous improvement. Cialdini. and within a week or so I examined the fruits of our discussions. Feedback is obviously a powerful consequence intervention for improving behavior. certain.. Quality. R. and competitive position. CA. Brooks/Cole Publishing.

53... D. Boston. and Ryan. S. 5. and Lehman. Praise. 4. R. Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Achieving Educational Excellence Using Behavioral Strategies. About Behaviorism. Dryden Press. 1975.. Behav.. B. Norman.. 40.. Cook College. 1989. 11(1). Geller. Behav. 1988. Ed. Vaughan. S. New York. Pearlstein. Behav. T. Free Press. 343. Skinner. New York. and Sloane. Appl. The concept of consequences in the analysis of behavior. Holt. D. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. B.. Knoff. Risk Hazard Outrage: a formula for effective risk communication. Monograph No. Is back to nature always best?. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars. Skinner.. Rec. Lawrence. B. Incentive Plans. Helplessness..... New York. Basic Books. and Armstrong. 323. Sulzer-Azaroff. Discipline without Punishment. Ivy Books. R. M. Organ. West. Grote. Rewarded by punishment. New York. Psychol. Rutgers University. and Mayer. Intrinsic Motivation. A.. An “actively caring” model for occupational safety: a field test. L. E. B. Lawrence. MA. 1988. Anal. N.. R. Geller. Skinner. MA.. B. New York. S. 1998. M. Houghton Mifflin. Undermining intrinsic interest from the standpoint of a behaviorist. 1972. 1952.. MA. Silverstein. Manage.. E. J. Skinner. Behav. F. 40. 1990. NJ. Coercion and Its Fallout. E. solutions. D. 1953. Kohn. A. Fire. 1987. 1938. 5. Sulzer-Azaroff. W. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility.. New York. 1993. J.. Appl. Science and Human Behavior. R. Occupational factors and carpal tunnel syndrome. R. A’s. 1993. H. Keller & Associates. 217. Performance Improvement Q. J.. solutions.. S.. B.. Videotaped presentation for the American Industrial Hygiene Association. 291. Automatic reinforcement: an important but ignored concept. J. Behavior Analysis for Lasting Change. New York. J.. C. Behav. and Other Bribes. Prev. 1992. 7. MA. The Psychology of Everyday Things. Inc. Geller.. and Michael. New Brunswick. B. Deci. J. 7. Prentice-Hall. Monograph No. 91. D. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Ind.. J. 1985. P. Flora. Sidman. San Francisco. M. S. M.Chapter eleven: Intervening with consequences 231 Deming. B.. Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. Appl. Ed.. Am. Behaviorism... Plenum. WI. 481. 1982.. 1957. Health. Rinehart & Winston. Geller. S. Behavior Modification Procedures for School Personnel. Sulzer-Azaroff. R. Seligman.. E. 1991. Fulghum. E. perspectives. 1996. 8(2). New York. New York. Saf. R. Appleton-Century-Crofts. 10. The truth about safety incentives. in The education crisis: issues. 1991. G. Sandman. Deci. New York.. KS. Boston. E. F. S. 1995. W.. 1991. L. Oliver. New York. 1990. Heinrich. 1992. 136. E. Prof. Verbal Behavior. The buckle-up promise card: a versatile intervention for large-scale behavior change.. and Mayer. New York. A. Behav. D. E. Anal.. in The education crisis: issues.. Freeman. and Mayer. CA. The New Economics. 1982. E. Some effects on human behavior of aversive events. J. Geller. B. 54. Neenah. 11. 3.. Boston. F. Saf.. S. Volk. R. 42(1). S. G. 1975. J. Med. Authors Cooperative. L. Environmental Communication Research Program. G... V. Horcones. New York.. P. F. Natural reinforcement: a way to improve education. Plenum. The Behavior of Organisms. Anal... MIT Press. B. Copley Publishing... 1995. The Power of Positive Thinking. Geller. Performance management and occupational safety: start with a safety belt program. B. E. W. Acton. and Geller. Horcones. Skinner. S. 1974. . 24.. 10. American Management Association. Roberts.. 1931.. Peale. 149. E.. Sulzer-Azaroff. Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 1995. perspectives. KS.. G. Learn the do’s and don’ts of safety incentives.. 1974. R. Psychol. Anal. 1994. H. 1987. Rinehart & Winston. Industrial Accident Prevention. Inc. F. Contrived reinforcement.. M. N. Holt. Ther. H. xx. 1986. Alfred A. McGraw-Hill. E.


everyone feels responsible for safety. this means observing and supporting safe behaviors or observing and correcting at-risk behaviors. Large-scale behavior change is impossible without intervention agents—people willing and able to step in on behalf of another person’s safety. 1995) and. Help. The letters of COACH represent the critical sequential steps of safety coaching: Care. But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. What are the desired (or undesired) target behaviors? How will the target behavior(s) be . Kennedy The prior two chapters discussed guidelines for developing behavior change interventions. It might mean merely engaging in behavior-focused communication between an observer (the intervention agent) and the person observed. Communicate. and their combination is almost limitless.chapter twelve Intervening as a behavior-change agent This chapter presents the principles and procedure of safety coaching—a key behavior-change process for safety improvement. or an entire community. A steering committee for an organization or community needs to design specific procedures for each aspect of the three-term contingency. This chapter is about becoming a behavior-focused change agent. They go beyond the call of duty to identify at-risk conditions and behaviors and intervene to correct them (Geller. Selecting an intervention approach The number of ways to intervene on behalf of safety by using activators. In a Total Safety Culture. This is applying the three-term contingency (activator–behavior–consequence) and is usually the most influential approach. This is safety coaching (Geller. Analyze. to be effective. It might involve designing and implementing a particular intervention process for a work team. organizational culture. Chapter 11 detailed the motivating role of consequences. 1994). This coaching process is clearly relevant for improving behaviors in areas other than safety and in settings other than the workplace. This chapter shows you how to give feedback effectively. certain principles and guidelines need to be followed. consequences. In simplest terms. Chapter 10 focused on the use of activators to direct behavior change. pursuing it daily. Several examples employed both activators and consequences. “There are risks and costs to a program of action. Observe. Behavior-based feedback is critical for improvement in everything we do.”—John F.

15. or the withdrawal of a pleasant item from an individual following undesired behavior. Representative sources include ACTIVATORS 1. 12. CONSEQUENCES 18. 4. Assigned Group Goal: A group leader decides the level of desired behavior a group should accomplish by a certain time. Oral Activator: An oral communication that urges desired behavior. Individual Feedback: Presentation of either oral or written information concerning an individual’s desired or undesired behavior. Individual Competition: An intervention promotes competition between individuals to see which person will accomplish the desired behavior first (or best). 23. Group Competition: An intervention promotes competition between specific groups to see which group will accomplish the desired behavior first (or best). Written Activator: A written communication that attempts to prompt desired behavior. Group Reward: Presentation of a pleasant item to a group. 9. Discussion/Consensus: Bidirectional oral communication between the deliverers and receivers of an intervention program. Individual Incentive: An announcement to an individual in written or oral form of the availability of a reward following one or more designated behaviors. Lecture: Unidirectional oral communication concerning the rationale for specific behavior change. Individual Goal: An individual decides the level of desired behavior (the goal) that should be accomplished by a specific time. Commitment: A written or oral pledge to perform a desired behavior. Group Goal: Group members decide for themselves a level of group behavior they should accomplish by a certain time. Policy: A written document communicating the standards. 7. With permission. 13. 19. 8. 20. 16. 21. norms. 6. 10. Assigned Individual Goal: One person decides for another person the level of desired behavior he or she should accomplish by a certain time.1 Various intervention techniques are available to influence behavior. 14. Demonstration: Illustrating the desired behavior for target subject(s). Individual Penalty: Presentation of an unpleasant item to an individual. Figure 12. Adapted from Geller (1998a). 17. Group Incentive: An announcement specifying the availability of a group reward following the occurrence of desired group behavior. 3. or rules for desired behavior in a given context. Individual Reward: Presentation of a pleasant item to an individual. These come from the research literature on techniques to change behaviors at individual and group levels. Group Penalty: Presentation of an unpleasant item to a group or the withdrawal of a pleasant item from a group or team following undesired group behavior.1 gives brief definitions of 23 different ways to use activators and consequences for improving safety-related behaviors. 5. 22. Group Disincentive: An announcement specifying the possibility of receiving a group penalty following the occurrence of undesired group behavior. or the withdrawal of an unpleasant item from an individual for performing desired behavior. . Group Feedback: Presentation of either oral or written information concerning a group’s desired or undesired behavior. 11. 2.234 Psychology of safety handbook activated? What consequences can be employed to motivate behavior change or support the occurrence of desired behavior? Various intervention approaches Figure 12. or the withdrawal of an unpleasant item from a group or team following desired group behavior. Individual Disincentive: An announcement to an individual specifying the possibility of receiving a penalty following one or more undesired behaviors.

2. Game symbol Raffle coupon Promotional Items Safety button Bumper sticker Key chain Hardhat sticker T-shirt Social Attention Name in newspaper Posted picture Letter of commendation T. . however.1. 1987). most interventions consist of various techniques listed in Figure 12. When the coaching process recognizes safety behavior. various items or events can be used for rewards. Car wax Tire gauge Umbrella. for example. Education and training programs to promote safety and health. and target individuals or groups. (1982). penalty. can be classified as passive or active. for instance. Pocket knife Flashlight. Safety coaching. 1993). As discussed earlier. Exchangeable Tokens Cash Food coupon Ticker to an event Rebate coupon Gift certificate Industry Privileges Time off Extra Break Refreshments Preferred parking Special assignment Useful Items Coffee mug Litter bag. lectures. and the consequence (reward) can be given to individuals or groups. Figure 12. demonstrations. Glenwick and Jason (1980. An incentive/ reward program requires a variety of activators (incentives) to announce the availability of a reward for certain behaviors.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 235 Cone and Hayes (1980). from special privileges and promotional items to special individual or team recognition. and written activators. The first 17 approaches are activators. it is usually perceived as a social attention reward. Pen Chance to Win a Contest Lottery ticket Bingo number Poker card. They attempt to persuade or direct people.. Notice that receiving a reward for particular behavior is a form of feedback—information regarding the occurrence of desired behavior.2. A person can receive feedback. without acquiring any of the rewards listed in Figure 12. and most research articles published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis from 1968 until the present (for example. The three basic types of consequence approaches— reward.1 defines six different consequence procedures. always involves feedback. occurring before the target behavior is performed. Role-playing exercises employ antecedent instructions to direct desired behaviors and consequential feedback to support what is right and correct what can be improved. or verbal reminders. including signs. memos. Geller et al. interview Handshake. newsletters. Also. and feedback—can be given to an individual or to a group. as depicted in Figure 12. Greene et al. V.2 A variety of possible rewards are available to motivate safe behaviors in organizational settings. Therefore. often include discussion/consensus building. Thank-you card Figure 12.

This is because those who were susceptible to changing their behavior at that level have already done so. and consensusbuilding discussions take considerable time and effort to design and deliver. As discussed in Chapter 11. Those showing the desired target behavior at a particular intervention level need to become more fluent. However. some people do not alter their at-risk behavior after reading a simple safety message.236 Psychology of safety handbook Multiple intervention levels Interventions fluctuate widely in terms of cost. administrative effort. At the top of the hierarchy (Level 1). it is a waste of time and effort to target them with a motivational intervention. Written activators like signs. This probability increases as the level increases. The width of each intervention level is marked with the letters “A.” “B. intrusive. such as signs or policy statements specifying the correct behavior for a certain situation. for a variety of reasons.” etc. such as passive activators. individuals unaffected by initial exposures to a particular intervention level will “fall through the cracks. posters. These individuals require a more influential and costly intervention approach. Exposing them to more signs. while minimizing contact between target individuals and intervention agents. The others have fallen through the cracks. require a more intensive. do not “preach to the choir”—enlist the “choir” to preach to others. and participant involvement. 1998a). Placed around the plant. Let us look at some examples. an intervention is designed to have maximum large-scale appeal. It summarizes the important points about different levels of intervention impact and intrusiveness and illustrates the need to multiply the number of intervention agents as the level of intensity and intrusiveness increases. However. Each level has height. people typically notice . Watson and Tharp. commitment techniques.3 depicts a multiple intervention level (MIL) hierarchy (adapted from Geller. these “consciously competent” individuals may need supportive intervention (such as interpersonal recognition) to become more fluent.” Repeated exposure to interventions at the same level will have no effect. A Level 1 intervention might include relatively inexpensive signs. In this regard.” “C. the interventions are least intense and intrusive. as discussed in Chapter 9. implementing an incentive/reward process correctly requires continuous attention and periodic refinement from a team of intervention agents. They need to be motivated and. and newsletter messages are relatively effortless. Some people benefit from the simplest and least expensive interventions. length. The length of each box represents the “probability” that an individual will be influenced to change his or her behavior as a result of experiencing that intervention. In other words. but to date this number has not been empirically verified. Figure 12. By the same token. As discussed in Chapter 9. and expensive intervention. At this level. Other activators like demonstrations. representing different characteristics of the intervention. many of which were considered in Section 2. 1998b. They are instructive and target the maximum number of people for the least cost per person. 1997) if you enroll these folks as agents of change (Katz and Lazarfeld. or billboards with safety messages or slogans. supportive intervention can be useful. therefore. The height of each intervention box represents the “financial investment per person” to participate in or experience that particular intervention. The hierarchy predicts that repeating the same intervention over and over typically will not influence additional people. and width. and memos is generally a waste of time. Notice how the investment per person increases as the levels increase. This hierarchy lists four intervention levels. posters. memos. This indicates repeated applications of the same intervention approach. You can help them become more responsible and self-directed (Geller. 1955). when people do the right thing following the least intrusive intervention technique.

the personal investment per participant has increased. Adapted from Geller (1998a). but soon the activators are forgotten or ignored. but for nonparticipants it will not be enough. They give participants a greater sense of personal control over safety and offer more opportunities for social support.3. they can participate in the next . This instructional intervention should have a greater impact. With permission. a Level 2 intervention is in order. to be faced with a Level 3 intervention. but others are not influenced by this level of intervention intrusiveness. owing to the more intense nature of Level 2 programs. This will likely add more converts to our safety task force. them when they are first put in place or when the message changes. It indicates that once individuals are influenced at any given level. So these employees “fall through the cracks” again. where employees talk about safety issues for an allotted time. notice the large arrow on the left of the diagram in Figure 12. A certain percentage of the plant population might change their behavior and perform more safely as a result. Of course. these motivational techniques require more time and effort from both intervention agents and participants. This might include weekly safety meetings for each work group. This might be an incentive/reward program or a goal-setting and feedback process. they fall through the cracks and need a more intrusive intervention.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 237 Figure 12. Also. For these people.3 When people are not influenced by interventions at one impact level. Meetings require more participation and involvement from the employees. Finally.

1985) and perceived locus of control (Strickland. This is the ultimate intervention for safety. The highest level intervention for safety is one-on-one. In addition. as covered in Chapter 11. the level for safety coaching. the nature of the consequence will influence the target individual’s perception of personal control over the behavior change procedures. extroversion (Eysenck. Increasing intervention impact Based on an extensive literature review and our own studies in safety-belt promotion. 1976. Negative consequences and nongenuine or insincere positive consequences decrease personal control—and the long-term benefits of an intervention process. such as which behaviors to focus on and what rewards to offer. my students and I (Geller et al. The amount of specific response information transmitted by the intervention. The reverse is true for individuals with an external locus of control (Phares. also affect the amount of perceived social support associated with an intervention. and the remainder of this chapter details the ingredients of an effective safety coaching intervention process. Higher level interventions require more change agents. The degree of external consequence control. people with an internal locus of control typically prefer situations that allow them greater personal control rather than being at the mercy of others or chance factors. their perceptions of personal control increase. Participant involvement in an intervention process also depends on certain person factors. Social support is shaped by the amount of peer. 4. External control is determined by the type of behavior-consequence contingency used. such as degree of group cohesion or sense of belonging. or friend encouragement resulting from the intervention process. and occurs in safety coaching. The person-based aspects of perceived social support are discussed in more detail in Chapter 14. A one-to-one agent-to-target ratio is the highest level of intervention intensity and effectiveness. The amount of participant involvement facilitated by the intervention. and the intervention’s impact is enhanced. usually participate more than introverts in interventions involving a high level of activity and social interaction. The concept of personal control is discussed more completely in Chapters 14 and 15. When people get to choose aspects of an intervention. 2. As discussed in Chapter 10. . helping others improve their safety performance. 1989). Extroverts. 1973). The target individual’s perception of personal control or personal choice regarding the behavior change procedures. including an individual’s degree of introversion vs. family.. 1990) proposed that the success of any intervention program is a direct function of 1. such as an individual’s natural tendency to interact in group settings and various group dynamics. Response information varies according to the amount of new behavioral knowledge transmitted by the intervention. More intervention agents per target population usually promote greater participation. The degree of group cohesion or social support promoted. for example. More important than person factors in determining intervention involvement is the ratio of number of intervention agents to individuals in the target population. 5. Person factors. Eysenck and Eysenck.238 Psychology of safety handbook intervention level as a behavior-change agent. this can be facilitated by increasing the salience of the information presented and the proximity between the time a behavioral request is made and the opportunity or ability to perform the desired response. 3.

As illustrated in Figure 12. points out trainable skills needed to accomplish the process. The coach systematically observes the behaviors of another person and provides behavioral feedback on the basis of the observations.4. Sometimes the feedback is given in a group session. Safety coaches recognize and support the safe behaviors they observe and offer constructive feedback to reduce the occurrence of any at-risk behaviors. support. or motivate desirable behavior and/or to decrease undesirable behavior. the feedback is given individually in a personal one-on-one conversation. behavioral checklist. the one-to-one format has greater impact on individual performance. or videotape. Athletic coaching vs. perhaps by critiquing videotapes of team competition. winning coaches practice the basic observation and feedback processes needed for effective safety coaching.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 239 Intervening as a safety coach Coaching is essentially a process of one-on-one observation and feedback. The most effective athletic coaches communicate feedback so team members learn from the exchange and increase their motivation to continuously Figure 12.4 Systematic observation and feedback are key to effective coaching. safety coaching The term “coach” is very familiar to us in an athletic context. using a team roster. Football coaches. This chapter specifies the steps of safety coaching. spend hours and hours analyzing film. Then they deliver specific and constructive feedback to team members to instruct. the most effective team coaches observe the ongoing behaviors of individual players and record their observations in systematic fashion. for instance. Differential Acceptance. Usually. They follow most of the guidelines reviewed here. . In fact. At other times. and illustrates tools and support mechanisms for increasing effectiveness.

either in their own safety or the company’s injury rate. Actually. In fact. the process of athletic coaching is often supported by consequences occurring naturally and soon after the behaviors targeted by the coach. we even see an increase in the individual or team scores as a result of individual or group feedback. The value of athletic coaching becomes obvious. This is my favorite instructional acronym. they do not perceive a personal need for advice from a safety coach. because it not only contains the components of an effective coaching process. While injury reduction is the ultimate purpose of coaching. Usually. But. or a football blocking technique. This requires a behavior-based evaluation process. how often do you hear an individual offer genuine thanks for being corrected on a safety-related behavior? Safety coaching is often viewed as a personal confrontation. We see a direct connection between the improvement and the coach’s feedback.5 the five letters of the word COACH can be used to remember the basic ingredients of the most effective coaching—whether coaching the members of a winning athletic team or the individuals in a work group striving for safe behaviors. When we adjust our behavior following constructive athletic coaching. they usually offer sincere words of appreciation for feedback to improve an athletic behavior. a basketball maneuver. Thus. As I have emphasized throughout this text and have written in other articles (Geller. because on a day-to-day basis there is no clear connection between safety coaching and the ultimate purpose of coaching—reduced injuries. a behavior-based approach to safety treats safety as an achievementoriented (rather than failure-oriented) process (not outcome) that is fact finding (not fault finding) and proactive (rather than reactive). to coach for safety than for sports. . 2000). 1999. The basic principles and procedures for effective coaching are the same whether communicating behavioral feedback to improve athletic or safety performance. such as a golf swing. but it also lists them in the sequence in which they should occur. It is usually more challenging. People do not expect injuries to happen to them and. noting an increase in safe work behavior or a decrease in at-risk behavior owing to safety coaching should result in coaching being appreciated as a proactive.240 Psychology of safety handbook improve. the value of safety coaching is not obvious. Changing the way we keep score for safety can increase acceptance and appreciation for safety coaching. and tools for accomplishing this are covered here. a batter’s stance. we are usually more willing to accept and appreciate advice regarding work production and quality than work safety. it does not take very long to notice an improvement in our performance. The same is true for safety coaches. 1995. Consequences of coaching. Because at-risk behavior is involved in almost every workplace injury. When people follow the advice of a safety coach they usually do not perceive an immediate difference. 1994. This chapter illustrates coaching techniques that meet these criteria and demonstrates the critical value of safety coaching for achieving a Total Safety Culture. the immediate goal is behavioral improvement. a tennis stroke. Sometimes. The safety coaching process As shown in Figure 12. however. because their everyday experience supports this belief. People are generally more accepting of information to improve their performance in sports. upstream approach to reducing injuries.

In other words. In fact. Withdrawals from a person’s emotional bank account occur whenever that individual feels criticized. Covey (1989) explained the value of interdependence among people—exemplified by appropriate safety coaching—with the metaphor of an “emotional bank account. or listened to.” this corrective feedback will have limited impact. withdrawals we have experienced with them. appreciated. When people realize by a safety coach’s words and body language that he or she cares. 1974). However. Our emotional bank accounts. Deposits are made when the holder of the account views a particular interaction to be positive.” The woman in Figure 12. as when he or she feels recognized. humiliated. The person will simply ignore the communication or actually do things to discredit the source or undermine the process or system implicated in the communication. . “C” for care Caring is the basic underlying motivation for coaching.6 is requesting a deposit along with the withdrawal. Our emotional reaction to police officers depends on the proportion of deposits vs. Sometimes. usually as a result of personal interaction. or less appreciated. they are more apt to listen to and accept the coach’s advice. Safety coaches truly care about the health and safety of their coworkers and they act on such caring. it is necessary to offer constructive criticism or even state extreme displeasure with another person’s behavior. safety coaches need to demonstrate a caring attitude through their personal interactions with others. Thus. continued withdrawals from an overdrawn account can lead to defensive or countercontrol reactions (Skinner. When people know you care. 1996).” People develop an emotional bank account with others through personal interaction. 1991. they “actively care” (Geller. if such negative discourse occurs on an “overdrawn or bankrupt account.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 241 C O A C H are • Show that you care • Set caring examples bserve • Define target behavior • Record behavioral occurrences nalyze • Identify existing contingencies • Identify potential contingencies ommunicate • Listen actively • Speak persuasively elp • Recognize continuous improvement • Teach and encourage the process Figure 12. 1994. This maintains healthy emotional bank accounts—operating in the “black.5 The five letters of COACH represent the basic ingredients of effective safety coaching. they care what you know.

but coaching for personal safety is often perceived as meddling. that’s their problem. This requires a shift from an individual to a collective perspective (Triandis. Many people accept a collective or team attitude when it comes to work productivity and quality. This is enabled by a behavior-based measurement system. People need to understand that safety-related behaviors require as much. Coaching for production or quality is part of the job.7. 1977. but this is not easy. with an eye for supporting safe behavior and correcting at-risk behavior. “O” for observe Safety coaches observe the behavior of others objectively and systematically. not mine. People are often unwilling to coach or to be coached for safety because they view safety from an individualistic perspective. A shared responsibility. if not more. One way to convince people to accept and support safety coaching as a shared responsibility is to point out their plant’s injury record for a certain period of time. Behavior that illustrates going .242 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 12. “If Molly and Mike want to put themselves at risk. 1985). it is a matter of individual or personal responsibility. To them. and everyone certainly cares about that. This is illustrated by the verbal expression or internal script. interpersonal observation and feedback as any other job activity.” For some people a change in personal attitude or perspective is needed in order to motivate coaching. reproduced in Figure 12. People need to consider safety coaching a shared responsibility to prevent injuries throughout the entire work culture. as reflected in the insightful poem “The Cookie Thief” by Valerie Cox. as discussed next.6 Our attitude toward police officers would be more positive if we received deposits along with withdrawals. Given this underlying caring attitude. it did happen to someone. While an injury did not happen to them. the challenge is to convince others that effective safety coaching by them will reduce injuries to their coworkers.

She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by. As she reached in her baggage. She was engrossed in her book. He offered her half. She read. Refusing to look back at the "thieving ingrate. as he ate the other. As the gutsy "cookie thief" diminished her stock. which was almost complete. Takes the time to observe occurrences of these behaviors in the work setting. she realized with grief. and watched the clock. the thief! Figure 12. When only one was left." She boarded the plane and sank in her seat. He took the last cookie and broke it in half." she moaned with despair. That she was the rude one. too. Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop. This is the sort of behavior that contributes significantly to safety improvement and can be increased through rewarding feedback. Only with permission should an observation process proceed. Knows exactly what behaviors are desired and undesired (an obvious requirement for athletic coaching). I’d blacken his eye!" With each cookie she took. beyond “the call of duty” for the safety of another person should be especially supported. brother. "Oh. "If I wasn’t so nice. and he’s also rude. Which she tried to ignore. Then sought her book. he took one. As illustrated in Figure 12.8. Why. . This guy has some nerve. and always asks permission first. Observing behavior for supportive and constructive feedback is easy if the coach 1. With several long hours before her flight. She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate. to avoid a scene. the ingrate. That a man beside her. she gasped with surprise.7 Independence from one person can stifle interdependence from another. she wondered what he’d do. With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh. Thinking. he didn’t even show any gratitude!" She had never known when she had been so galled And sighed with relief when her flight was called. She snatched it from him and thought. a safety observer does not hide or spy. "Then the others were his and he tried to share!" Too late to apologize. munched cookies. There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes! "If mine are here. 2.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 243 The Cookie Thief by Valerie Cox A woman was waiting at an airport one night. She hunted for a book in the airport shop. but happened to see. as bold as could be Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between.

Could potentially contribute to a large number of injuries or near hits because many people perform the behavior. which is often a good way to start a large-scale coaching process. and the workers themselves. A critical behavior is a behavior that 1. Ownership and commitment is increased when workers develop their own behavioral checklists. 4. including injury records. Observation checklists can be generic or job-specific. job hazard analyses. standard operating procedures. A CBC enables coaches to look for critical behaviors. A job-specific checklist is designed for one particular job. Could lead to a serious injury or fatality. It is often advantageous—and usually essential—to develop a checklist of safe and at-risk behaviors and to rank them in terms of risk. A generic checklist is used to observe behaviors that may occur during several jobs. Has led to a large number of injuries or near hits in the past.8 Safety coaches are up-front about their intentions and ask permission before observing. a CBC should be designed for only the most critical behaviors. If only a few behaviors are observed in the beginning. Developing a critical behavioral checklist. near-hit reports. Several sources can be consulted to obtain behaviors for a CBC. 3. and they .244 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 12. Deciding which items to include on a critical behavior checklist (CBC) is a very important part of the coaching process. 2. rules and procedural manuals. People already know a lot about their own safety performance. Has previously led to a serious injury or a fatality. They know which safety rules they sometimes ignore.

MOVING OBJECTS Body mechanics while lifting. Some categories in Figure 12. hot tap.9 Use this worksheet to develop a generic critical behavior checklist (CBC). open line. and vice versa. VISUAL FOCUSING Eyes and attention devoted to ongoing task(s)... A work group on a mission to develop a CBC needs to meet periodically to select critical behaviors to observe. PACING OF WORK Rate of ongoing work (e. .. Safe Observation At . from clarifying behavioral definitions to recommending behavioral additions and substitutions. COMPLYING WITH LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Following procedures for lockout/tagout COMPLYING WITH PERMITS Obtaining. Through interactive discussions. As with anything that is new and needs voluntary support. it is useful to start small and build. When starting out.Risk Observation Figure 12.g. and can inhibit the process. etc.g. nurse. and they accept additions to the list. A long list for one-on-one observations can appear overwhelming.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 245 know when a near hit has occurred to themselves or to others because of at-risk behavior. Notice that Operating Procedures BODY POSITIONING/PROTECTING Positioning/protecting body parts (e. The category on body positioning and protecting. A list can get quite long in a hurry. work groups define safe and at-risk behaviors in their own work areas relevant to each category. excavation. equipment guards. do not develop an exhaustive checklist of critical behaviors. it is often useful to obtain advice from the plant doctor. barricades. pushing/pulling. I have found the worksheet depicted in Figure 12.). With practice. includes specific ways workers should protect themselves from environment or equipment hazards. like locking or tagging out equipment or complying with certain permit policies.). avoiding line of fire. etc. people find a CBC easy to use.g. Confined space entry. using PPE. Further development and refinement benefits coaching observations. A work group might add another general procedural category to cover particular work behaviors. In addition. They will also contribute in valuable ways to refine the CBC. COMMUNICATING Verbal or nonverbal interaction that affect safety. (e. then complying with permit(s). for example. The development and use of a CBC is really a continuous improvement process.9 useful in beginning the development of a CBC. spacing breaks appropriately. This can range from using certain personal protective equipment to positioning their body parts in certain ways to avoid possible injury.9 may be irrelevant for certain work groups. or anyone else who maintains injury statistics for the plant. hot work. rushing). safety director.

One year later. and any plant employee could be called on to coach. Participants learn exactly what safe behaviors are needed for a particular work process. and across departments within the same plant. housekeeping. but remember. Sample critical behavior checklist. and then build on the list with practice.246 Psychology of safety handbook defining safe and at-risk behaviors results in safety training in the best sense of the word. The initial plant goal was for each of the 800 employees to complete one 60-second behavioral observation every day. for example. On days and at times selected by the person to be observed. everyone in a particular work area) have derived precise behavioral definitions for each category and have practiced rather extensively with shorter CBCs. I have found it useful to start the observation procedure with a brief CBC of four or five behaviors. not to identify unsafe workers. For this one-on-one coaching process. Figure 12. and more practice.9 could be used as a separate checklist at the initiation of a coaching process. and operating procedures. This plant started with only one scheduled observation per month. A “1” would be placed in either the “safe” or “at-risk” column for each behavioral observation of Person 1.9 can be extensive and overwhelming. A list of work behaviors covering all the generic categories in Figure 12. Results were entered into a computer file for a behavioral safety analysis of the work culture. with space on the right to check safe and at-risk observations. This can only happen if workers themselves decide on the frequency and duration of the observations and derive a method for scheduling the coaching sessions. The first category. Scheduling observation sessions. 30-minute observation session. for example. tools/equipment. and observers were selected from a list of volunteers who had received special coaching training. The success of those process has not varied predictably as a function of protocol. could lead to the development of a CBC for observation of personal protective equipment. voluntary participation will increase. Such practice enables careful refinement of behavioral definitions and builds confidence and trust in the process. The Exxon procedure is markedly different from the “planned 60-second actively caring review” implemented at a Hoechst Celanese plant. The 350 employees at one Exxon Chemical plant. This kind of CBC could be used to record the observations of several individuals. Each of the generic categories in Figure 12.10 allows for recording two or more one-on-one coaching observations. The CBC in Figure 12. With slight periodic revisions. . designed a process calling for people to schedule their own coaching sessions with any two other employees. two observers show up at the individual’s worksite and use a CBC to conduct a systematic. Note that only the name of the observer is included on the data sheet. This kind of CBC recording sheet should be used after the participants (optimally. and a “2” would be used to indicate specific safe and at-risk behaviors for Person 2. employees scheduled two observations per month. this interpersonal coaching process has been in place for eight years (at the time of this writing) and it has enabled this plant to reach and sustain a record-low injury rate. group discussion.10 depicts a comprehensive CBC for recording the results of a coaching observation. by simply adding checks in the safe or at-risk columns for each observation of an individual’s use or nonuse of a particular PPE item. all employees attempt to complete a one-minute observation of another employee’s work practices in five general categories: body position. along with trust. When people realize that safety coaching is only to increase safe behavior and decrease atrisk behavior. This gives numerous opportunities for coaching feedback. I have seen the protocol for effective coaching observations vary widely across plants. personal apparel. There is no best way to arrange for coaching observations. The process needs to fit the setting and work process. Specific PPE behaviors for the work area could be listed in a left-hand column. it takes time and practice to observe behaviors reliably—and to get used to being observed while working.

Asking permission to observe serves notice to work safely and. and columns (“Feedback Targets”) to write comments about the observations. if it is convenient. It is . right? In other words. frequency.10 A comprehensive critical behavior checklist (CBC) enhances the learning from one-on-one observations. The name of the person observed must never be recorded. thus. These comments facilitate a feedback session following the observation session. a “no” to a request to observe must be honored. The front of each card includes the five behavioral categories. Still.11. First and foremost. The CBC used for the one-minute coaching observations is shown in Figure 12. 2 = observations for second person % Safe Behaviors: Total Safe Observations Total Safe and At-Risk Observations = % Figure 12. The back of this CBC includes examples (“memory joggers”) related to each behavioral category on the front of the card. the observer must ask permission before beginning an observation process. their attention to safety will likely increase and they will try to follow all safety procedures. To build trust and increase participation. Critical features of the observation process. biases the observation data. Duration.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 247 Observer: Person 1 Date: Time: Department: Building: Floor: Area: Date: Time: Department: Building: Floor: Area: Person 2 Operating Procedures BODY POSITIONING / PROTECTING VISUAL FOCUSING COMMUNICATING PACING OF WORK MOVING OBJECTS COMPLYING WITH LOCKOUT / TAGOUT COMPLYING WITH PERMITS Safe Observation At-Risk Observation 1 = observations for first person. when workers give permission to be coached. a column to check “safe” or “at risk” per category. These examples summarize the category definitions developed by the CBC steering committee and determine whether “safe” or “at-risk” should be checked on the front of the card. and scheduling procedures of CBC observations vary widely. there are a few common features.

even for a well-intentioned effort.11 Employees used this critical behavior checklist for one-minute observations. What if people sneak around and conduct behavioral observations with no warning? This is in fact an unbiased plant-wide audit of work practices. Procedures Total Location: Date: Feedback Targets: At Risk Safe At Risk Safe Front of One-Minute Audit Card Observation Targets Position * Line of Fire * Falling * Pinch Points * Lifting Safe Apparel * Hair * Clothes * Jewelry * PPE Housekeeping * Floor * Equipment * Storage of Materials Safe At Risk Observation Targets Tools/Equip. They could be unconsciously at risk.” It needs to be seen as a process to help people develop safe work habits through supportive and constructive feedback. * Condition * Use * Guards Procedures * SOP's * JSA's * Permits * Lockout Safe At -Risk * * Barricade Equipment Release Back of One-Minute Audit Card Figure 12. Safety coaching should not be a way to enforce rules or play “gotcha. It might even be accepted if those observed were not identified. Each observation process with a CBC provides for tallying and graphing results as “percent safe behavior” on a group feedback chart. When people give permission to be coached.248 Psychology of safety handbook Observer: Audit Category Position Safe Apparel Housekeeeping Tools/Equip. for people to overlook safety precautions. an atmosphere of mistrust can develop. even when it is corrective. if one-on-one coaching is added to this procedure. Feedback is essential. However. though. Giving corrective feedback after “catching” an individual off-guard performing an at-risk behavior will likely lead to defensiveness and lack of appreciation. even when trying their best. The CBC shown . their willingness to accept and appreciate feedback is maximized. possible. It can also reduce interpersonal trust and alienate a person toward the entire safety coaching process.

12. all checks for safe observations are added and divided by the total number of checks (safe plus at-risk behaviors). That is because a safe check mark on the CBC in this application meant that each separate behavior of a certain category was marked safe on the back. Applying the formula in Figure 12. they should intervene at once. The CBC shown in Figure 12. When observers see an at-risk behavior that immediately threatens a person’s health or safety. this calculation required all behaviors relating to a particular observation category to be safe for a “safe” designation.10 includes a formula at the bottom for calculating percent safe behavior per coaching session. They can usually pick up the observation process Figure 12. An individual’s safety must come before the numbers in any observation process. The true value of the coaching process is not in the behavioral data. There is no best way to do these calculations.10 to checks written on the front of the CBC shown in Figure 12. Thus. I have actually seen observers get so caught up in recording the numbers. What is important is for participants to understand the meaning of the feedback percentages. As shown in the lower half of Figure 12.10 does not use this all-or-nothing calculation and generally results in higher percentages of safe behaviors.11 results in a conservative estimate of percent safe behavior.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 249 in Figure 12.12 Feedback from a critical behavior checklist can be given one-on-one and in groups. such as frequency of safe and at-risk behaviors. these percentages can be readily displayed on a group feedback chart or graph. . While feedback percentages are valuable. it is vital to realize that the process is more important than the numbers. that they let coworkers continue to perform an at-risk behavior while they observe and check columns on a CBC. The result is multiplied by 100 to yield percent safe behavior. which are no doubt biased by uncontrollable factors. In this case. but in the behavior-based interaction between employees.

Because none of us are born with these skills. influence at-risk behavior? • Is certain personal protective equipment uncomfortable or difficult to use? • Are fellow workers or supervisors activating dangerous behavior by requesting or demanding an excessive work pace? • Are certain people motivating at-risk behavior from others by giving rewarding consequences. On the one-minute CBC (Figure 12. An ABC analysis can be done before giving feedback to the person observed or during the one-on-one feedback process. work breaks. Observation procedures always include a provision for one-on-one feedback. The number of CBC cards collected per department was exhibited in a large display case at the plant entrance.250 Psychology of safety handbook afterwards. Discussing the activators and consequences that possibly influenced certain work practices can lead to environment or system improvements for decreasing at-risk behavior. This “deposit” will help compensate for the “withdrawal” that was probably implicated by the need to stop a risky behavior. This understanding is critical if safety coaching is to be a “fact-finding” rather than “fault-finding” process. The employees who designed this protocol decided to make feedback optional in order to increase participation in the observation process. They also appreciate the fact that at-risk behaviors are often motivated by one or more natural consequences.11). for work done quickly at the expense of safety? Answers to these and other questions are explored with the observee in the next phase of safety coaching—the heart of the process. On the other hand. Such training should . especially if there are some safe behaviors to report. and inconsistent messages from management. This is how people discover the reasons behind at-risk behaviors and design interventions to decrease them. safety coaches draw on their understanding of the ABC contingency (for activator–behavior–consequence) introduced in Chapter 8 and the behavior analysis principles discussed in Chapter 9. and at least obtain group feedback from all departments. if the CBC was partially completed before they stepped in. risky example setting by peers. It also leads to an objective and constructive analysis of the situations observed. along with daily percentages of observations resulting in one-on-one feedback. “C” for communicate A good coach is a good communicator. “A” for analyze When interpreting observations. and approval from peers or work supervisors. They realize observable reasons usually exist for why safe or risky behaviors occur They know certain dangerous behaviors are triggered by activators such as work demands. or the ergonomic design of the task. This means being an active listener and persuasive speaker. there is a place to check whether feedback was given or not. including comfort. it might be most convenient to communicate other observations. • Was the behavior observed activated by a work demand or a desire to go on break or leave work early? • Does the design of the equipment or environment. although some processes have made immediate feedback optional. communication training sessions that incorporate role-playing exercises can be invaluable in developing the confidence and competence needed to send and receive behavioral feedback. like words of appreciation. convenience.

which is typical for unacquainted individuals interacting informally. There are prominent cultural differences in interpersonal distance norms. protesting. The far phase of the personal zone (2.5 to 4 feet) is typically used for social interactions between friends and acquaintances. lovemaking. Figure 12. corrective feedback that is appropriately given will be appreciated. with 0 to 6 inches reserved for comforting. It is also important to maintain a proper physical distance during this interaction. communicating closer than 18 inches with another person—measured nose to nose—is considered an intimate distance (Hall. and other full-contact behaviors. People need to understand that anyone can be at risk without even realizing it. the near phase of the personal distance (18 to 30 inches) is reserved for those who are familiar with one another and on good terms. 1966). You should ask the person where it would be appropriate and safe to talk. According to Hall (1966). In the United States. Hall (1959. as in “unconscious incompetence. 1966) coined the term “proxemics” to refer to how we manage space. regardless of who is giving the feedback.” and performance can only improve with behavior-specific feedback. The right delivery I remember key aspects of effective verbal presentation with the “SOFTEN” acronym listed in Figure 12.13 Principles of effective sending can be remembered with SOFTEN. wrestling. The far phase of the intimate zone (6 to 18 inches) is used by individuals who are on very close terms. “Territory” reflects the need to respect the fact that you are encroaching upon another person’s work area. Once this fact is established. and he researched the distances people keep from each other in various situations. .13. Standing too close or too far from another person can cause interference and discomfort. This enables corrective feedback without stepping on feelings. it is important for the observer to initiate communication with a friendly smile and an open (flexible) perspective. These distance recommendations are not hard and fast rules of conduct but rather personal territory norms we need to consider. First.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 251 emphasize the need to separate behavior (actions) from person factors (attitudes and feelings). Work status is not a factor. Safety coaches in the United States should most likely communicate at a “personal distance” (18 inches to 4 feet). Some coaching communication might occur at the near phase (4 to 7 feet) of Hall’s social distance. This is likely to be the most common interaction zone for a workplace coaching session.

it is the most cost-effective intervention technique a safety coach can use. but make it clear the behavioral observations you have recorded will remain anonymous. the definition of proper eye contact. Giving feedback to others. Everyone has experienced the uncomfortable feeling of talking or listening to someone who does not look at them. Some behaviors are followed by consequences that provide natural feedback.14 Body language communicates more than words. Actually. The “E” of our acronym represents three important directives to remember when coaching—energy. Feedback makes perfect. The power of feedback. there is the piercing stare we sometimes perceive with too much eye-to-eye contact. In fact. Without the right feedback. for example. When we do get natural feedback. In contrast. Practice does not make perfect. and you can adjust your technique the next time. as depicted in Figure 12. it is only a near hit. it is an injury. so we will be reinforced and keep on doing things right. Your energy and enthusiasm can activate concern and caring on the part of the person you are communicating with. So where do we get the feedback to improve our safetyrelated behaviors? It must come from people. The same thing happens when we hammer a nail. “Practice makes perfect”? I bet you have heard it a hundred times. we cannot improve our performance. . often unconsciously. our body language speaks louder than words. When you hit a tennis ball or throw a football. We hardly ever get natural feedback about our safety-related behavior. We need to know how we are doing so we can make adjustments if they are called for. based on the information you received. If we are unlucky. and eye contact. You know the old saying. Refer to the other person by name. Proper eye contact is body language critically important to maintain throughout a coaching session. You can see how close it came to where you aimed it. the path of the ball is your feedback. Practice only makes permanence. committed coaches can make “true believers” out of the troops—and that indifferent or distracted coaches can have the opposite effect. or organize our work area—we observe natural consequences that give us feedback about our performance. we need to know that. Take sports. we need to remember that the dearest word to anyone’s ears is his or her own name (Carnegie. Thus. We all know that excited.252 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 12. 1936). type a word. is vital to improving safety-related behavior. When we are doing great. what form does it usually take? If we are lucky. Well. Finally. we learn through natural feedback. and receiving feedback from others about safety. I hate to tell you. too.14. enthusiasm. it is wrong.

. From his scientific detective work. 1933.” “freedom. The explanation of the Hawthorne results is also well-known and recited as a potential confounding factor in numerous field studies of human behavior. If desired work behaviors are targeted. “They were told daily about their output. however. 1939. 1982. 1980. they decrease in probability (e.. Williams and Geller. For anyone who has studied the behavior-based approach to performance management. The fact is. including one of the five female relay assemblers who were the primary targets of the studies. their reasons included “smaller groups. this interpretation of the Hawthorne studies is not accurate—it is nothing but a widely disseminated myth.” and “the way we are treated” (Roethlisberger and Dickson. will be able to paraphrase the infamous finding from these studies that the hourly output rates of the employees studied increased whenever an obvious environmental change occurred in the work setting. in fact. Geller et al. Parsons concluded that performance feedback was the principal extraneous. 1980. they did not mention anything about receiving feedback. 2000). Kim and Hammer. or applied psychologist whether they have heard of the “Hawthorne Effect. or quality has a positive impact on targeted work behaviors. Most. The five test subjects preferred working in the test room rather than in the regular department. because it suggests you should not rely only on verbal report to discover factors influencing work performance. Ask any safety manager. “yes. It should specify a particular behavior and occur soon after the target . industrial consultant. Sometimes. Feedback for safety. pages 66–67). when undesired behaviors are targeted for observation and feedback.” “less supervision. Whether the aim is to support or correct.g.” They might not be able to describe any details of the studies that occurred between 1927 and 1932 at the Western Electric plant in the Hawthorne community near Chicago that led to the classic Hawthorne Effect.” and they probably will say. Komaki et al. There is one other point I would like to make about the Hawthorne studies. Whitehead. Sulzer-Azaroff. 1974). Instead. Roethisberger and Dickson. feedback should be specific and timely. Specifically. but when asked why.” “no bosses. Through systematic and objective observation these factors can be uncovered—and instructive feedback given. this interpretation seems intuitive. however. they increase in frequency. 1938) leave us with this impression and. Austin et al. 1982. it is commonly believed the Hawthorne studies showed that people will change their behavior in desired directions when they know their behavior is being observed. and they found out during the working day how they were doing simply by getting up and walking a few steps to where a record of each output was being accumulated” (Parsons. 1939. The primary Hawthorne sources (Mayo. The power of feedback is evident in the famous Hawthorne studies. 1996. people are not aware of the basic contingencies controlling their behavior. Individual feedback. the only surprise in Parsons’ research is that the critical role of performance feedback was not documented in the original reports of the Hawthorne studies.. confounding variable that accounted for the Hawthorne Effect. page 58). 1980. What happened was the five women observed systematically in the Relay Assembly Test Room received regular feedback about the number of relays each had assembled. Parsons’ findings were published in a seminal Science article entitled “What happened at Hawthorne?” (Parsons. production.. the more money each earned.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 253 Research evidence. Parsons conducted a careful re-examination of the Hawthorne data and interviewed eyewitness observers. The performance feedback was important to the workers (so they were apt to respond to it) because their salaries were influenced by an individual piecework schedule—the more relays each employee assembled. This is worth noting. Numerous research studies have shown that posting results of behavioral observations related to safety.

accept stated feelings without interpretation. practice is important. The best listeners give empathic attention with facial cues and posture. prompt for more details. The exercise can be more fun if groups first demonstrate the wrong way to give feedback and then show the correct procedure. This is how a safety coach shows sincere concern for the feelings and self-esteem of the person on the receiving end of feedback. In training sessions. This figure can be used as a guide for group practice sessions. A good facilitator can draw out important lessons from this communication exercise. “When I worked in your department. Afterward. Because it is not easy to give safety feedback properly and because many people feel awkward or uncomfortable doing it.254 Psychology of safety handbook behavior is performed. and a narrator who sets the scene. Each skit involves at least three participants: a safety coach. the audience should provide feedback. .15 Maximize the beneficial impact of rewarding and correcting feedback with these key points.” Figure 12. Also.15 reviews the critical characteristics of effective rewarding and correcting feedback. a worker receiving feedback. while Figure 12. The presenters should hear about particular strengths of their demonstration and places where it could be improved. it should be private. and avoid arrogance such as. given one-on-one to avoid any interference or embarrassment from others. paraphrase to check understanding. I ask groups of three to seven individuals to develop a brief skit that illustrates rewarding or correcting feedback. Anyone giving feedback must actively listen to reactions. Corrective feedback is most effective if the alternative safe behavior is specified and potential solutions for eliminating the at-risk behavior are discussed. I always worked safely.

People can monitor the progress of their work team as its percentage of safe behaviors increases. because everyone will need to participate in several demonstrations.11). As we have discussed. specific feedback resulted in significantly greater improvement. Group feedback. Specifically. This was provided by a global percent safe score from a similar work group. and complying with lockout/tagout procedures or work-permit requirements. we were pleasantly surprised. When we added social comparison percentages to group feedback charts. The power of social comparison feedback. using appropriate personal protective equipment. the percent safe scores from daily CBCs were posted as separate percentages per each of the nine CBC behaviors or as an overall global percent safe score which was calculated across all nine behaviors on the CBC. Graphs can readily show the percentage of employees wearing safe apparel. . It has to be informative and rewarding for all involved. In a recent industrial safety study. from implementing special training sessions to ergonomically rearranging a particular work area. using tools and equipment safely. However. 1969). one for their own group and another for employees performing the same tasks on another shift. When this graph is posted in a prominent place. Because global feedback was just as effective as specific feedback when social comparison feedback was included. Improving these upstream numbers (percent safe behavior) will eventually reduce the outcome number (work injuries). lifting or moving objects safely. This gives safety the same status as quality and promotes group achievement. as expected. Fortunately. we presumed most of the 97 employees of the soft-drink bottling facility did not need an instructional intervention. we learn much from watching others perform (Bandura. showed the same amount of behavioral improvement as the group who received specific percentages for each CBC behavior and a group who received specific percentages for both their own and a comparable group.” These percentages can be calculated per day or per week or per month and displayed on a feedback graph (see Figure 12. perhaps next to the plant’s statistical process control charts. avoiding the line of fire. A variety of interventions may be called for. Percentages of safe observations can be calculated separately for various workplace activities (see Figures 12. The graphs hold people accountable for process numbers they can control on a daily basis—in contrast to outcome numbers like total recordable injury rate or workers’ compensation costs. It takes practice and peer support for participants to feel comfortable and effective at giving rewarding and correcting feedback. Observation and feedback provide invaluable diagnostic information. A group receiving two global percent safe scores. it took 5 to 6 hours to prepare the weekly graphs of specific feedback. employees can monitor their progress and be naturally rewarded for their efforts. The percentage of safe behavior increased with both group feedback methods. observations recorded on a CBC can be summarized as a calculation of “percent safe behavior. Monitoring behavioral categories separately lets you see what needs special attention. and so the audience learns by vicariously observing demonstrations by peers. whereas it only took about 30 minutes to calculate the percentages for the global feedback displays.10 and 12.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 255 keeping the atmosphere congenial and enjoyable.12). keeping work areas neat and free of trip hazards. They knew how to perform their jobs safely but needed some extrinsic motivation to follow the nine safety policies implied by the nine target behaviors. Williams and Geller (2000) systematically compared the impact of weekly posting specific vs. general behavioral feedback. The finding that a global percent safe score from a comparable work group led to as much improvement as providing separate percentages per each CBC behavior has practical significance. That is.

As Covey (1989) put it. that a coach’s help is accepted. our research suggests you will increase the impact of the global feedback if you add a percent safe score from another similar workgroup. “H” for help The word “help” summarizes what safety coaching is all about. The purpose is to help an individual prevent injury by supporting safe work practices and correcting at-risk practices. Thus. Although Figure 12. This reflects the basic principle of positive reinforcement and motivates people to continue their safe work practices and look out for the safety of coworkers. National Safety News. researchers have shown that laughter can reduce distress and even benefit our immune system (Goodman.256 Psychology of safety handbook Note that global percentages from CBC records can only be effective when workers know the safe operating procedures and need a motivational intervention. 1995. “seek first to understand. It can take the sting out what some find to be an awkward situation. And it builds self-esteem—”I must be valuable to the organization because my opinion is appreciated. emphasizing the positive over the negative. It is critical. “H” for humor Safety is certainly a serious matter. The most effective coaches choose their words carefully. This sends the signal that the listener cares about the person and his or her situation. In fact. 1985). his or her message is more likely to be heard and accepted. of course. It is best.” After a safety coach listens actively. specific feedback is needed. directions. it is unfortunately an accurate portrayal of the atmosphere in many organizational cultures. However. or unimportant are not as likely to go beyond “the call of duty” to benefit the safety of themselves or others as people who feel capable and valuable (see Chapter 15 for support of this argument). increasing interest and acceptance. unappreciated. to build or avoid lessening another person’s self-esteem. The next chapter covers this principle more completely. whereby specific behavioral feedback is provided during one-on-one coaching and global percent safe percentages are posted on a group feedback chart. then to be understood” (page 235).16 is humorous. to provide these employees with one-on-one coaching and specific behavioral feedback. “P” for praise Praising others for their specific accomplishments is another powerful way to build selfesteem. the probability of the behavior reoccurring increases. a combination of individual and group feedback is usually most cost effective. “L” for listen One of the most powerful and convenient ways to build self-esteem is to listen attentively to another person. but sometimes a little humor can add spice to our communications. “E” for esteem People who feel inadequate. or feedback will be appreciated. including the university environment in which I have worked for more than 30 years. If the praise targets a particular behavior. In situations where employees are inexperienced and unaware of the safest work practices. . The four letters of HELP outline strategies to increase the probability that a coach’s advice. however.

however. or individual research articles by Austin et al. The behavior-based feedback and coaching process described here is analogous to the behavior-based safety process detailed by Krause et al. interpersonal communication. Errors stick out and disrupt the flow. comprehensive reviews by Balcazar et al. as I discuss more completely in Section 5 of this Handbook. (1996) and McSween (1995) and . 1980.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 257 Figure 12. Indeed. Sulzer-Azaroff and De Santamaria. 1986. congratulatory notes. 1989. in turn.. whether it was delivered through tables. 1980). and Petersen. and sometimes express sincere appreciation for ongoing safe behavior.. charts. Chhokar and Wallin. As illustrated in Figure 12. 1980).. 1996. Behavior-focused praising is a powerful rewarding consequence which not only increases the behavior it follows. Cooper et al. when things are going smoothly—and safely—there is usually no stimulus to signal success. or a reward following a particular behavior (see. increases the individual’s willingness to actively care for the safety of others. Over the past 20 years.. so they attract reaction and attempts to correct them. Geller et al. Komaki et al. Injuries are a direct function of at-risk behaviors.16 Standard feedback more often depreciates than appreciates a person’s selfesteem. injuries will be prevented. and if these behaviors can be decreased and safe behaviors increased. A person’s good performance is typically taken for granted. 1980. for example. the wellknown Heinrich Law of Safety implicates unsafe acts as the root cause of most near hits and injuries (Heinrich et al. Feedback from behavioral observations was a common ingredient in most of the successful interventions. What can a safety coach achieve? The safety coaching process described here is founded on the basic premise of behaviorbased safety.17.. This. 1984. I give specifics on how to do this in the next chapter.. We need to resist the tendency to go with the flow. Human nature directs more attention to mistakes than successes. a variety of behavior-based research studies have verified this aspect of Heinrich’s Law by systematically evaluating the impact of interventions designed to increase workers’ safe behaviors and decrease their at-risk behaviors. 1994. but also increases a person’s self-esteem.

By the end of two years. 1998c). J.30) and reached their target of zero OSHA recordables in 1997 and 1999. I have personally been teaching variations of this approach to industry for more than 25 years and have never seen the process fail to work when implemented properly. They had received behavior-based coaching training in the latter half of 1992. there are hundreds of real-world case studies which provide evidence of the the injury prevention impact of behavior-based coaching. I have also witnessed numerous cases of companies receiving less than desired benefits owing to incomplete or inadequate implementation.258 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 12. At the time of this writing (mid-2000). In addition to the research referred to previously. (1995) and J. no effective step-by-step cookbook. From an outcome perspective. They have continued this process ever since and have had numerous occasions to celebrate their phenomenal safety success. implemented their observations and feedback process plantwide in 1993. The guidelines presented in this chapter need to be customized. they had almost 100 percent participation and have reaped extraordinary benefits. Achievements from safety coaching are a direct function of the effort put into it. they started with a baseline of 13 OSHA recordable injuries in 1992 (TRIR 4. Keller and Associates (Geller.11). taught in training videotapes and workbooks developed by Tel-A-Train. Figure 12. There is no quick-fix substitute for this process. They sustained only one OSHA recordable in 1994 (TRIR 0. An ExxonMobil Chemical facility in Texas has demonstrated exemplary success with a coaching process based on the principles and procedures described in this chapter. Who knows best what step-by-step coaching procedures will succeed in a given work area? The people employed there know best and they need to be empowered to develop their own safety coaching process. Inc. and progressed to 5 OSHA recordables in 1993 (TRIR 1.70).17 People need frequent rewarding feedback. and by 1994 everyone was on board as a behavior-focused coach. they are still injury free for the year.18 depicts the total recordable injury rate (TRIR) for this plant from 1991 to mid-2000. .

048 behaviors. They identified 51.389 were at risk. If you are honest and frank. for example. In 1992. By rating how often you accomplish the ideal coaching characteristic implied by each item in this questionnaire you will review key points of this chapter. and feelings of belonging and group cohesion throughout the work culture. In fact. but there is little doubt their safety coaching process played a critical role. you will gain important insight from this exercise. It is important to realize that these dramatic improvements in safety perceptions. intentions to actively care for other workers’ safety. In conclusion Safety coaching is a key intervention process for developing and maintaining a Total Safety Culture. 98 percent of the workforce had participated as observers to complete a total of 3350 documented safety coaching sessions.659 were safe and 4. optimism. Results revealed statistically significant improvement in perceptions and attitudes toward industrial safety. and intentions occurred while Exxon and the petrochemical industry experienced significant downsizing.18 The ten-year TRIR record of one ExxonMobil facility indicates powerful influence of interpersonal behavior-based coaching. self-confidence. It was repeated again in 1994. Define your strengths and weaknesses. and teamwork—are discussed in more detail in Section 5 of this Handbook. many factors contributed to this extraordinary performance. the more employees effectively apply the principles of safety coaching discussed here. Obviously. a safety culture survey was administered before the safety coaching process was initiated. the closer an organization will come toward achieving a Total Safety Culture. At the end of 1994. Self appraisal of coaching skills The self-survey in Figure 12. Several of the concepts—particularly self-esteem. The same is true for preventing injury in the community and among our immediate . then apply what you have learned here to improve your competence as an actively caring safety coach.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 259 Figure 12. of which 46.19 reflects attributes of ideal safety coaches. attitudes.

30. 19. I promote feelings of ownership among team members. 16. I create an atmosphere of interpersonal trust. 20. 14. 9. the following questions need to be answered at the start of developing an initial action plan. 18. . I avoid talking down to other workers I supervise. 11. I find ways to celebrate others accomplishments. Indeed. I practise principles of appropriate correcting feedback. I encourage teamwork. 28. Large-scale success requires time and resources to develop materials. 36. Figure 12. I treat others fairly. I help team members solve problems constructively. I explain the rationale for policies and procedures. 34. I treat others with dignity and respect. I take ownership and responsibility for personal decisions. Read each statement. 6. Systematic safety coaching throughout a work culture is certainly feasible in most settings. I practise active listening. and meetings. I only make promises I can keep. I practise principles of appropriate rewarding feedback. I am optimistic. Highly Agree Agree Not Sure Disagree Highly Disagree 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 1. 32. 12." I encourage others to participate actively in conversations. 8. 4. I demonstrate personal integrity when dealing with others. 29. 5. 13. 26. I accept others' failures as opportunities to learn. I refer to specific observable actions when discussing a worker's performance. 22. establish support mechanisms. 24. I express interest in the career growth of workers I supervise. I ask others for ideas and opinions. 10. 3. When appropriate I challenge higher level management. I display a sense of humor. 27. 2. I promote synergy among team members. I promote a win/win approach to problem solving. 33. and continually improve the process and support mechanisms whenever possible. I promote others' perceptions of self-confidence. we need to practice the principles of safety coaching in every situation where an injury could occur following at-risk behavior. I give credit for a job well done. discussions. 35.260 Psychology of safety handbook Answer each of these questions honestly to determine your current level of readiness and competence to be an effective safety coach. I provide both direction and encouragement when requesting behavior change. 7. train necessary personnel. I act to support the value that "people are our most important asset. family members at home. I promote others' sense of personal control. then circle the number that best describes your current feelings. 23. I evaluate others' performance as objectively as possible. 21. I encourage and accept performance feedback from others. I show sensitivity to the feelings of others. 17. I work with others to set performance standards. I take a balanced approach to long-term goals and short-term results.19 Use this survey to evaluate your coaching skills. For example. 25. monitor progress. 15. I promote others' self-esteem. 31.

B. respectively. S. J. policy. Cone.. and how long will the coaching sessions last? • Where will the group feedback graphs be posted. S. Psychol. With this end in mind. M. J. Reducing accidents using goal setting and feedback: a field study. and Hayes.. Methuen. S.. 1984. J. and who will be responsible for preparing the displays of safe behavior percentages? • Who will be on the steering committee to oversee the safety coaching process. .. and Wallin. Organ. Phillips. Kessler. London. 524. J.. 1969. monitor progress. There must be significant input from the people protected by the coaching process and from whom long-term participation is needed.. Any variety of activator and consequence strategies explained in Chapters 10 and 11. 67. Covey.. F. objective review of performance feedback. Balcazar.. S. 1996. I recommend starting small to build confidence and optimism on small-win accomplishments. 49. A critical. set long-term goals for continuous improvement. Holt. Rinehart & Winston. 65. how often will people be coached. 3rd ed. Simon & Schuster. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Environmental Problems: Behavioral Solutions.. A. References Austin. H.. and refine procedural components whenever necessary? This does not cover all the issues... Eysenck. Organizational cultures vary widely according to personnel. In other words. Brooks/Cole. New York. These steps require people to go beyond their normal routine to help another person. Behav. 1986. P. and Bailey. safety coaching is one type of intervention for the “I” stage of the DO IT process. thereby. and resources to achieve a plant-wide safety coaching process.. J. Monterey. Organ. D. 1989. L. 7(3/4). Remember to celebrate achievements that reflect successive approximations of your vision—an organization of people who consistently coach each other effectively to increase safe work practices and decrease at-risk behaviors. There is no formula for a quick-fix solution. environmental factors. How to Win Friends and Influence People. J.. J. Riccobono. Using feedback and reinforcement to improve the performance and safety of a roofing crew. Then with patience and diligence. answer these and other questions about process implementation. L. M. Y. R. Bandura. effort. the work process. J. Principles of Behavior Modification. The Structure of Human Personality. New York. Chhokar.. Psychol..Chapter twelve: • • • • • Intervening as a behavior-change agent 261 Who will develop the critical behavior checklist (CBC)? How extensive will the first CBC be? What information will be used to define critical behaviors? How will safety coaches be trained and receive practice and feedback? How many coaches will be trained initially and how can additional people volunteer to participate as a safety coach? • How will the coaching sessions be scheduled. Carnegie. can be used as a behavior-based intervention. but keep in mind the many other ways you can contribute to the health and safety of a work culture. R. history. and Makin.. Behav. 219. Manage. J. CA. Simon & Schuster. Manage. J. V. A. J. 1994... D. New York. Appl. and current contingencies. and Suarez. 1976.. D. J. A. A field study of the effects of feedback frequency on performance. 1980. improve safety with everyday interpersonal conversations and informal coaching.. So implementation procedures need to be customized. Hopkins. yet the list might appear overwhelming at first. 1936. Organ. 16. Cooper. 69. J. It is likely to take significant time. The next chapter shows how we can support and. maintain records. Safety coaching is a critically important intervention approach. E. Sutherland.. C.

Appl. L... Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. 1996. 1995. Geller. and Everett. Geller. Managing the human element of occupational health and safety.. 2000.. W. Am. National Safety News. Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Monograph Series: Progress in Behavioral Studies. Appl. Effect of performance feedback and goal setting on productivity and satisfaction in an organizational setting. Maintaining involvement in occupational safety: fourteen key points. J. Prof.. J. Winett. J. 261. Psychol. E. New York. CRC Press/Lewis Publishers. 1999. E. E. S. 267(13). Geller. in Essentials of Occupational Safety and Health Management. Geller. WI. Psycho. Springer. H. Eason. 72.. Doubleday. and Lazarfeld.. 1933. R. McGraw-Hill.. Winett. H. 2(3). 1991. What happened at Hawthorne?... J. R.. Behavior Analysis in the Community: Readings from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. S. Neenah. Safety coaching: key to achieving a total safety culture. 48.. 69(1). S.. 39(9) 18... NY. M. Keller & Associates. T. Med. Pract. E. The Values-Based Safety Process: Improving Your Safety Culture with a Behavioral Approach. Petersen. S. Geller. E. P. E. W. S. Doubleday. Geller. Inc. Science. M. MA. Heinrich. 1858. McSween. Health Educ. p. Effect training and feedback: component analysis of a behavioral safety program. T. 16. S. 40. S. Evans. T. Hall. Keller & Associates.. Laughing matters: taking your job seriously and yourself lightly. New York. Parsons. 1987. 1980.. Goodman. 24. and Hodson. Krause. Behav. Katz. 1993. J. D. Parsons... 1959. J. University of Kansas Press. 5(2). Promoting Health and Mental Health in Children. T. R.. L. S. D. Lack. S. Geller. S. 65(3). 1980. A. 125. Anal. MA. Behav.. 1982. 1998b. Occup. controversy and clarification. The Behavior-Based Safety Process: Managing Involvement for an Injury-Free Culture. Berry... Lessons for productivity from the Hawthorne studies. Geller. E.. B. J.. D. J. NY. and Clarke.. A. Eds.. Saf. E. and Roos. Van Nostrand Reinhold.. N. J. 2. A. Kim. Praeger. and Iwata. D. Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communication.. Eds. Glenwick. Health Saf. 40(7). E. Ludwig.. Geller. Van Nostrand/Reinhold. Saf. H.. 1974.. Industrial Accident Prevention: a Safety Management Approach.. and Pierson. Greene. 68(1). E. W. FL.. J. Glenwick. S. E.. J. New York. Garden City. Komaki.. A. 1998a. and Eysenck. Manage. Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. Preserving the Environment: New Strategies for Behavior Change.. M... The Silent Language. R. Boca Raton. 1980. B. 61. Intervention to improve sanitation during food preparation. E.. E. S. and Jason.. Hidley.. P. J. H. J. A conceptual framework for developing and evaluating behavior change interventions for injury control. R. A. S. Behavioral Community Psychology: Progress and Prospects. T. New York. R.. The Hidden Dimension. Plenum Press. E. M. E. Geller. Geller. 2nd ed. Assoc. Practical Behavior-Based Safety: Step-by-Step Methods to Improve Your Workplace... Van Houten. A. 607. S. 2nd ed.. Laughter could really be the best medicine. 5th ed. R. New York. Lawrence. D. 1995. If only more would actively care. 15. Glencoe. Free Press. and Lawson. H. Inc.. Neenah. Theor.. L.. 1994. Ed.. Applications of behavior analysis to prevent injuries from vehicle crashes. Res. Garden City. and Families. 1955. 1995.. Occup. B. S. B. App. J.. 1982. 183. Ten principles for achieving a Total Safety Culture... Gilmore. W.. E. 1985. and Jason.. F... Phillips. New York. Health Saf. Geller. KS. A.. 922. 1985. Heinzmann. T. E. New York.... E. WI. C. Pergamon Press. The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization. 1966. Behavior-based safety: confusion. Monograph No. J. and Hammer.262 Psychology of safety handbook Eysenck. Prof. Geller. S. E. E. Personality and Individual Differences: a Natural Science Approach.... 229. Il. S. T. Youth. 1990. Mayo. J. M. L. 1998c. D. Cambridge. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility.. in Proceedings of Human . S.. 2nd ed. Hall. 1996. Boston. 1980.. Organ.

John Wiley and Sons. Alfred A. F. Safe Behavior Reinforcement. Harvard University Press.. W.. Triandis. Tel-A-Train. F. 1989. New York.. J.. MA. Knoff. Self-Directed Behavior: Self-Modification for Personal Adjustment.. 1938. Psychol. Phares. Columbia University. and Dickson.. J. L. Harvard University Press.. N. D. Inc. J. Personal. E. The Industrial Worker. Pacific Grove. S. Management and the Worker. The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts.. H. Inc. and Geller. 1985.. Ed. Brooks/Cole. 1982. B. 1997. G. Watson. 287. TX.. General Learning Press. Appl.. B. Aloray. Actively Caring for Safety.Chapter twelve: Intervening as a behavior-change agent 263 Factors Symposium sponsored by the Metropolitan Chapter of the Human Factors Society. CA. 7th ed. Anal. Cambridge. 506. D. NJ. Petersen. Rothlisberger. New York. New York. C. Wescott Communications. L.. C. Dallas. W. Soc. Monterey. R. M. 13.. E. About Behaviorism. Locus of Control: a Personality Determinant of Behavior. 1974. J. 1939. New York. T. and De Santamaria. Frederiksen. B. Brooks/Cole. and Tharp. 1977. 96. 1973. J. 1980. Behav. Sulzer-Azaroff. Whitehead.. Morristown. Behavioral approaches to occupational health and safety. Williams. Industrial safety hazard reduction through performance feedback.. Skinner. Behavior-based intervention for occupational safety: critical impact . Triandis. C. MA. H. in Handbook of Organizational Behavior Management. H. Cambridge.. J. Sulzer-Azaroff. CA. 1980. 1995. Interpersonal Behavior..


for combining activator and consequence strategies to motivate behavior (Chapter 11). In other words. It can create conflict and build barriers to safety improvement or it can cultivate the kind of work culture needed to make a major breakthrough in injury prevention. which in turn influences our willingness to get involved in safetyimprovement efforts. “Leadership is the ability to persuade others to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. . Comments written on the CBCs are discussed in group meetings to analyze areas of concern and to find ways to make safe behavior more likely to occur.chapter thirteen Intervening with supportive conversation Interpersonal conversation defines the culture in which we work.”—Dwight Eisenhower Up to this point. and how we talk to ourselves (intrapersonal communication) influences our own behavior and attitude. How we talk with others (interpersonal communication) influences their attitude and ongoing behavior. Then. Interpersonal conversation also affects our intrapersonal conversations or self-talk. this chapter also addresses self-talk—the mental scripts we carry around in our heads before. It is fair to say that the nature of our safety-related conversations with others influences their degree of involvement in safety. the CBC is used to present directive and/or motivational feedback in a one-to-one interpersonal conversation. and for using interpersonal coaching to both direct and motivate behavioral improvement (Chapter 12). during. This is the distinction I introduced in Chapter 9 between feeling accountable or other-directed vs. and after our behaviors. Coaching was presented as a rather formal step-by-step process whereby a critical behavior checklist (CBC) is developed and used to observe and analyze the safe vs. percent safe scores are derived from a variety of CBCs and presented on a group feedback chart. Therefore. This chapter explains the reciprocal impact of inter. This chapter is also about interpersonal conversation and coaching. but the emphasis is on brief informal communication to support safe behavior and help it become more fluent. responsible or self-directed. the intervention procedures in Section 4 have been relatively formal. The variety of the safety-related conversations we have with ourselves influences whether we feel accountable to someone else for our safe behaviors or whether we feel self-accountable for our safety-related behaviors. I recommended a set of guidelines for developing and implementing activator strategies (Chapter 10) to direct behavior.1.and intrapersonal conversation and offers guidelines for aligning both toward the achievement of a Total Safety Culture. as illustrated in Figure 13. at-risk behaviors occurring in a particular work procedure. Also.

but one-to-one interpersonal Figure 13.2 The power of conversation comes from face-to-face communication.2.266 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 13. and on the road is determined by conversation.1 Formal coaching includes the use of a checklist to give one-on-one behavioral feedback. The bottom line is that I believe the long-term success of any effort to prevent injuries in the workplace. The power of conversation I am convinced the dramatic success companies experience with behavior-based safety is essentially owing to an increase in the quality and quantity of safety correspondence—not the high-tech communication referred to in Figure 13. in the home. .

you can describe behaviors that reflect these concepts. each defined by the nature of interpersonal conversation. and forgiveness? Sure. 1994. It can make or break interpersonal conflict which. This chapter offers guidelines and techniques for getting more beneficial impact from our conversations with others and with ourselves. I think you can see how the barrier starts to build. “Hello. Building barriers Almost everyone has seen how lack of communication can escalate a minor incident into major conflict. and reduced willingness to actively care for another person’s safety. Resolving conflict If the lack of conversation can initiate or fuel conflict. Bringing intangibles to life What are love. The result is perhaps the perception of interpersonal conflict. When groups. Likewise. This is only one of many situations that can stifle interpersonal communication and lead to negative feelings and judgments. You might even talk about that person’s “unfriendliness” to others. we get a “culture. Here is an example: You see a coworker and say. “Let’s talk it out. benefits people’s self-talk about safety. courage. Think about how we “fall in or out of love” depending on how we talk to ourselves and others. in turn. both to ourselves and to others. Of course. in turn. courage. an unpleasant relationship. enables constructive or destructive relationships. Still. it is the quality of that conversation that will determine whether any perceived conflict is heightened or lessened. happiness. So let us consider the impact of effective conversation or the lack thereof. you avoid being friendly. organizations. or loyalty by talking about that individual in certain ways. The nature of relationships determines whether individuals are willing to actively care for another person’s safety and health (Geller. friendship. and this inner conversation is obviously influenced by what we hear others say about us. Maybe she did not see you.” Perhaps. So the next time you see this person. loyalty. Then four types of safety management are presented. For example. it is not surprising that the occurrence of conversation can prevent or eliminate conflict. Defining culture Does the term “unspoken conversation” make sense? I am referring to customs or unwritten rules we heed without mention. it is fair to say that culture is conversation— both spoken and unspoken. Such improvement. or communities communicate to define these concepts. We define another person’s friendship. we might realize the “teacher’s pets” sit . Our mental scripts and verbal behavior are powerful—giving useful meaning to concepts that define the very essence of human existence. increasing their sense of personal control and optimism regarding their ability to prevent occupational injuries. but where is the true meaning? I think we derive the meaning of these common words from our conversations. 2000a. lowered work output. Here I only want you to consider the power of interpersonal talk.” yet she passes by without reacting.” as the saying goes. or had other thoughts on her mind. This issue of conversation quality is covered later in this chapter.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 267 conversation about safety. it is easy for you to assume the person is unfriendly or does not like you. I cannot expect you to spend the time and effort needed to improve communications until you truly appreciate the power of conversation.b). we can convince ourselves we are happy through our self-talk.

The safety image of an organization can vary. However.3 Conversation can build or demean public image. through interpersonal and intrapersonal conversation. we have mixed messages and an inconsistent public image.268 Psychology of safety handbook in the front row or the boss does not want to hear about a “near miss” or the real purpose of the safety incentive program is to stifle the reporting of OSHA recordables. If it were. depending on who is doing the talking. whether referring to an individual or an organization. public conversation has generally demeaned the image of most politicians. but such prejudice is certainly not expressed. it is probably fair to say our mental script about ourselves is our self-esteem. We might also know characteristics that bias certain managers’ performance appraisals. depending on whether you are listening to Democrats or Republicans. as shown in Figure 13. and then cultures can change.3. We can focus our selftalk on the good things people say about us or on other people’s critical statements about Figure 13. from gender and seniority to ability on the golf course.” while the public would not doubt this company’s elite ranking. The image of our president changes. a productive conversation would be possible—one that could reduce the conflict and bias that hinder the optimization of a work system and the achievement of a Total Safety Culture. The bottom line is that spoken and unspoken words define cultures and subcultures. for better or worse. In fact. though. . Sometimes. different groups talk about an individual or organization in different ways. It might be understood that a male with high seniority and a low golf handicap is more likely to get the special training assignment. How we talk to ourselves both influences and reflects our self-esteem. Defining public image and self-esteem Public conversation defines public image. As a result. Safety professionals might question a company’s touting of “zero injuries.

As illustrated in Figure 13. negative self-talk can interfere with the kind of positive experiences that should lead to positive intrapersonal communication and an increase in self-esteem. and define public image. Krisco (1997) defines a breakthough as going beyond business as usual and getting more than expected.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 269 Figure 13. we need to direct this powerful tool to support safety. So how can we visualize possibilities. the greater the resistance. show commitment to go for a breakthrough. and culture.4. our self-esteem can go up or down according to how we talk to ourselves about the way others talk about us. This requires people to realize new possibilities. us. Expect barriers and resistance to change warns Krisco. and then make a concerted effort to overcome barriers. self-esteem. In other words.4 Negative self-talk can ruin a good thing. achieve breakthroughs. . The result is a certain kind of self-talk we call “interpretation. commit to going for more. both interpersonal and intrapersonal. Conversation. enables us to overcome the barriers that hold back the accomplishment of breakthroughs. In summary Given the power of conversation to resolve interpersonal conflict. most barriers to change are interpretations or people’s self-talk about perceived reality. The greater the change. Making breakthroughs In his provocative book Leadership and the Art of Conversation. but remember.” Such intrapersonal communication can increase or decrease how we feel about ourselves. How do we maximize the impact of our interpersonal and intrapersonal conversations? What kinds of conversations are more likely to provoke and maintain beneficial improvement in occupational safety? This is the theme for the remainder of this chapter. and identify barriers to overcome? You guessed it— through conversation.

If you want conversation to lead to improvement-focused behavior. . This is the case for group conversation at a team meeting. Then shift the focus toward the future. One must wonder. you first must recognize and appreciate what the other person has to say. 2000. It obviously took a lot of science and technology. Krisco. that by the end of the decade the United States would put people on the moon and return them safely to earth. Conversation. as discussed previously. These are examples of conversations stuck in the past. While the Russians had completed several successful space missions at the time. the conversation must leave the past and move on. Many thought this prediction was absurd. Yet. Applying these techniques can also improve how you talk to yourself—your “self-talk. Progress begins with transitioning conversation to the future (the vision) and then returning to the present for the development of goal-directed action plans. Remember. America lagged behind in the “space race. The power of future talk is illustrated by President John F. Do not look back Has this ever happened to you? You ask for more safety involvement from a particular individual and you get a reaction like.S. the world watched in awe when astronaut Neil Armstrong took that “giant leap for mankind” and planted an American flag on the moon. is a powerful tool that shapes personal and team attitudes about loyalty. social support. however. you are approaching this person to discuss possibilities for safety improvement and specific ways to get started now. 1961. commitment. as well as for one-on-one advising. opinions. on July 20.” Renowned U.” The payoff is increased self-esteem and perceptions of empowerment. For this to happen. counseling. Krisco (1997) maintains that leaders need to help people move their conversations from the past to the future and then back to the present. possibilities need to be entertained (future talk) and then practical action plans need to be developed (present talk). Conversations about past events help us connect with others and recognize similar experiences. Some say President Kennedy actually spoke a manned lunar landing into existence (Blair. Each of the techniques presented here can get employees more involved in safety. and monumental team effort to pull off that historic lunar landing. “I offered a safety suggestion three years ago and no one responded. or safety coaching. and motives.” You may have attended a safety meeting where people spent more time going over past accomplishments or failures than discussing future possibilities and deriving action plans. but such communication does not enable progress toward problem solving or continuous improvement. 1969. To direct the flow of a conversation from past to future and then to the present. Kennedy’s vision.270 Psychology of safety handbook The art of improving conversation The focus here is on improving safety-related conversations between people. scientists warned that a moon landing was impossible because of insufficient fuel and computer technology. The discussion might be enjoyable but little or no progress is made. which are essential for increasing our willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others. and improve the overall level of workplace safety performance. and safety. if that mission would ever have been accomplished if the leader of our country had not communicated his vision—his future talk. stated on May 25. 1997).

Try to be more nondirective when using interpersonal conversation to affect behavior change. but her directive stance causes miscommunication. Think about it. passion for safety sometimes leads to an overly directive approach to get others to change their behavior. For example. This reflects success in moving conversation from the past to the future and then to a specific action plan. Ryan and Deci. point out certain safe behaviors you noticed—it is important to emphasize positives. one person might offer to help a coworker meet an obligation through verbal reminders or an individual might agree to honor a commitment by showing a coach behavioral records that indicate improvement. but. . first. it is essentially ineffective. The supervisor in Figure 13. I am not suggesting safety leaders become therapists. The mother in Figure 13. You can do this by asking questions with a sincere and caring demeanor. in their own words. As Covey (1984) recommends with his fifth habit for highly effective people. 1982. controlling manner. The objective is to get clients to reveal their concerns. Get them to tell you.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 271 Seek commitment You know your interpersonal conversation is especially productive when someone makes a commitment to improve in a certain way. you could feel insulted or embarrassed. Stop and listen In their eagerness to prevent injury. The therapist’s role is to be a passive catalyst. Now you can proceed to talk about how that commitment can be supported or how to hold the individual accountable.6 certainly means well.5 means well. that a nondirective approach to giving advice is often more effective. but if you did not request feedback. This is. especially over the long term (Bandura. The person is becoming self-motivated. the kind of follow-up conversation that facilitates personal achievement. You might follow the instruction. 1985. but I bet your reaction is not entirely positive. You know from personal experience. 2000). and clinical psychologists have shown through research. Corrective feedback that can be interpreted as an “adult-child” confrontation will probably not work. and solutions on their own terms. but the worker does not see it that way. 1951). what they ought to be doing in order to be safe. A nondirective perspective would allow mom to understand where the child is coming from. but how will you feel? Will you be motivated to make a permanent change? You might if you asked for the direction. safety advocates often give corrective feedback in a top-down. 1993). Avoid at all costs a sarcastic or demeaning tone. In other words. Let me explain what I mean here. How do you respond when someone overtly tells you what to do? Now it certainly depends on who is giving the instruction. A verbal commitment also tells you that something is happening on an intrapersonal level within that other person. The theme of nondirective psychotherapy is active listening (Rogers. When a directive conversation is interpreted as controlling or demeaning. especially if it comes from someone with the power to control consequences. 1997. Deci and Ryan.” Ask questions first Instead of telling people what to do. but we can take some useful lessons from this nondirective approach. of course. increasing the probability the target behavior will improve (Cialdini. so play it safe. “Seek first to understand before being understood. problems. enabling and facilitating a conversation that is directed and owned by the client. try this.

You might. Figure 13. in fact. find . “Is there a safer way to perform that task?” Of course. you need to be more precise in follow-up questioning. However. you hope for more than a “yes” or “no” response to a question like this. if that is all you get.5 Corrective feedback can feel demeaning. You might.6 A directive paradigm can stifle understanding.272 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 13. I recommend approaching a corrective feedback conversation as if you do not know the safest cooperating procedures. Then move on to the seemingly at-risk behavior by asking. point out a particular work routine that seems risky and ask whether there is a safer way. even though you think you do. for example.

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Figure 13.7 Diagnosis requires questions and answers.

your presumptions to be imperfect. The “expert” on the job might know something you do not know. If you approach the situation with this mindset, you will not get the kind of reaction given by the woman in Figure 13.7. By asking questions, you are always going to learn something. If nothing else you will hear the rationale behind taking a risk over choosing the safer alternative. You might uncover a barrier to safety that you can help the person overcome. A conversation that entertains ways to remove obstacles that hinder safe behavior is especially valuable if it translates possibilities into feasible and relevant action plans. You will know your nondirective approach to correction worked if your colleague owns up to his or her mistake even under a cloud of excuses. Remember, it is only natural to offer a rationale for taking a risk. It is a way of protecting self-esteem. Let it pass, and remind yourself that when someone admits a mistake before you point it out, there is a greater chance for both acceptance of responsibility and behavior to change.

Transition from nondirective to directive
What if the person does not give a satisfactory answer to your questions about safer alternatives? What if the individual does not seem to know the safest operating procedure? Now you need to shift the conversation from nondirective to directive. You need to give behavior-focused advice. In this case, start with the phrase, “As you know,” as my friend Drebinger (2000) advises. Open the conversation with a phrase that implies the person really does know the safe way to perform, but for some reason just overlooked it (or forgot) this time. This could happen to anyone. Such an opening can help prevent others from feeling their intelligence or safety knowledge has been insulted.


Psychology of safety handbook

Beware of bias
Every conversation you have with someone is biased by prejudice or prejudgment filters— in yourself and within the other person. You cannot get around it. From personal experience, people develop opinions and attitudes and these, in turn, influence subsequent experience. With regard to interpersonal conversation, we have subjective prejudgment filters that influence what words we hear, how we interpret those words, and what we say in response to those words. In Chapter 5, I referred to this bias as premature cognitive commitment (Langer, 1989). Every conversation influences how we process and interpret the next conversation. Figure 13.8 illustrates what I mean. The female driver is merely trying to inform the other driver of an obstacle in the road, but that is not what the driver of the pick-up hears. This driver’s prior driving experiences lead to a biased interpretation of the warning. You could call such selective listening an “autobiographical bias” (Covey, 1989). Of course, factors besides prior experience can bias interpersonal communication, including personality, mood state, physiological needs, and future expectations. It is probably impossible to escape completely the impact of this premature bias in our conversations, but we can exert some control. Actually, each of the conversation strategies discussed here is helpful. For example, the nondirective approach attempts to overcome this bias by listening actively and asking questions before giving instruction. With this approach, a person’s biasing filters can be identified and considered in the customization of a plan for corrective action. Certain words or phrases in a conversation can be helpful in diminishing the impact of prejudice filter. For example, when you say “as you know” before giving behavior-based advice, you are limiting the perception of a personal insult and the possibility of a “tuneout” filter. By asking people for their input up front, you reduce the likelihood they will later tune you out. It is the principle of reciprocity (Cialdini, 1993). By listening first, you increase the odds the other person will listen to you without a tune-out filter.

Figure 13.8 Selective listening can be hazardous to your health.

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If you think a person might tune you out because he or she heard your message before, you could use opening words to limit the power of tune-out filters. Specifically, you might start the conversation with something like, “Now I realize you might have heard something like this before, but. . . . “ In this way, you are anticipating the kind of intrapersonal conversation (or mental script) that triggers a tune-out reaction and, therefore, you reduce such filtering. In the same vein, do not let your prejudices about a speaker limit what you hear. Do you ever listen less closely to certain individuals, perhaps because the person seldom has anything useful to say or because you think you can predict what he will say? If so, you have let your past conversations with this individual bias future conversation. Becoming aware of this “stuck-in-the-past” prejudice can enable more active, even proactive, listening. Do not let the speaker limit what you hear. Tell yourself you are not listening to someone, rather you are listening for something (Krisco, 1997). You are not listening reactively to confirm a prejudice—you are listening proactively for possibilities. Pay close attention to the body language and tone in conversations. I am sure you have heard many times that the method of delivery can hold as much or more information as the words themselves. Listen for passion, commitment, or caring. If nothing else, you could learn whether the messenger understands and believes the message and, perhaps, you will learn a new way to deliver a message yourself. The bottom line is our intrapersonal conversations can either facilitate or hinder what we learn from interpersonal conversation.

Plant words to improve self-image
Earlier in this chapter, I discussed how conversation influences both public and self-image. How we talk about others influences interpersonal perceptions. How we hear others talk about us shapes our own self-image and how we talk to ourselves about these viewpoints can make them a permanent feature of our self-concept or self-esteem. Do you want to change how others perceive you? Change the conversations people are having about you. Through proactive listening, you can become aware of negative interpersonal conversations about you and then you can interject new statements about yourself into conversations, especially with people who have numerous contacts with others. If you suspect, for example, that colleagues consider you to be forgetful and disorganized, you could mention certain self-management strategies you have been using lately to improve memory and organization. Of course, you need to actually practice these techniques so you will also change your self-dialogue. If you focus on new positive qualities rather than past inadequacies in your conversations with others and with yourself, you will surely improve your self-image and self-esteem. Plant key messages about your commitment to become a more effective safety leader and you will eventually see yourself that way and behave accordingly.

In summary
The strategies covered here for getting the most from interpersonal conversation are reviewed in Figure 13.9. Each technique is relevant for getting more safety-related involvement from others. Applying these strategies effectively can improve one’s self-talk or intrapersonal conversation. This leads to increased self-esteem and perceptions of empowerment—person states which enhance an individual’s willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others. Evidence for this is detailed in Section 5 of this Handbook.


Psychology of safety handbook

Safety Conversation Checklist
Listen attentively and proactively. Focus on the positive actions observed. Draw out responses from the other person. Influence others to tell you what they should do to be safe. Ask questions with a sincere and caring demeanor. Act as if you don’t know the answer, even though you think you do. Shift the focus to future possibilities for improvement. Bring the conversation back to the present and develop an action plan. Seek a verbal commitment to follow the action plan. Plant words to improve public and self-image. Figure 13.9 Follow these strategies to get the most from interpersonal conversation. First, consider the tendency to focus interpersonal and intrapersonal conversation on the past. This helps us connect with others, but it also feeds our prejudice filters and limits the potential for conversation to facilitate beneficial change. We enable progress when we move conversations with ourselves and others from past to future possibilities and then to the development of an action plan. Expect people to protect their self-esteem with excuses for their past mistakes. Listen proactively for barriers to safe behavior reflected in these excuses. Then help the conversation shift to a discussion of possibilities for improvement and personal commitment to apply a practical action plan. This is more likely to occur with a nondirective than a directive approach, in which more questions are asked than directives given, and when opening words are used to protect self-esteem and limit the impact of reactive bias. Remember that planting certain words in self-talk and conversations with others can improve your self-image and confidence as a facilitator of beneficial change. Tell others of your increased commitment to facilitate more effective safety conversations. Then, tell yourself the strategies you will use to improve interpersonal conversation and commend yourself when you do. In this way, intra- and interpersonal conversations work together to help achieve a Total Safety Culture.

Conversation for safety management
Safety is managed through conversation, and the success of safety management is determined, in large part, by the effectiveness of interpersonal communication. This starts with listening proactively to understand the other person’s situation before giving direction, advice, or support. Then one of four types of interpersonal conversation should occur, depending on what kind of management is called for. As depicted in Figure 13.10 the conversation can reflect coaching, supporting, instructing, or delegating (Blanchard et al., 1985), depending on the amount of direction and motivation given.

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Figure 13.10 Management conversation is determined by amount of direction and motivation needed.

Coaching conversation
As detailed in Chapter 12, coaches give direction and provide feedback. They present a plan, perhaps specific behaviors needed for a certain task, and then follow up with support and empathic correction to pinpoint what worked and what did not. Periodic reminders keep people on the right track, while intermittent recognition provides support to keep people going.

Delegating conversation
Sometimes it is best to give an assignment in general terms (without specific direction) and to limit interpersonal behavior-focused feedback. This is when team members are already motivated to do their best and will give each other direction, support, and feedback when needed. These individuals should be self-accountable (or responsible) and expected to use self-management techniques (activators and consequences) to keep themselves motivated and on the right track (Geller, 1998a,b; Geller and Clarke, 1999).

Instructive conversation
Some people are already highly motivated to perform well, but do not know exactly what to do. This is often the case with new hires. They want to make a good first impression, and the newness of the job is naturally motivating. They are nervous, however, because of response uncertainty. They are not sure what to do in the relatively novel situation. In this case, managers need to focus on giving behavior-focused instruction. This type of conversation should also be the approach at most athletic events. Individuals and teams in a sports contest do not typically need motivation. The situation itself, from fan support to peer pressure, often provides plenty of extrinsic motivation. Such competitors need directional focus for their motivation. They need to know what specific behaviors are needed to win in various situations. This said, my personal experience with athletic coaches is not consistent with this analysis. For example, are the half-time speeches of team coaches more likely to be directional or motivational?


Psychology of safety handbook

Supportive conversation
What about the experienced worker who does the same tasks day after day? This individual does not need direction, but could benefit from periodic expressions of sincere thanks for a job well done. There are times when experienced workers know what to do but do not consistently perform up to par. This is not a training problem, but rather one of execution (Geller, 2000b). Through proactive listening, a manager can recognize this and provide the kind of support that increases motivation. This could involve broadening a job assignment, varying the task components, or assigning leadership responsibilities. At least, it includes the delivery of one-to-one recognition in ways that increase a person’s sense of importance and self-worth.

Recognizing safety achievement
Each of the four management styles reviewed here includes supportive conversation. So, let us discuss effective ways to do this. First, let us realize we are much more inclined to notice the mistakes people make. In fact, we are more inclined to beat ourselves up for our own mistakes, instead of celebrating our personal successes. Now, how can this be explained? Why do we pay more attention to the negative things in our lives? One reason is the mistakes stick out. They upset the flow and are readily noticed. When people are doing the right thing, the process runs smoothly, and we keep on going. We go with the flow. We hardly notice the variety of good behaviors occurring at the time. Instead of being a “good finder,” we wait for the obvious mistake and then make our move. The women in Figure 13.11 have a knack for finding good in a situation when the bad is obvious. Another reason for our focus on the negative is we have come to believe people learn best by making mistakes. We think paying attention to errors is the best way to improve performance. Perhaps, you have heard a pop psychologist or motivational speaker assert

Figure 13.11 Even when the context is negative, “good-finders” struggle to find a silver lining.

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we need to fail in order to learn. I heard one attempt to make his point by asking, “Who was the greatest home-run hitter in the history of baseball?” The audience shouted, “Babe Ruth,” and the presenter agreed. Then, the motivational speaker asked, “Do you know who struck out more times than any professional baseball player?” The audience was primed to respond, “Babe Ruth,” and again the “expert” on stage supported this answer. The implication is that “The Babe” learned his fantastic skill by making errors. Now, that might make us feel better about our own mistakes, but it is wrong. Hank Aaron hit more home runs than Babe Ruth. Reggie Jackson hit fewer home runs than either of them, but he is the player who struck out the most. If we believe people need to make mistakes in order to learn, and we act on that belief, we can do more harm than good. It can be an excuse for focusing more on failures than on successes. Behavioral scientists have shown quite convincingly that success—not failure—produces the most learning (Chance, 1999). Thorndike (1911, 1931) did critical research on this at the beginning of the century. He placed chickens, cats, dogs, fish, monkeys, and humans in various problem-solving situations. As a result, he observed they solved the problems through a process he called “trial and accidental success.” At first, Thorndike’s subjects tried various random behaviors. When a behavior resulted in no gain, the behavior was less likely to occur again. However, when a behavior was followed by success, the behavior was much more likely to be repeated. Thorndike’s subjects learned to solve the problems with greater and greater ease by discovering which behavior worked and then repeating that behavior. He coined the “Law of Effect” to refer to the fact that learning depends upon the consequences of behavior. Now, it is ironic that when people began talking and writing about Thorndike’s work, many referred to this type of learning as “trial and error learning.” That is where the common phrase “learning by trial and error” came from, but Thorndike knew better. We do learn something from our mistakes. They teach us what not to do, but the positive consequences—the successes, not the failures—produce the most learning. Thus, it is easy to understand why we criticize more than we praise. It is clear, however, that we need to turn that around. We learn best when we get positive reinforcement for doing the right thing. As discussed in Chapter 11, positive consequences are good for our attitude. You know how you feel when you get recognition—when it is genuine. You feel good, and that is what we need. We need people feeling good about themselves when they go out of their way for safety. We need to have the same mindset about safety that the gold prospectors had about their challenge. Their focus was in finding gold. They sifted to find the good, not the bad. Likewise, we need to prospect for the good behaviors, even when the bad might be more obvious. Mom has the right idea in Figure 13.12. After finding good behavior, it is important to recognize the right way. Most of us have not been taught how to give recognition effectively. Our common sense is not sufficient. Behavioral research, however, has revealed strategies for making interpersonal recognition most rewarding. When you know how to maximize the impact of your recognition, you might use this powerful supportive intervention more often. Listed in Figure 13.13 are seven guidelines for giving quality recognition. Let us consider each one in order.

Recognize during or immediately after safe behavior
In order for recognition to provide optimal direction and support, it needs to be associated directly with the desired behavior. People need to know what they did to earn the appreciation. If it is necessary to delay the recognition, then the conversation should relive the activity that deserves recognition. Reliving the behavior means talking specifically about what warrants the attention. You could ask the person you are recognizing to describe


Psychology of safety handbook

Figure 13.12 Prospect for the good in others. aspects of the situation and the desirable behavior. This facilitates direction and motivation to continue the behavior. When you connect a person’s behavior with recognition you also make the supportive conversation special and personal.

Make recognition personal for both parties
A supportive conversation is most meaningful when it is personal. The recognition should not be general appreciation that could fit anyone in any situation. Rather, it needs to be customized to fit a particular individual and circumstance. This happens, naturally, when the recognition is linked to specific behavior. When you recognize someone you are expressing personal thanks. It is tempting to say “we appreciate” rather than “I appreciate” and to refer to company gratitude instead of

How to Give Supportive Recognition
❑ Recognize during or immediately after safe behavior. ❑ Make it personal for both parties. ❑ Connect specific behavior with general higher-level praise. ❑ Deliver it privately and one-on-one. ❑ Let it stand alone and soak in. ❑ Use tangibles for symbolic value only. ❑ Second-hand recognition has special advantages. Figure 13.13 Follow seven conversation guidelines when giving recognition to support safety achievement.

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personal gratitude. Speaking for the company can come across as impersonal and insincere. Of course, it is appropriate to reflect value to the organization when giving praise, but the focus should be personal. “I saw what you did to support our safety process and I really appreciate it. Your example illustrates actively caring and demonstrates the kind of leadership we need around here to achieve a Total Safety Culture.” This second statement illustrates the next guideline for giving quality recognition.

Connect specific behavior with general higher-level praise
A supportive conversation is most memorable when it reflects a higher-order characteristic. Adding a universal attitude like leadership, integrity, trustworthiness, or actively caring to the recognition statement makes the recognition more rewarding and most likely to increase the kind of intrapersonal communication that boosts self-esteem. It is important to state the specific behavior first and then make a clear connection between the behavior and the positive attribute it reflects.

Deliver recognition privately and one-on-one
Because quality recognition is personal and indicative of higher-order attributes, it needs to be delivered in private. After all, the recognition is special and only relevant to one person. So, it will mean more and seem more genuine if it is given from one individual to another. It seems conventional to recognize individuals in front of a group. This approach is typified in athletic contests and reflected in the pop psychology slogan, “Praise publicly and reprimand privately.” Many managers take the lead from this common-sense statement and give their individual recognition at group meetings. Is it not maximally rewarding to be held up as an exemplar in front of one’s peers? Not necessarily, as I mentioned earlier in Chapter 1; many people feel embarrassed when receiving special attention in a group. Part of this embarrassment is owing to fear of subsequent harassment by peers. Some peers might call the recognized individual an “apple-polisher” or “brown-noser,” or accuse him or her of “kissing up to management.” In sports, individual performance is measured objectively and the winner is determined fairly. While behavior-based safety recognition is also objective, it is usually impossible to assess everyone’s safety-related behaviors and obtain a fair ranking for individual recognition. However, such ranking sets up a win–lose atmosphere. This may be appropriate for sporting events, but it is certainly inappropriate in a work setting where the elimination of injuries is dependent upon everyone looking out for the safety of everyone else. It is useful, of course, to recognize teams of workers for their accomplishments, and this can be done in a group setting. Usually, group accomplishment worthy of recognition can be documented for public review. Because individual responsibility is diffused or dispersed across the group, there is minimal risk of individual embarrassment or later peer harassment. However, it is important to realize that group achievement is rarely the result of equal input from all team members. Some take the lead and work harder, while others do less and count on the group effort to make them look good. Thus, it is important to deliver personal and private recognition to those individuals who went beyond the call of duty for the sake of their team.

Let recognition stand alone and soak in
I have heard pop psychologists recommend a “sandwich method” for enhancing the impact of interpersonal communication. “First say something nice, then give corrective feedback, and then say something nice again.” This approach might sound good, but it is


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not supported by communication research. In fact, this mixed-message approach can cause confusion and actually reduce credibility. The impact of initial recognition is canceled by the subsequent correction. Then the corrective feedback is neutralized by the closing recognition. You need to keep a supportive conversation simple and to the point. Give your behavior-based praise a chance to soak in. In this fast-paced age of trying to do more with less, we try to communicate as much as possible when we finally get in touch with a busy person. After recognizing a person’s special safety effort, we are tempted to tag on a bunch of unrelated statements, even a request for additional behavior. This comes across as, “I appreciate what you’ve done for safety, but I need more.” Resist the temptation to do more than praise the good behavior you saw. If you have additional points to discuss, it is better to reconnect later, after your praise has had a chance to sink in and become a part of the person’s self-talk. By giving quality interpersonal support, we give people a script they can use to reward their own behavior. In other words, our quality recognition improves the other person’s interpersonal conversation. Positive self-talk is crucial for long-term maintenance of safe behavior. In other words, when we allow our recognition to stand alone and soak in, we give people words they can use later for self-motivation.

Use tangibles for symbolic value only
Tangibles can detract from the self-motivation aspect of quality recognition. If the focus of a recognition process is placed on a material reward, the words of appreciation can seem less significant. In turn, the impact on one’s intrapersonal conversation system is lessened. On the other hand, tangibles can add to the quality of interpersonal recognition if they are delivered as tokens of appreciation. As discussed in Chapter 11, if tangibles include a safety slogan, they can help to promote safety, but how you deliver a trinket will determine whether it adds to or subtracts from the value of your supportive conversation. The benefit of your praise is weakened if the tangible is viewed as a payoff for the safety-related behavior. On the other hand, if the tangible is seen as symbolic of going beyond the call of duty for safety, it strengthens the praise.

Secondhand recognition has special advantages
Up to this point, I have been discussing one-on-one verbal conversation in which one person recognizes another person directly for a particular safety-related behavior. It is also possible to recognize a person’s outstanding efforts indirectly, and such an approach can have special benefits. Suppose, for example, you overhear me talk to another person about your outstanding safety presentation. How will this secondhand recognition affect you? Will you believe my words of praise were genuine? Sometimes people are suspicious of the genuineness of praise when it is delivered faceto-face. The receiver of praise might feel, for example, there is an ulterior motive to the recognition. The deliverer of praise might be expecting a favor in return for the special recognition. Perhaps both individuals had recently attended the same behavior-based safety course, and the verbal exchange is viewed as only an extension of a communication exercise. It, thus, will be devalued as sincere appreciation. Secondhand recognition, however, is not as easily tainted with these potential biases. Therefore, its genuineness is less suspect. Suppose I tell you that someone else in your workgroup told me about the superb job you did leading a certain safety meeting. What will be the impact of this type of

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secondhand recognition? Chances are you will consider the recognition genuine because I was only reporting what someone else said; because that person reported your success to me rather than you, there was no ulterior motive for the indirect praise. Such secondhand recognition can build a sense of belonging or win–win teamwork among people. When you learn that someone was bragging about your behavior, your sense of friendship with that person will probably increase. My main point here is that gossip can be good—if it is positive. When we talk about the success of others in behavior-specific terms, we begin a cycle of positive communication that can support desired behavior. It also helps to build an internal script for self-motivation. We also set an example for the kind of inter- and intrapersonal conversations that increase self-esteem, empowerment, and group cohesion. As explained in Section 5 of this Handbook, these are the very person states that increase actively caring behaviors and cultivate the achievement of a Total Safety Culture.

Receiving recognition well
The list of guidelines for giving quality recognition is not exhaustive, but it does cover the basics. Following these guidelines will increase the benefit of a conversation to support desirable performance. The most important point is that more recognition for safe behavior is needed in every organization, whether given firsthand or indirectly through positive gossip. It only takes a few seconds to deliver quality recognition. Perhaps, realizing the beneficial consequences we can have on people’s behaviors and attitudes with relatively little effort will be self-motivating enough for us to do more recognizing. Even more important, however, are the social consequences we receive when attempting to give quality recognition. In other words, the reaction of the people who are recognized can have dramatic impact on whether supportive conversations increase or decrease throughout a work culture. We need to know how to respond to recognition in order to assure quality recognition continues. Most of us get so little recognition from others we are caught completely off guard when acknowledged for our actions. We do not know how to accept appreciation when it finally comes. Some claim they do not deserve the special recognition. Others actually accuse the person giving recognition of being insincere or wanting something from them. This can be quite embarrassing to the person doing the recognizing. It could certainly discourage that person from giving more recognition. Remember the basic motivational principle that consequences influence the behaviors they follow. Well, this is true for both the person giving recognition and the person receiving recognition. Quality recognition increases the behavior being recognized and one’s reaction to the recognition influences whether the recognizing behavior is likely to occur again. Thus, it is crucial to react appropriately when we receive recognition from others. Seven basic guidelines for receiving recognition are listed in Figure 13.14. Here is an explanation for each.

Avoid denial and disclaimer statements
Whenever I attempt to give quality recognition, whether to a colleague, student, waitress, hotel clerk, or a member of the baseball team I coach, the most common reaction I get is awkward denial. Some act as if they did not hear me and keep doing whatever they are doing, or they offer a disclaimer like, “It really was nothing special,” “Just doing my job,” “I really could not have done it without your support,” or “Other members of our team deserve more credit than I.”

it is important not to seem critical but rather to show genuine appreciation for the special attention. accept the recognition for your current behavior and for the many safety-related behaviors you performed in the past that went unnoticed. Ask for recognition when it is deserved but not forthcoming. When your turn comes. Consider how difficult it is for most people to go out of their way to recognize others. . Such self-recognition can motivate you to continue going beyond the call of duty for safety. Relive recognition later for self-motivation Obviously. the vision of a Total Safety Culture includes everyone going beyond the call of duty for their own safety and that of others. Then revel in the fact you are receiving some recognition. Listen attentively with genuine appreciation Listen proactively to the person giving you recognition. Embrace the reciprocity principle. Show sincere appreciation. Remember that a person who recognizes you is showing gratitude for what you do and will come to like you more if you accept the recognition well. Plus. most of your safety-related behaviors go unnoticed. even if others contributed to the successful outcome.” it is “employee of the moment. Relive recognition later for self-motivation. You want to know what you did right. It is okay to show pride in our small-win accomplishments. take it in as well-deserved. Remind yourself that your genuine appreciation of the recognition will increase the chance more recognition will be given to others. most people deserve recognition on a daily basis. Do not hesitate to relive this moment later by talking to yourself. not only to show you care but also because you want to remember this special occasion.14 Follow seven conversation guidelines when receiving recognition in order to increase the occurrence of interpersonal support. You perform many of these when no one else is around to observe you.” Accept the fact that recognition will be periodic and inconsistent. So when you finally do receive some recognition. You need to listen intently to every word of praise. they will likely be so preoccupied with their own routines they will not notice your extra effort. Of course. In this context. you might ask the person “What did I do to deserve this?” This will help to improve that person’s method of giving recognition. Remember the many times you have gone the extra mile for safety but did not get noticed. After all. Recognize the person for recognizing you. It is not “employee of the month. even if its quality could be improved. you can evaluate whether the recognition is given well. Figure 13. We need to accept recognition without denial and disclaimer statements and we should not deflect the credit to others. Even when other people are available. Listen actively with genuine appreciation. If the recognition does not pinpoint a particular behavior.284 Psychology of safety handbook How to Receive Supportive Recognition ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ Avoid denial and disclaimer statements.

for example. Embrace the reciprocity principle Some people resist receiving recognition because they do not want to feel obligated to give recognition to others. Plus. your reaction to being recognized can determine whether similar recognition will occur again. you can do even more to increase quality recognition.” As I have already emphasized. Consider the possible benefit from your statement to another person that you are pleased with a certain result of your extra effort. you need to show sincere gratitude with a smile. So be prepared to offer a sincere “Thank you. Such rewarding feedback provides direction and motivation for those aspects of the recognition process that are especially worthwhile and need to become habitual. Specifically. With the right tone and effect. You might say. I find it natural to add “You’ve made my day. This could be a valuable learning experience for that person. the greater the frequency of interpersonal recognition. a “Thank you. “You’ve made my day. you really appreciate the pinpointing of a certain behavior and the reference to higher-order praise. Geller. . such verbal behavior will not seem like bragging but rather a declaration of personal pride in a smallwin accomplishment. 1997). as when providing them with special praise. So accept recognition well and embrace the reciprocity norm. If you feel you deserve recognition. but the outcome from such a request can be quite beneficial. If we want to cultivate a Total Safety Culture. In this case. 1993. they have made my day and I often relive such situations to improve a later day. The other person will probably support your personal praise with individual testimony. This can motivate that individual to do more recognizing. Recognize the person for recognizing you When you accept recognition well.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 285 Show sincere appreciation After listening actively with humble acceptance. but someone will. You might not receive the returned favor.” and maybe special words like. you will teach the other person how to support the safety-related behaviors of others. The bottom line is to realize your genuine acceptance of quality recognition will activate the reciprocity norm. Ask for recognition when deserved but not forthcoming There is one final strategy I would like to recommend for increasing recognition conversation throughout a culture. and the more this norm is activated from positive interpersonal conversation. you apply quality recognition principles to reward certain aspects of the supportive conversation. You might receive some words worth reliving later for self-motivation. This is the reciprocity norm at work. you will remind the other individual in a nice way that he or she missed a prime opportunity to offer quality recognition. you increase the likelihood they will reciprocate by showing similar behavior (Cialdini. you can recognize the person for recognizing you. why not ask for it? This might result in recognition viewed as less genuine than if it were spontaneous. Research has shown that when you are nice to others. When people go out of their way to offer me quality recognition.” and words to reflect pleasure in the special conversation. Sometimes.” to the thank you because it is the truth. and this will bolster your self-motivation. Most important. The result will be more interpersonal involvement consistent with the vision of a Total Safety Culture. you reward the person giving support for their extra effort. we need to embrace this norm.

I told my students that during class or group meetings they could request a standing ovation at any time.15. such recognition is not private. and almost all of them could have been a lot more effective. internship. or journal editor. Each request has included a solid rationale. and the experience has always been positive for everyone. If a celebration for record-low injuries is announced as an incentive. Organizations often give groups of employees a celebration dinner after a certain number of weeks or months pass with no recordable injury. Do not announce celebrations for injury reduction Many organizations celebrate when their injury rate reaches a record low. When this happens. the celebration will not mean much. Quality safety celebrations So far I have been talking about individuals recognizing individuals. a number of my students have made a request for a standing ovation. whether on the giving or receiving end. and oneon-one. even when we ask for it. Over the years. Let us review the seven principles in Figure 13. they support teamwork and build a sense of belonging and interdependency.286 Psychology of safety handbook Many years ago. Some students express pride in an exemplary grade on a project. I started a self-recognition process among my research students that increased our awareness of the value of receiving praise. When group safety celebrations follow these guidelines. Plus. but you had better be sure “injury-free” was reached fairly. If people cheat to win by not reporting their injuries. All they had to do was specify the behavior they felt deserved recognition and then ask for a standing ovation. . however. people are more willing to actively care for the safety and health of their coworkers. personal. The actual ovation is fun and feels good. but what about group recognition? What about those celebrations where people are being recognized as a group for reaching some kind of safety milestone? I have been at many of these. motivation to cheat increases. even when it does not follow all of the quality principles. Going several months without an injury is certainly worth celebrating. we all learn the motivating process of behavior-based recognition. Plus. the public aspects of the process inhibited many personal requests for a standing ovation. when managers promise employees a reward for working Figure 13. Obviously. Others acknowledge an acceptance letter from a graduate school. and therefore it is not optimal.15 Follow seven guidelines to celebrate group achievement of safety milestones. In other words.

personal control. Rarely. Plus. Celebrate the outcome but focus on the journey Most of the safety celebrations I have seen give far too little attention to the journey or processes that enabled the record reduction in injuries. as well as a promise for a bigger celebration if injury rates continue to decrease. a motivational speaker gives an uplifting and entertaining talk. The ceremony would be more memorable and supportive. In other words. they empower the employees to continue their journey toward higher levels of achievement. however. do the participants discuss the processes they implemented in order to reach the celebrated milestone. Those who performed the behaviors identified as contributing to the injury prevention receive a boost in self-effectiveness. It is natural to toast the bottom line. like having no injuries for a certain period of time. with little discussion about how this outcome was achieved. they make it tempting to hide a personal injury. and optimism. Relive the journey toward injury reduction By doing more listening than speaking. This certainly shows impressive top-down support. Special reward placards are often given to individuals or team captains. Sometimes they display charts to compare the past with the improved present. Some workers will feel pressure from peers to avoid reporting an injury if they can get away with it. Too often the focus is on the end result. Participants learn what they need to do in order to continue a successful process. Valuable direction and motivation can be obtained from pointing out aspects of the journey which made it possible to reach a safety milestone. however. This is peer pressure to cheat—a situation that reduces interpersonal trust and a sense of personal control over workplace injuries. Focusing on the process credits the people and their behaviors that made the difference. Along with the steak dinner. Often a manager points out the amount of money the company saved with the reduction in injury rate. The most important reason for pinpointing journey activities that lead to injury prevention is it gives credit where credit is owed. managers and supervisors enable discussions of activities that led to the celebrated accomplishment. When managers listen to such discussions with genuine interest and gratitude. . Occasionally. but there is more to be gained from taking the opportunity to recognize the process. people strengthen the internal scripts that support a successful process. along with a firm handshake from a top-management official.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 287 a certain number of days without an injury. Show top-down support but facilitate bottom-up involvement Safety celebrations typically start off with speeches by representatives from top management. They state their extreme pleasure in the lowered injury rate. By reliving the activities that made the journey successful. participants sometimes receive a certificate and a trinket with a safety slogan. They also add information to their intrapersonal dialogues for later self-motivation. managers give and the operators receive. the effects of a safety celebration are more beneficial and last longer if line workers do more talking about their experiences along the journey than listening to managers’ pleasure with the bottom line. A sincere request for continuous improvement is made. they acknowledge the behaviors that led to success. In the typical safety celebration. if the employees were more participants than recipients.

perhaps a worker-designed safety slogan. Representatives from both management and the workers’ union participated in safety-related skits and in a talent show. Facilitate discussion of successes and failures The discussions of safety projects at the celebration mentioned previously included both successes and failures. Use tangible rewards to establish a memory When people discuss the difficulties in reaching a milestone. shirts. symbolizing the safety. these rewards need to be delivered as only tokens of appreciation. They featured the highs and the lows.” A week after the employee-driven safety celebration I just described. The after-dinner entertainment was also employee-driven. They were selected “to remind you how you achieved our real reward—fewer people getting hurt. and their dead ends. Many people had to go beyond the call of duty to make a small-win contribution. and others displayed graphs of data obtained from audits of behaviors and environmental conditions. the best tangibles include words. That picture hangs in my office today.” I informed Josh I was not talking about that kind of celebration.288 Psychology of safety handbook The most effective safety celebration I ever observed featured a series of brief presentations by teams of hourly workers. It was accomplished by hard work. Solicit employee input When I told my colleagues I was writing about how to celebrate. and pencil holders to caps. The tangible should also be something readily displayable or used in the workplace. Pointing out hardships along a journey to success justifies the celebration. When a tangible reward is distributed appropriately at this occasion. Some showed off new personal protective equipment. The workforce of 1200 included a number of talented musicians. that . “That’s easy. a $100 bottle of cognac. win–win collaboration. When managers listen to these discussions with sincere interest and appreciation. a mechanism is established to support the memory of this experience and promote its value. from coffee mugs. Work teams not only presented the positive consequences of their special efforts. There was no need to hire a band for live music. Josh Williams promptly responded. a $6 cigar. One team presented an ergonomic analysis and redesign of a work station. I am reminded of a special time many years ago when management did more listening than talking in a most memorable safety celebration. placards. Every time I look at it. they also relived their disappointments. and umbrellas. and synergy. These employees shared numerous safety ideas they had put in place to prevent workplace injuries. the accomplishment is meaningful. It did occur to me. however. some discussed their procedures for encouraging near-hit analyses and corrective actions. their frustrations. and a special friend. I received a framed group photograph of everyone who attended the celebration. The program was planned and presented by the people whose daily involvement in various safety processes enabled a celebration of a record-low injury rate. As discussed and illustrated in Chapter 11. Of course. It also made clear the great amount of dedicated work needed to carry out their action plans and contribute to the celebrated reduction in injury rate. This made their presentations realistic. interdependence. It shows that the celebrated bottom line was not luck. the incident becomes even more significant.

We often do not take the time to ask the relevant persons what kind of celebration party they would like. When competence is high. you decide to expand this individual’s work assignment with no increase in financial compensation. therefore. 1965). At these celebrations. and questioning—will determine which approach to use. 1999). Consider. A safety celebration with top-down support and bottom-up involvement encourages teamwork and builds a sense of belonging among participants. as he or she becomes familiar with the routine. as discussed previously. Choosing the best management conversation So how can we know what type of safety management conversation to use? This is where empathy comes into play. The role of competence and commitment Figure 13. and progress to the norming and performing stages of team development (Tuckman. Therefore. we often impose our prejudices on others. However. people know what to do and. These workers are able to manage themselves with self-direction and self-motivation.16 illustrates how two critical characteristics—competence and commitment— should influence a manager’s conversation approach (adapted from Blanchard. They show genuine approval and appreciation of the challenges addressed and the difficulties handled in achieving the bottom line. How you celebrate a safety milestone determines whether the occasion is meaningful and memorable or just another misguided but well-intentioned attempt to show management support. The employee-focused discussions of the journey help write internal scripts for continued self-talk and self-accountability to achieve more for the next safety celebration. but. work groups need structure. for example. when the group members become familiar with each other’s interests and talents. Later. When asking people how they would like to celebrate. including specific direction and support. a delegating approach might be most appropriate. Eventually. When it comes to group celebration. the most effective safety celebrations are planned by representatives from the work group whose efforts warrant the celebration. This implies a coaching or directing format. during the forming and storming stages of team progress (Tuckman. managers do more listening than talking. at least at first. Given the dynamic characteristics of most work settings and the changing nature of people. A discussion about material rewards puts the celebration in a payoff-forbehavior mode. they need supportive conversations when their motivation or commitment is low. listening. challenge them to think beyond tangible rewards. these individuals still benefit from genuine words of appreciation and gratitude when expectations are met. you need to make this assessment periodically per situation and worker. This situation will likely benefit most with a coaching conversation whereby both direction and support are given. supporting and delegating conversations are needed. Then. This is particularly evident when employees perform irregularly or . This is not the purpose of a safety celebration. In the beginning.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 289 everyone has his or her own way of celebrating success. Your assessment of situations and people—through observing. The proactive managers of work teams change their interpersonal conversations quite dramatically as groups get more familiar with team members and their mission. whereby varying assignments are given with only outcome expectations. do not need a directive conversation. Later. 1965). the new employee who needs specific direction at first. more support than instruction is called for.

Their good days indicate they know what to do. and ask questions. but it also feeds our prejudice filters and limits the potential for conversation to facilitate beneficial change. However. Delegating is relevant when people know what to do (competence) and are motivated to do it.” then ask them what they need to reach this stage. Listen proactively for barriers to safe behavior reflected in these excuses. inconsistently.290 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 13. Anything that increases a person’s perception of importance or self-worth on the job can enhance commitment. At times. observe. You can often know when an individual or work team advances to this level by observing successive progress. while the occurrence of bad days suggests a motivational problem. Coaching conversations are needed when a person’s competence and commitment regarding safety are relatively low. We enable progress when we move conversations with ourselves and others from past to future possibilities and then to the development of an action plan.16 Management conversation is determined by the recipient’s level of competence and commitment. the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of a motivational problem require special assistance. Then help the . What makes that happen? It is not always obvious. you will find out. Expect people to protect their self-esteem with excuses for their past mistakes. Causes of low commitment vary dramatically. the best a manager can do is recognize a need for professional help and offer advice and support. and increase commitment by sincerely giving appreciation and support. This helps us connect with others. Whether we feel responsible for safety and are committed to go for a breakthrough depends on our interpretation or mental script about safety conversation. In this case. If they say “no. but if you listen. it is often useful to ask people whether they are ready for this level of conversation. You can improve competence through specific direction and feedback. Such causes can only be discovered through proactive listening. from interpersonal conflict on the job to emotional upheaval at home. We often focus our interpersonal and intrapersonal conversations on the past. Do they need more competence through direction or more commitment through some kind of support the organization could make available? In conclusion I hope I have convinced you that the status of safety in your organization is greatly determined by how safety is talked about—from the managers’ board room to the workers’ break room.

delegating is relevant when people know what to do and are motivated to do it. E. we are en route to achieving a Total Safety Culture. 37. Freeman. an instructive conversation is called for. Bandura. 2000. Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. Then. people know what is needed for optimal performance but do not always work at optimal levels. . but how we receive recognition from others is also critical. I discuss ways of integrating behavior-based and person-based psychology to increase actively caring throughout an organization. When we teach people the appropriate tools for improving behavior. you will learn what psychological research has revealed regarding conditions and individual characteristics that influence people’s willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others. William James. the first renowned American psychologist. 1982. In Chapters 14 and 15. Thus. In other situations. 1. ASSE. Education and training on how to give behavior-based recognition can certainly help. instructing. Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. V Chap. or delegating conversation is most appropriate. Psychol. rather. Blair.. helps to cultivate a culture of actively caring people working interdependently to keep each other injury-free. and show them how to increase their willingness to use these tools as interdependent actively caring intervention agents. as presented in Section 3 of this text. A. In contrast. Update: Newsl. I introduced the flow of intervention and behavior change model which includes supportive intervention or behavior-based recognition as critical in helping safety-related behavior become fluent. A. This is often more likely to occur with a nondirective than directive approach in which more questions are asked than directives given. Proactive listening enables one to determine whether a coaching. References Bandura. H. and family.. 1936. in Chapter 16. The next three chapters (Section 5) further address the challenge of increasing actively caring behavior throughout a work culture. Colon. It is also useful to use opening words to protect the listener’s self-esteem and limit the impact of reactive bias. Actually. New York. In Chapter 9. neighborhood. We also need to increase the quantity of interpersonal support given for safety. page 19). H. Then. it is extremely important to improve the quality of our interpersonal recognition conversations and our group celebrations.Chapter thirteen: Intervening with supportive conversation 291 conversation shift to a discussion of possibilities for improvement and personal commitment to apply a feasible action plan. community. delegating conversations provide clear expectations and show sincere appreciation for worthwhile work. 1997. In this case. Receiving recognition well can also activate the reciprocity norm which. Coaching involves both direction and support and is needed when a person’s competence and commitment in a particular setting are relatively low. How conversation influences safety performance.. 747. This chapter presented guidelines for making this happen. supporting. W. When people are internally motivated to perform well but do not know how to maximize their efforts for optimal performance. everyone can benefit from supportive recognition. wrote “the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated” (from Carnegie. Am. supportive conversation is needed. in turn.. A 41(8). Following the guidelines given here for responding to a supportive conversation can provide both direction to improve the quality of subsequent recognition and motivation to increase the quantity of supportive conversations. they are both competent and committed and can direct and motivate themselves. This reflects an execution problem which cannot be solved with directive conversation.

. J. The social dynamics of occupational safety. Building Successful Safety Teams: Together Everyone Achieves More. Rocklin. Geller. 1981 ed. and Zigarmi. J. E. Mastering Safety Communication: Communication Skills for a Safe. Psych. Saf. Safety self-management: a key behavior-based process for injury prevention. Carnegie. Thorndike. 1999. 45(3). How to Win Friends and Influence People. 2000b. IL. Drebinger. Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. Human Learning. C. New York. 44(7).. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. IL.. William Morrow. Rogers. in Proceedings of the 2000 ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition. Geller. Simon & Schuster. E.. W. S. Mindfulness. Neenah. Prof. Behavioral safety analysis: a necessary precursor to corrective action. Boston. Geller. Geller. Prima Publishing. Geller. Des Plaines. Wadsworth. K. 1993. American Society of Safety Engineers. 1998a. 1997. S. CA. Saf. L. K. Geller.. American Society of Safety Engineers. Prof. Hafner. R. 63. Deci. Productive and Profitable Workplace. B. E. H. 1911. R. Galt. Neenah. E. Covey. L. CA. Addison-Wesley. E. and Ryan. and Clarke. 1951. New York. Ten principles for achieving a Total Safety Culture. 1936. Keller & Associates. Belmont. Houghton-Mifflin. W. 68. 1989.292 Psychology of safety handbook Blanchard... E. 1989... L. 1994. CA. WI. M... Zigarmi. K. MA. VA. Leadership and the One Minute Manager. E. E. MIT Press.. 2000.. S. 1931.. Tuckman. 1985.. Des Plaines. Chance. R.. S. Building gung ho teams: how to turn people power into profits. P. . Harper Collins. Influence: Science and Practice. and Dici.. E. Am. S. 1997. 2000. Prof... workshop presented at the Hotel Roanoke. Plenum. New Orleans. 18. Cialdini. 1998b. November 1999. L. 1999. D. Roanoke. 29. S.. 4th ed. Bull... E. Ryan. Client-Centered Therapy.. 1965. J. Jr. 55. Reading. and well-being. Learning and Behavior.. J... Simon & Schuster. Krisco. D. WI. Blanchard.. 1985.. Wulamoc Publishing. Langer... W. 3rd ed. New York. Developmental sequence in small groups. Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility. How to sustain involvement in occupational safety: from research-based theory to real-world practice. New York. 2000a. social development. Geller. E. 29. R.. E. J. Leadership and the Art of Conversation.. in Proceedings of the 36th Annual ASSE Professional Development Conference.. M. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation. 39(9). 2nd ed. Psychol. S.. S. Keller & Associates. Animal Intelligence: Experimental Studies. MA. Cambridge. 384. S. New York. R. New York. Thorndike. Saf. B. P.

section five Actively caring for safety .


Direct. benevolent. and clearly related to actively caring behavior. . directed at environment. Psychologists have identified conditions and individual characteristics (or person states) that influence people’s willingness to actively care for the safety or health of others. a recurring theme in this book is that a Total Safety Culture can only be achieved if people intervene regularly to protect and promote the safety and health of others. This notion seems quite analogous to the actively caring concept I have discussed earlier in various contexts. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. or behavior factors. the editors of Conari Press (1993) introduced the idea of randomly showing kindness or generosity toward others for no ulterior motive except to benefit humanity. Actively caring. as sympathetic threads.chapter fourteen Understanding actively caring Actively caring is planned and purposeful behavior. While the concept of “random acts of kindness” is thoughtful. It is reactive or proactive and direct or indirect. but powerful. Indeed. as implied in Melville’s quote. and among those fibers. we can develop interventions to increase this desired behavior which is critical for achieving a Total Safety Culture. Here. our actions run as causes.”—Herman Melville This quotation from Herman Melville appeared in a popular paperback entitled Random Acts of Kindness (page 31). but it is usually most important for large-scale injury prevention. the consequences are immediate. and they come back to us as effects. as in working with care to develop a safer work setting and prevent injuries. This chapter discusses conditions and situations that inhibit actively caring behavior. however. plus. is not usually random. as when someone expresses their appreciation for an act of caring or they are delayed. actively caring behaviors (actions) are supported by positive consequences (effects). It is planned and purposeful. and behavior-focused active caring is most challenging. proactive. Section 4 of this Handbook addresses the need to increase actively caring behavior throughout a culture and to get the maximum safety and health benefits from this type of behavioral intervention. I suggest we define actively caring behaviors that give us the “biggest bang for our buck” in particular situations and. Sometimes. I propose a more systematic goal-directed approach with this concept. Then. “We cannot live only for ourselves. person. We need to understand why people resist opportunities to actively care for safety. I shall present these and link them to practical things we can do to increase the occurrence of active caring. then. manage situations and response–consequence contingencies to increase the frequency of such behaviors.

however.1. For example. 1993) suggest that behavior is activated and maintained by self-affirmations. but we must not forget one of Skinner’s most important legacies—”selection by consequences” (Skinner. and personal principles or values. as I described in Chapter 10. and Deming (1986. . I presented techniques that actively caring intervention agents could use to increase safe behaviors and reduce at-risk behaviors.” Barker explained. 1981). What is actively caring? Figure 14. With group consensus supporting the vision. As depicted in Figure 14. It is revealing that many consultants and pop psychologists stop here. internal motivation. but often—especially in safety—consequence-contingencies need to be managed to motivate the behavior needed to achieve our goals.1 A Total Safety Culture requires vision and behavior management. consequences are needed to support the right behaviors and correct wrong ones.296 Psychology of safety handbook In Section 4. I heard Barker (1993).” proclaim that “vision alone is only dreaming and behavior alone is only marking time. We start a culture-change mission with a vision or ultimate purpose—for example. we develop procedures or action plans to accomplish our mission. Without support for the “right stuff. As I have indicated earlier. and a positive attitude can activate behaviors to achieve goals and visions. it is necessary to define the concept more precisely and objectively. the futurist who convinced us to change the dictionary meaning of “paradigm. Sometimes. though. As discussed in Chapter 11.” good intentions and initial efforts fade away. natural consequences are available to motivate desired behaviors. Peale (1952). to achieve a Total Safety Culture. Appropriate goal setting. self-affirmations. 1990). I propose we practice systematic and purposeful acts of kindness to keep other people safe and healthy. Before examining ways to increase actively caring behaviors. that turning vision into goals that specify behaviors will lead to positive organization change. We clearly need more of this in our society. Kohn (1993). the popular writings of Covey (1989. These are reflected in process-oriented goals which hopefully activate goal-related behaviors. we might be Vision Goal Setting Behavior Consequences Figure 14.1 presents a simple flow chart summarizing the basic approach to culture change presented up to this point.

attitudes. Proactively listening to others. and they need to give rewarding or corrective feedback to increase behaviors consistent with vision-relevant goals. action plans. in turn. complimenting an individual’s personal appearance. 1989) introduced in Chapter 3 is useful to categorize actively caring behaviors. They need to feel obligated to work toward attaining goals that support the vision. person factors. They need to believe in and own the vision. inquiring with concern about another person’s difficulties.1. I discuss this in detail in Chapter 15. and consequence-contingencies are not sufficient for culture change. locking out the energy source to production equipment. or sense of belonging—which. Vision. More often.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 297 Vision Goal Setting Actively Caring Behavior Consequences Figure 14. . In Figure 14. We address their emotions. if you pull someone out of an equipment pinch point or administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation. These behaviors can address environment factors.2 Continuous improvement requires actively caring.2. Three ways to actively care The “Safety Triad” (Geller. they are actively caring from an environment perspective. increases his propensity to actively care. posting a warning sign near an environmental hazard. This is the key to continuous improvement and to achieving a Total Safety Culture. Actively caring safety behaviors in this category include attending to housekeeping details. This type of active caring is likely to boost a person’s self-esteem. For example. and sending a get-well card are examples. or behaviors. My point is simple but extremely important. or mood states. goals. also included are reactive behaviors performed in crisis situations. When people alter environmental conditions or reorganize or redistribute resources in an attempt to benefit others. you are actively caring from a person-based perspective. it is necessary to add some positive consequences for desired behavior. a new box is added to the basic flow diagram in Figure 14. and cleaning up a spill. Person-based actively caring occurs when we attempt to make other people feel better. and consequences. People need to actively care about goals. however. optimism. able to eliminate positive consequences that motivate undesired behavior. designing a guard for a machine.

which I consider actively caring behaviors. two years later. sending a get-well card) Environment Safety Culture Behavior Reorganizing or redistributing resources in an attempt to benefit others (e. In the fall of 1991. It might not be clear.g. entitled Life’s Little Instruction Book. Later that year. or behavior-focused? This might not seem like a straightforward exercise. or complete an organ donor card. donating blood) Attempting to influence another person's behavior in desired directions. From a proactive perspective. This is actively caring from a person perspective.5..g. Can you categorize them according to the schema in Figure 14. We should make more deposits than withdrawals and actively listen to reactions and suggestions.. this concept applies to behaviors outside the safety field. it would be necessary to assess the intentions of the actively caring agent. they do not . we need to consider the feelings of the recipient. When we teach others about safe work practices or provide rewarding or corrective feedback regarding observed behavior. Environment-focused active caring might be easiest for some people because it usually does not involve interpersonal interaction. Thus. putting money in another's parking meter. The categorizations I recommend for this list are given in Figure 14. Obviously. whether an actively caring behavior focuses on a person’s feeling states or behaviors or. a list of 511 principles to live by. donate blood. actively listening.3 categorizes actively caring behaviors. (e. who was leaving home to begin his freshman year at college. Obviously. both. these principles were published in a best seller. This happens when you apply an instructive. a good safety coach practices both behavior-focused and personfocused actively caring. giving rewarding or correcting feedback. Then. is also actively caring with a behavior focus. we are actively caring from a behavior focus. Giving someone behavior-based recognition in a supportive conversation.3? In other words. person-focused. (e. for example.3 Actively caring can target three factors. demonstrating or teaching desirable behavior. actively caring coaching Figure 14. supportive. perhaps.4 lists several of the life tips Brown gave his son. when we give feedback on the results of a critical behavior checklist. intervening in a crisis. In some cases. When people contribute to a charity. as discussed in Chapter 13. cleaning another's work area. Figure 14. However.g. is each item environment-focused. behavior-based actively caring is most constructive and most challenging. Figure 14.298 Psychology of safety handbook Person Attempting to make another person feel better. Brown (1991) gave his son. Brown (1993) included 517 more tips in a sequel.. Why categorize actively caring behaviors? So why go to the trouble of categorizing actively caring behaviors? Good question! I think it is useful to consider what these behaviors are trying to accomplish and to realize the relative difficulty in performing each of them. the one-on-one coaching process described in Chapter 12 represents behavior-based actively caring. or motivational intervention to improve another person’s safe behavior.

Call your mother. Place a note reading "Your license number has been reported to the police" on the windshield of a car illegally parked in a handicapped space. Put love notes in your child's lunch box. Give to charity in your community and support it generously with your time and money. interact personally with the recipient of the contribution. Get your next pet from the animal shelter. . Sign and carry your organ donor card. 667. 804. Item Focus Interaction 1 36 72 149 336 386 424 475 511 561 611 612 667 769 770 802 804 831 876 919 P E E E E E E B P P P P P B B E B B E P D I I D I I I I D D D I D D D I I D I I Figure 14. Say "thank you" when you get off. Compliment three people every day. Say bless you" when you hear someone sneeze. say "hello" to the driver. Don't allow children to ride in the back of a pickup truck. Figure 14. 11 W. person (P).5 These items from Figure 14. Skip one meal a week and give what you would have spent to a street person. Don't expect others to listen to your advice and ignore your example. Write a short note inside the front cover when giving a book as a gift. 336. 149. NY 10163-3861.. 36. 475. 831. 1993) typify actively caring.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 299 1. and whether interaction was direct (D) or indirect (I). 876. but the absence of personal encounters between giver and receiver warrants consideration separate from other types of actively caring behavior. Look hard for ways to give it to them.4 These items from Brown (1991.O. 802. 72. Never put the car in "drive" until all passengers have buckled up. When boarding a bus. These behaviors are certainly commendable and may represent significant commitment and effort. P. Get your name off mailing lists by writing to: Mail Preference Service. 919. 386. Everyone loves praise. 612. Donate two pints of blood every year. 769. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. New York. 511. Box 3861. 561. 770. or behavior (B). Don't accept unacceptable behavior. 424. 42nd ST. Leave a quarter where a child can find it.4 can be categorized with regard to the focus— environment (E). With permission. 611.

This additional step might not only improve behavior. It is also possible that environment-focused acts will include personal confrontation. effective behavior-based active caring. This additional category for actively caring behavior is illustrated in Figure 14. reactions. en route to the Fort Eustis Army Base. attempting to correct someone’s behavior could lead to negative. Of my students. three were with me. You can send someone a get-well card or leave a friendly uplifting statement on an answering machine or by e-mail.5.6. you can report an individual’s safe or at-risk behavior to a supervisor and eliminate the need for one-toone communication skills. or empathy for someone. leaving a note to explain an actively caring act does not involve interpersonal conversation. Similarly. For instance. the potential impact would be improved by adding some behavior-focused active caring. What will the vehicle owner think when finding an unexpired parking meter? Could this lead to a belief that parking meters are unreliable—and further mismanagement of time? Is there a price to pay in people becoming less responsible about sharing public parking spaces? When considering the long-term and large-scale impact of some actively caring strategies.300 Psychology of safety handbook Certain conditions and personality traits might facilitate or inhibit one type of actively caring behavior and not the other. Let us consider the behavioral impact of this environment-focused “random act of kindness” (Conari Press. even hostile. Each was paging frantically through his or her notes making last-minute adjustments. I was driving on a toll road in Norfolk. Helping someone in a crisis situation certainly takes effort and requires special skills. why not place a note under the vehicle’s windshield wiper explaining the act? The note might also include some time management hints. Both Brown (1991) and the editors of Conari Press (1993) recommend we feed expired parking meters to keep people from paying excessive fines.” I replied in jest.4. The recipient of the note is probably more inclined to actively care for someone else. as in safety coaching. communication skills are needed to actively care on the personal or behavioral level and different skills usually come into play. usually requires both person skills to gain the person’s trust and behavior-based skills to support desired behavior or correct undesired behavior. “Were you this nervous Doc. other approaches might come to mind. This was to be their first professional presentation and they appeared quite distressed. You can assess your understanding by assigning a D (for direct) or I (for indirect) to each item in Figure 14. respect. “No. Actually. Then compare your answers with those in Figure 14. Along with feeding the expired parking meter. An illustrative anecdote Several years ago. “ I was obviously better prepared. with direct behavior requiring effective communication strategies. when you gave your first professional address?” one student asked. Each was scheduled to give a 15-minute talk at the conference. On the other hand. VA. for example. For example. In the parking meter situation. but there is rarely a possibility of rejection. say if you deliver a contribution to a needy individual. but set an example. where a transportation safety conference was being held. I don’t think so. Classifying actively caring behaviors also provides insight into their benefits and liabilities.” . person-focused actively caring does not always involve interpersonal dialogue. It is riskier and potentially confrontational to attempt to direct or motivate another person’s behavior than it is to demonstrate concern. 1993). Behavior-focused active caring is more direct and usually more intrusive than personfocused active caring. Each type of actively caring behavior can be direct or indirect. In the same vein.

They seemed relaxed and at ease when entering the conference room and each gave an excellent presentation. It’s much more professional and instructive to just talk about your paper informally with the audience. . Something had to be done to distract them—to break the tension. the driver gave us a smile and a “thumbs up” sign. I thought of an actively caring solution. we discussed how the toll booth intervention actively took their minds off their papers and their anxiety. “This is for the vehicle behind us. “This is for the vehicle behind us. I was able to accomplish more than the “random act of kindness” suggested by Brown (1991) and the editors of Conari Press (1993). we slowed down to watch and. please ask the driver to buckle up. It is also actively caring with an environment focus. “Can we just read our paper?” asked another. the driver buckled up on the spot. this conversation just caused more anxiety and distress for my students. Later.6 Actively caring is usually most challenging and useful when direct and behavior-focused. This is redistribution of resources.” Again. I gave the attendant an extra quarter and said. by which time my students had almost forgotten about their papers. “Absolutely not. Brown (1991) recommended that his son occasionally pay the toll for the vehicle behind him. the driver is using a safety belt and deserves the recognition. pulled next to us in the right lane. to our delight.” Naturally. “Anyone could read your paper.” My students put down their papers and watched the attendant explain to the driver that we paid her toll because she was buckled up. At the next toll booth. and acknowledged our actively caring behavior with a “shoulder belt salute”—a smile and tug on her shoulder strap. After paying a quarter for my vehicle. but that did not stop me. When the vehicle passed us. I handed the attendant another quarter and said. I kept doing this at every tollbooth until exiting the highway.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 301 Figure 14. the driver caught up with us. the driver of the vehicle behind us was not buckled up.” I retorted. By adding a safety-belt message. As we approached the first of several tollbooths along the highway. Because we slowed down to observe this.

Thus. and achieve personal success. Perhaps. It is taught in a variety of college courses. the desire to develop self-respect. gain the approval of others. Mahatma Gandhi is a prime example of a leader who put the concerns of others before his . 1977). acceptance. When these needs are gratified. but self-actualization is not at the top. including introductory classes in psychology.302 Psychology of safety handbook I was able to support and to reward those who were already buckled up and to influence some drivers to buckle up. This behavior-based effort was particularly convenient and effortless because it was indirect. 1954) is probably the most popular theory of human motivation. Actually. A hierarchy of needs The hierarchy of needs proposed by the humanist Abraham Maslow (1943. Once accomplished. safety and security. In fact. for example. According to Frankl (1962). it is fair to say that these individuals are ready to actively care. Categories of needs are arranged hierarchically and we do not attempt to satisfy needs at one stage or level until the needs at the lower stages are satisfied. several people usually shout “self-actualization. economics. people can be motivated to reach the ultimate state of self-transcendence by reaching out to help others—to actively care. self-transcendence includes giving ourselves to a cause or another person and is the ultimate state of existence for the healthy person. I receive limited or no reaction. shelter. realizing the special value of behavior-based actively caring enabled me to get more benefit from an environment-focused strategy with very little extra effort. You can see how the system for categorizing actively caring behavior allows us to compare real and potential acts of kindness and then to consider ways to increase their impact. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is illustrated in Figure 14. Maslow (1971) revised his renowned hierarchy shortly before his death in 1970 to put self-transcendence above self-actualization. We are working to reach this level when we strive to be as productive and creative as possible. human factors. self-esteem. and sleep. we possess a feeling of brotherhood and affection for all human beings and a desire to help humanity as members of a single family—the human race (Schultz. This is probably because the concept of being self-actualized is rather vague and ambiguous. In other words. When I ask audiences to tell me the highest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” When I ask for the meaning of “self-actualization. we are proactively working to satisfy our need for safety and security. After these needs are under control. our concern focuses on self-esteem. marketing. water.7. It is considered a stage theory. we are motivated by safety and security needs—the desire to feel secure and protected from future dangers. which include basic survival requirements for food. we are motivated to fulfill our physiological needs. and selfactualization. It seems intuitive that various self-needs require satisfaction before self-transcendent or actively caring behavior is likely to occur. First. we reach a level of self-actualization when we believe we have become the best we can be. taking the fullest advantage of our potential as human beings. sociology. Transcending the self means going beyond self-interest and is quite analogous to the actively caring concept. The next motivational stage includes our social acceptance needs—the need to have friends and to feel like we belong. there is little research support for ranking needs in a hierarchy. it is possible to think of a number of examples where individuals have actively cared for others before satisfying all of their own needs. In general terms. When we prepare for future physiological needs. and systems management. after satisfying needs for self-preservation.” however.

I shall demonstrate in Chapter 15. “The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use. Actively caring was obviously habitual for Gandhi. including perhaps yourself. own. To the amazement of his companions. developed over a lifetime of active public service.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 303 Self-Transcendency Self-Actualization Self-Esteem Needs Acceptance Needs Safety and Security Needs Physiological Needs Figure 14. With permission. Ghandi calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the track to land close to the first. one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track. Notice how quickly Gandhi reacted in order to leave his second shoe next to the one he accidentally lost from the train. that while satisfying lower level needs might not be As Ghandi stepped aboard a train one day. Gandhi focused on the most fundamental of human responsibilities—our responsibility to treat others as ourselves (Nair.7 The highest need in Maslow’s revised hierarchy reflects actively caring. I am sure you can think of individuals in your life. and eventually assassination in his 50year struggle to help his poor and downtrodden compatriots. 1995).8 Actively caring was a mindful habit for Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi. who reached the level of self-transcendence before satisfying needs in the lower stages. .” Figure 14. Ghandi smiled. extensive fasts. however. Asked by a fellow passenger why he did so. Figure 14.8 includes a story about one of Gandhi’s actively caring behaviors. Adapted from Fadiman (1985). He suffered imprisonment.

Only after the murderer and rapist departed for good did anyone phone the police. The murder and rape lasted more than 30 minutes and was witnessed by 38 neighbors. Word was attacked. Consequences (rewards) that recognize our efforts build our self-esteem and eventually enable us to be self-actualized. When we are at the first stage of the hierarchy. two men did dive into the river but the victim reportedly resisted their efforts. Suddenly. We need money to buy food and pay the rent or mortgage. but when he saw no one come to the victim’s aid. 1995. There were reports that some spectators actually cheered. This editorial is given verbatim in Figure 14. the attacker fled. The reporter who first publicized the Kitty Genovese story. he stabbed me! Please help me!” into the early morning stillness. MI. 1964. NY. After this incident. that paralleled the Kitty Genovese incident and. Should the editorial have said more about the relevance of psychological research? Was the reference to psychological research accurate and . Word to jump. a tragic incident occurred in Detroit.304 Psychology of safety handbook necessary for actively caring behavior. we perform to receive peer support or to avoid negative peer pressure. common sense suggests that if more people are present during a crisis. 1995. “Oh my God. we are working to achieve consequences—or avoid losing consequences—necessary to sustain life. One couple pulled up chairs to their window and turned off the lights so they could get a better view.9. On Saturday morning. assumed this bystander apathy was caused by big city life. From a behavior-based perspective. August 20. stabbed her repeatedly and then raped her. Word. many others just like it. 1964). a man approached with a knife. This research has actually discredited the reporter’s common-sense conclusion. they could not explain it. people are generally more willing to actively care after satisfying the lower level needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Several factors other than big city life contribute to bystander apathy. Seeing the lights. for example. consequences that imply safety and security are reinforcing. lights went on and windows opened in nearby buildings. Several years ago. you can see that these different need levels simply define the kinds of consequences that motivate our behavior. hundreds of experiments were conducted by social psychologists in an attempt to determine causes of this so called “bystander apathy” (Latané and Darley. When Kitty screamed. City Council President Maryann Mahaffey interpreted this resistance as indicating. “She was apparently so frightened that she couldn’t trust anyone” (Curley. he returned to stab her eight more times and rape her again. Catherine (Kitty) Genovese reached her apartment in Queens. He presumed that people’s indifference to their neighbors’ troubles was a conditioned reflex in crowded cities like New York. It refers to psychological research to interpret the tragedy.m. for example. When the neighbors were questioned about their lack of intervention. In an attempt to save Ms. Dozens of people just watched as Ms. presumably encouraging Ms. Deletha Word (age 33) leaped off the Detroit River Bridge to escape Martell Welch (age 19) who had smashed her car with a tire iron after a fender bender. page 3A). and later made it the subject of a book (Rosenthal. At these levels. Then. 1968). there is a greater chance that a victim will receive help. The psychology of actively caring Walking home on March 13. An editorial appearing in USA Today (1995) reflects concern for the bystander apathy in this incident. At the highest stages of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs— self-actualization and self-transcendence—we are presumably rewarded by the realization that we have helped another person. At the social acceptance level. unfortunately. How can we help people get to this motivation level? Let us see how psychologists have attempted to answer this important question. Actually. we truly believe it is better to give than to receive. Money is needed to buy insurance or feed a savings account. at 3:30 a.

The experimenters measured how quickly the subjects left their cubicles to help him. Then. then read on for research-based answers. Unfortunately. psychologists say individuals are more likely than crowds to risk helping in an emergency. (1995. Someone could have rallied the crowd to rush the assailant. one weighing about 200 pounds and brandishing a crowbar. 81 percent of the subjects with 1 presumed witness. During the course of the discussion over the intercom. In each condition. they systematically recorded the speed at which one or more persons came to the victim’s rescue. Or yelled and stopped more motorists to help. However. Individuals alone tend to act. Tragically. though. 10A) We all complain about crime. With permission. . working mother. jumped before a Manhattan subway train to rescue a woman.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 305 Lack of Heroes (from USA Today. Defenders of the Detroit crowd say maybe the bystanders weren’t sure what was happening. Or Don Lanini. In the first study of this type. But that’s no excuse to tolerate violence and inhumanity. the subjects introduced themselves and discussed problems associated with living in an urban environment. And Deletha Word. is dead. p. and their colleagues studied bystander apathy by staging emergency events observed by varying numbers of individuals. who. 100 percent of the lone subjects. and 62 percent of the subjects with 5 other bystanders left their cubicles to intervene. They deserve it. when some of us have a chance to do something about it. 1995. they can’t wait for someone else. Others doubtless distanced themselves from the tragedy and feel nothing. Within 3 to 6 minutes after the seizure began. the observers sat in separate cubicles (as depicted in Figure 14. Darley. the first individual introduced himself and then casually mentioned he had epilepsy and that the pressures of city life made him prone to seizures. When subjects believed they were the only witness. She was pulled from her car by a teenager who tore off most of her clothes. What would you do? Figure 14. we fail miserably. Ask yourself. Some of the Detroit spectators undoubtedly are tormented by guilt. No one answered Word’s pleas for help. 85 percent left their cubicles within three minutes to intervene. Weekend revelers in Detroit had a chance to stop a crime and save a life. gasping. there were no heroes in that part of Detroit on that tragic night. in June.9 Is a sole observer more likely to intervene? Excerpted from USA Today. But apparently no one acted sooner. and only 31 percent of those who thought 5 other witnesses were available attempted to intervene. Or maybe they were just afraid to interfere with the young toughs. he became increasingly loud and incoherent. then think. only 62 percent of the subjects who believed 1 other witness was present left their cubicle to intervene. 33. Lessons from research Latané. 40.10) and could not be influenced by the body language of other subjects. Maybe they thought someone else would assume responsibility. Two men did dive into the river in a futile attempt to save Word. Indifference encourages evildoers. page 10A). Missing were the kinds of bystanders who tackled Francisco Duran after he shot at the White House last fall. complete? Could this editorial reduce future bystander apathy? Use your common sense to answer these questions. choking. Instead. hit and chased her until she jumped off a bridge to her death in the Detroit River. In fact. and crying out before lapsing into silence. In the most controlled experiments. they apparently gawked. Crowds tend to inhibit their members.

alone or in groups. It seems intuitive. and several did look down as they walked. but only 1 person (a female) of 598 people who walked past the trash barrel. 1981). Diffusion of responsibility. for example. stopped to pick up and deposit the litter. We planted litter (a small paper bag and sandwich wrappings from a fast-food restaurant) next to a 50-gallon trash barrel located along a busy sidewalk of our university campus. Those who noticed the litter. many observers of the Kitty Genovese rape and murder assumed that . Let us consider this and other factors affecting our inclination to actively care. but the more remarkable finding was that almost everyone walked around or over the litter without stopping to perform a relatively convenient act of caring.. or five other individuals. though. The reduced tendency of observers of an emergency to help a victim when they believe other potential helpers are available has been termed the bystander effect and has been replicated in several situations (Latané and Nida. It is likely. Many years ago. The fact that this actively caring person was alone lends some minuscule support to the bystander effect. person-focused actively caring. probably assumed someone else would take care of the problem. Keep in mind this research only studied reactions in crisis situations. The results most relevant to safety management are reviewed here. Some suggest ways to prevent bystander apathy—a critical barrier to achieving a Total Safety Culture. 1978) studied the bystander effect in a situation requiring environment-focused. Similar to our litter example.10 Subjects in the Latané and Darley experiment could not see each other and thought they were conversing with one.306 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 14. Researchers have systematically explored reasons for the bystander effect and have identified conditions influencing this phenomenon. Several people used the trash barrel. actively caring behavior. Then. we watched people walk by to see if anyone would pick up the litter. two. that the findings are relevant for both environment-focused and behavior-focused actively caring in proactive situations. my students and I (Jenkins et al. what we would categorize as reactive. They presumed it was someone else’s responsibility. a key contributor to the bystander effect is a presumption that someone else should assume the responsibility.

U. Does this factor contribute to lack of intervention for occupational safety? Do people overlook environmental hazards or at-risk behaviors in the workplace because they presume someone else will make the correction? Perhaps some people assume. However.. than others and promote social responsibility and group welfare. as a result of upbringing during childhood or special training sessions. learn collectivism early on. A helping norm. whether reactively in a crisis situation or proactively to prevent a crisis. . Chinese and Japanese children. Figure 14. you’re responsible for that area”) will increase willingness to look out for others (Hornstein. requires sincere belief and commitment toward interdependence. Many if not most.11 contrasts the slogans or common phrases repeated in our culture with those found in the Japanese culture. regardless of the number of other witnesses (Bierhoff et al. Subjects who scored high on a measure of this norm. some observers waited for a witness more capable than they to rescue Kitty.. The difference between an individualistic and collectivistic Figure 14. 1978).S. why should I?” Social psychology research suggests that teaching people about the bystander effect can make them less likely to fall prey to it themselves (Beaman et al. for example. citizens are raised to be independent rather than interdependent. “If the employees who work in the work area don’t care enough to remove the hazard or correct the risk. Some cultures are more interdependent. or collectivistic. intervening for the benefit of others. were more likely to intervene in a bystander intervention study. Social psychologists refer to a “social responsibility norm” as the belief that people should help those who need help. 1991). 1976). Perhaps. American and British children are raised to be more individualistic. Also.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 307 another witness would call the police or attempt to scare away the assailant. eliminating a “we–they” attitude or a territorial perspective (“I’m responsible for this area.11 Expressions reflect socialization and cultural norms.

some are not. and increase feelings of togetherness or community will increase the likelihood of people looking out for each other. showing them a comedy film. London. This conclusion is also relevant for proactive or preventive action. of course. social responsibility. This implies. and believe the tools will be accepted and effective to prevent injuries. bystander apathy was decreased or eliminated. remembering the research on mood and its effect will motivate us to adjust our interpersonal conversations with coworkers (see Chapter 13). Knowing what to do. When people know what to do in a crisis. such as training in first-aid treatment. Situations and interactions that reduce a we–they. the nature of our interactions with others can have a dramatic impact on the mood of everyone involved. 1998). Also. A survey by Chinese psychologist Hing-Keung Ma (1985) supported this prediction by showing greater concern and responsiveness for other people’s problems among residents in Hong Kong vs. It is important to belong. The beliefs and expectancies that influence helping behaviors are not developed overnight and obviously cannot be changed overnight. as explained next. (including its policies. bystander apathy for safety will decrease.. which enabled them to take charge of the situation (Shotland and Heinold. When people receive tools to improve safety. In other words. 1970.12. and. Specifically. or territorial perspective... 1991). The mood states that facilitated helping behavior were created very easily—by arranging for potential helpers to find a dime in a phone booth. Are these findings relevant for occupational safety? Daily events can elevate or depress our moods. when observers believed they had the appropriate tools to help. As depicted in Figure 14. Several social psychology studies have found that people are more likely to offer help when they are in a good mood (Carlson et al. in turn. Most. Perhaps. We should also interact in a way that could influence a person’s beliefs or expectations in certain directions. and personal control. or providing pleasant aromas. Mood states. more appropriate person to intervene. influence people’s willingness to actively care for the safety of others (Geller. 1985). and approaches to discipline) can certainly increase or decrease perceptions or beliefs in a just world.. Clearly. appraisal and recognition procedures. 1990) is clearly shown here and suggests that an interdependence or helping norm is stronger in Japan than the United States. Social psychologists have shown that certain personal characteristics or beliefs influence one’s inclination to help a person in an emergency. a world in which good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished. 1974). if not all of the witnesses to Kitty Genovese’s murder did not know her personally and it is likely the neighbors did not feel a sense of comradeship or community with one another. as in safety intervention. . A work culture. educational opportunities. Beliefs and expectancies. 1983). they do not fear making a fool of themselves and do not wait for another.308 Psychology of safety handbook perspective (Triandis et al. Researchers demonstrated reduced bystander apathy when observers knew one another and had developed a sense of belonging or mutual respect from prior interactions (Rutkowski et al. individuals who believe the world is fair and predictable. even a telephone conversation can lift a person’s spirits and increase his or her propensity to actively care. people with a higher sense of social responsibility and the general expectancy that people control their own destiny showed greater willingness to actively care (Schwartz and Clausen. however. giving them a cookie. 1988). Staub. The bystander effect was eliminated when observers had certain competencies. Some events are controllable. are more likely to help others in a crisis (Bierhoff et al. the need to promote a social responsibility or interdependence norm throughout the culture and teach and support specific intervention strategies or tools to prevent workplace injuries.

for example. the nature of the emergency. the onset of an emergency such as a person slipping on a spill or falling down a flight of stairs will attract more attention and helping behavior than the aftermath of an incident. Actually. While the model was developed to evaluate intervention in emergency situations— where there is need for direct. we should expect much less attention to a nonemergency situation. Step 1. Context also plays a role here.13) are influenced by the situation or environmental context in which the emergency occurs. person-focused actively caring—it is quite relevant for the other types of actively caring. Is something wrong? The first step in deciding whether to intervene is simply noticing that something is wrong.. in active and noisy . Deciding to actively care As a result of their seminal research. that people are more helpful in rural than urban settings (Steblay. Most emergencies are novel and upset the normal flow of events. 1992. Rabow et al. the model has been used effectively in a variety of intervention situations. 1990). The five decisions (depicted in Figure 14. as when a victim is regaining consciousness or rubbing an ankle after a fall.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 309 Figure 14.12 Telephone conversations can lift moods and increase one’s propensity to actively care. 1995). the presence of other bystanders and their reactions.. and relevant social norms and rules. reactive. Indeed. ranging from preventing a person from driving drunk (behavior-focused actively caring) to making an environment-focused decision to donate a kidney to a relative (Borgida et al. This point relates to the discussion in Chapter 10 about relative attention and habituation to various activators. 1987). and this difference may be owing partly to context (Schroeder et al. (1976). Of course. as shown by Piliavin et al. A significant amount of research has shown.. However. Latané and Darley (1970) proposed that an observer makes five sequential decisions before helping a victim. Some situations or events naturally attract more attention than others. The stimulus overload of the city might lead to people not noticing a need to intervene.

Researchers observed systematically whether the potential helper intervened. On several trials. especially in a busy and noisy workplace requiring focused attention on a demanding task. however. only 15 percent of the potential helpers showed actively caring behavior. without the excessive noise. Environmental hazards are easy to overlook. Environmental stressors like noise. They learn to tune out irrelevant stimuli. high-rise dormitories were less likely to return a lost letter than were students residing in less densely populated buildings. Consider. Matthews and Canon (1975) tested the stimulus overload theory directly in a realworld field study.13 Actively caring requires five sequential decisions. If stimulus overload can affect people’s attention to an emergency. What is going on here? It is possible the loud noise may have had a negative effect on the mood of the potential helpers. 80 percent of the subjects stopped to help pick up the dropped boxes. dropped several boxes of books a few feet in front of a potential helper. these behaviors need proactive support or correction as in the safety coaching approach described in Chapter 12. 1990).310 Psychology of safety handbook NOTICE a Need Is something wrong? Yes INTERPRET as Requiring No Intervention Am I needed? No No Intervention Yes ASSUME Personal Responsibility Should I intervene? No Yes CHOOSE an Intervention What should I do? No Yes PERFORM Actively Caring Behavior Figure 14. . (1973) used this stimulus overload theory to explain their finding that university students living in highdensity. In fact. pollution. mood state may be a critical factor in stimulus overload studies. environments. for example. but nevertheless require actively caring behavior. and crowding usually have a negative impact on mood states (Bell et al. Even less noticeable and attention-getting are the ongoing safe and at-risk behaviors of people around us. In the noisy condition.. many people narrow their focus to what is personally relevant. Environmental stimulation was manipulated by running a power lawn mower nearby on half of the trials. the various needs for proactive behavior that can prevent an injury. like various work settings. it can certainly reduce attention to common everyday situations that are not very obtrusive. Yet. Bickman et al. a research accomplice wearing a wrist-to-shoulder cast. with depressed moods leading to selfcenteredness and lower awareness of another person’s needs.

Some subjects were alone in the room. people can come up with a variety of excuses for not helping. Professors Latané and Darley invited male students to discuss problems they experienced at a large urban university. even if the need for proactive intervention is noticed. pungent smoke began puffing through a vent into the testing room. In other words.14. When people are confused. they look to other people for information and guidance. Social context had a dramatic impact on whether the subjects left the room. Smoke quickly filled the room. Am I needed? As shown in Figure 14. presumably to save their lives. such as cries for help. actively caring behavior will not necessarily occur. the behavior of others is especially important when stimulus cues are not present to clarify a situation as requiring intervention (Clark and Word. through observational learning (Chapter 7). 75 percent left the room to report the smoke. Which leads us to the next question that must be answered before deciding to intervene. The observer must interpret the situation as requiring intervention. Thus.14 People give a variety of excuses for not helping. Others filled out the questionnaire with two other subjects who were strangers. . The experimenters expected the subjects to rely on others when deciding what to do. Step 2. Some subjects were with two accomplices of the researchers who shrugged their shoulders and acted as if nothing were wrong. because real smoke was not used. but only 10 percent of the subjects with two passive strangers left the room. The danger of the situation was rather ambiguous. people figure out how to interpret an ambiguous event and how to react to it. 1972). many of the subjects in this circumstance later reported that they Figure 14. Of the students who were alone. The social context of the situation varied. In fact. and the actions of other observers can clarify an event as an emergency. Distress cues. While the students were completing a questionnaire.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 311 Now. This was illustrated in one of the early seminal experiments by Latané and Darley (1968). however.

you have reason to believe someone else will intervene. Staub (1974). This perception relieves you of personal responsibility. Should I intervene? In this stage you ask yourself. right? Wrong! Only 38 percent of the time did anyone leave the room to inquire about the smoke.” Thus.” Thus. it is probably incorrect to call lack of intervention “bystander apathy” (Schroeder et al. Steps 1 and 2 of Latané and Darley’s decision model were likely satisfied. 1995). Some concluded the smoke was “truth gas. and collected. you might not answer “yes” to this question when you know that other people are also observing the emergency or the safety hazard. Thus. people will seek information from others to understand what is going on and to receive direction. We know these words to be verbal activators. many people would likely react in a hurry. Would you assume personal responsibility and respond? Surely the bystanders in the Kitty Genovese and Deletha Word incidents described earlier noticed the event and interpreted it as requiring assistance. perhaps a person more capable than you. Actually. when looking around for social cues each subject saw two other individuals remaining calm. In fact. but what happens when everyone believes the other guy will take care of it? This is likely what happened in the Kitty Genovese and Deletha Word incidents and many other tragedies just like these. cool. When the accomplice said. Is this relevant to many work situations? How often are environmental hazards or atrisk behavior overlooked or ignored because the social context—other people—gives the signal that nothing is wrong? What about the situation with three naive subjects? Does your common sense tell you that at least one of these subjects left the room to inquire about the smoke? With three people uninformed about the risk. On the other hand. The investigators labeled this phenomenon pluralistic ignorance. when the accomplice reacted with. “Is it my responsibility to intervene?” The answer would be obvious if you were the only witness to a situation you perceive as an emergency. “That sounds like a tape-recording. varied systematically what his accomplice said after pairs of bystanders. If activators like these occurred in the workplace. the probability that someone will take action should be high. the passive behavior of others led most subjects to interpret the situation as safe and requiring no intervention. Each subject tried to “stay cool. The bystanders might care very much about the victim but defer responsibility to others because they believe other observers are . Step 3.312 Psychology of safety handbook believed nothing was wrong. In this case.. The group developed a shared illusion of safety. However. the need for proactive actively caring behavior is rarely as obvious as smoke entering a room or the sound of a crash. in situations where the need for intervention or corrective action is not obvious.” 100 percent of the subjects intervened. a subject and the accomplice. 1976). A breakdown at this stage of the decision model does not mean the observers do not care about the welfare of the victim. heard a crash in an adjoining room and a female’s cry for help. The breakdown probably occurred at Step 3—perceiving personal responsibility. Follow-up research to pluralistic ignorance caused by mutual passive reaction to potential dangers has demonstrated the critical value of people’s reactive words in the situation (Wilson. for example. Such events would be noticeable and likely would be interpreted as needing attention. Maybe we should do something. “That sounds bad.” only 25 percent of the subjects left the room to help. Maybe they are trying to test us. This is the typical state of affairs when it comes to safety in the workplace.

. Steps 4 and 5. safety coaching training should include role-playing exercises so people practice certain communication techniques and receive specific feedback regarding their strengths and weaknesses. Through training. In an interesting field study. your common sense predicted the correct answer this time. researchers staged a theft on a public beach and then observed whether assigning responsibility to some individuals increased their frequency of intervention (Moriarty. snatched the radio. a second researcher approached the unoccupied towel. Indeed. including a radio. Therefore. Furthermore. As I discussed in Chapter 12. Education gives people the rationale and principles behind a particular intervention approach. it is their responsibility. even among strangers. 1988). In many work situations. A short time later. They get to go off site now and then to attend a safety conference—where they learn the techniques that make them the most capable to intervene. This can be remedied by teaching employees the principles and procedures presented in Section 4 of this Handbook. After all. In addition to having a “can do” belief. Psychologists have shown that people will take responsibility. All this is easier said than done. safety leaders or captains need to accept the special responsibility of teaching others any techniques they learn at conferences or group meetings that could increase a person’s perceived competence to intervene effectively. for example. often with dramatic and physical displays of aggressive protection. The bottom line here is that people who have learned how to intervene effectively through relevant education and training are likely to be successful agents of activelycaring intervention. but they might not feel capable of acting on their caring. and they meet regularly to discuss safety issues.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 313 more likely or better qualified to intervene. . Similarly. 1975). In contrast. and ran down the beach. if their responsibility is clearly specified (Baumeister et al. people learn how to translate principles and rules into specific behaviors or intervention strategies. for example. a social norm or expectancy must be established that everyone shares equally in the responsibility to keep everyone safe and healthy. only 20 percent of the bystanders in the control condition reacted in an attempt to retrieve the radio. and that is why you have asked strangers in public places to watch your possessions for a short period of time. Perhaps. the researchers only asked sunbathers for a match and then left for a walk. many people are apt to decide that actively caring safety intervention is not for them. leading to a sense of ownership for the particular tools they help to develop. these individuals have “safety” in their job titles. people need to believe it is their personal responsibility to intervene. It gives people information to design or refine intervention strategies. 94 percent of the sunbathers assigned the “watchdog” responsibility intervened. In the control condition. it is easy to assume that safety is someone else’s responsibility—the safety director or a team safety captain. People might resist taking personal responsibility to actively care because they do not believe they have the most effective tools to make a difference. Researchers posing as vacationers randomly asked individual sunbathers to watch their possessions. people might care a great deal about the safety and health of their coworkers. Unfortunately. while they went for a walk on the beach. The challenge in achieving a Total Safety Culture is to convince everyone they have a responsibility to intervene for safety. of course. They could feel this way even after viewing an obvious at-risk behavior or condition that would benefit from their immediate action. if we do not meet this challenge. What should I do? These last two steps of Latané and Darley’s decision model point out the importance of education and training. How often did the individual sunbather intervene? Surprisingly.

Summary of the decision framework In this section. More strategies for increasing these behaviors are entertained in Chapter 16. a person’s decision to actively care can be analyzed according to the perceived positive vs. Each was obviously dangerous. For example. The perpetrator was armed with a knife in the 1964 incident and a tire iron in the 1995 tragedy. we need to consider another approach to interpreting bystander intervention. or the lack of it. indirect. Those with training intervened with much greater competence. Clark and Word (1974) demonstrated that people without proper information regarding electricity would sometimes impulsively touch a victim who was holding a “live” electrical wire. According to this consequence model. jeopardizing their own lives. Before turning to a discussion of ways to increase actively caring. however.314 Psychology of safety handbook Research by Shotland and Heinold (1985) showed that bystanders without first-aid training were just as likely to intervene for a victim with obvious arterial bleeding as were bystanders who previously received first-aid training. person-focused or behavior-focused). actively caring behavior will only occur if perceived rewards outweigh perceived costs. Moreover. It was safer to assume that someone else more capable would intervene. This framework suggests strategies for increasing actively caring not prompted by Latané and Darley’s sequential decision model. and environment-focused. conditions (activators) will increase the probability of this behavior if they increase the likelihood a person will notice and perceive a need for intervention and assume personal responsibility for helping. I have reviewed the decision process model Latané and Darley proposed as a sequence of choices people make before actively caring on behalf of another person. A consequence analysis of actively caring When I related the Kitty Genovese and Deletha Word incidents to my family and asked their opinions. varied significantly depending on prior training. Similarly. negative consequences one expects to receive. The onlookers could certainly see there was an emergency requiring specific assistance from anyone who would take responsibility. Although developed to understand the bystander effect in emergency situations. My wife and two daughters proclaimed that most observers did not help these women because they feared for their own safety. Because behavior is motivated by consequences. I received a unanimous reaction that I could not readily explain with the decision model discussed previously. people resisted taking responsibility because they perceived that it could mean more trouble—or potential harm—than it was worth. and it can be used to guide the development of strategies to increase the frequency of actively caring behaviors. The choice and execution of an intervention. If people are motivated to maximize positive consequences and minimize negative consequences. people hesitated to intervene because they perceived more potential costs than benefits. According to an interpretation based on our understanding of the power of consequences. this decision framework is certainly relevant for proactive situations and for each type of actively caring behavior defined in this chapter (direct vs. The model can help us understand why an individual might not actively care for another person’s health and safety. however. education and training sessions that increase skills and self-confidence to actively care effectively will increase the amount of constructive actively caring behavior occurring throughout a culture. with some untrained helpers doing more harm than good. not because they were apathetic or failed to interpret a need to take personal responsibility. .

A bystander might rationalize. Although a simple low-cost intervention might be Figure 14.15 represents situations most analogous to actively caring for injury prevention. in fact. and then search for an excuse to do nothing (Schroeder et al. potentially fatal. It is most likely (lower left cell of Figure 14. 1981). The conflict can be resolved by helping indirectly. including effort. or by reinterpreting the situation (Schroeder et al. Rationalization reduces the perceived costs for not intervening and enables the bystander to ignore the situation without excessive shame or guilt. guilt. This latter category includes two subcategories: the personal costs of not helping. convenient and not dangerous. when bystanders perceive high costs both for intervening and for not intervening in a crisis. According to this cost-reward interpretation. the costs for helping were also high. (1981).15 Costs to bystanders for intervening and costs to a victim for not intervening determine the probability of intervention. potential injury. . Adapted from Piliavin et al. 1995). that Genovese should not have been walking the streets in that neighborhood at 3:30 in the morning and Word brought on the attack by crashing into the assailant’s vehicle. say by telephoning police or an ambulance. or shame.15 combines two levels of cost (low vs. hesitate because of perceived personal costs. for example. The upper left quadrant of Figure 14. This means significant conflict for the person deciding what to do. This can be done by presuming someone else will intervene—diffusion of responsibility—or perhaps by rationalizing that the person does not deserve help. as when the victim is seriously injured.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 315 Piliavin and colleagues (1969. The authors combine these negative consequences for direct intervention and for not intervening in order to predict whether actively caring behavior will occur under certain circumstances. inconvenience. and the apparent costs to the victim for no intervention are low.15) when costs for helping are low. 1995. for example. as when an experienced worker is performing at-risk behavior with no negative consequences. they recognize the need for action. including criticism. resulting ultimately in their deaths.15—high perceived cost for both helper and victim. and embarrassment. 1981) have developed a cost-reward model to interpret people’s propensity to help others in various emergency situations. intervention is least likely when the perceived personal costs for intervening are high. Schwartz and Howard. With permission.. high) to the potential intervention agent and the victim in order to predict when actively caring behavior will occur. On the other hand. for example. The matrix in Figure 14. effortful and risky.. There are two basic categories of potential negative consequences for helping that include personal costs. Although the costs for not helping these individuals were extremely high. The Genovese and Word incidents fit the lower right cell of Figure 14. and costs to the victim if no intervention occurs. and empathic costs from internalizing the victim’s distress and physical needs. and costs to the victim for not helping are high.

and small changes in these factors can tilt the cost-reward balance in favor of stepping in or standing back.316 Psychology of safety handbook called for to correct an environmental hazard or an at-risk behavior. Figure 14.” Piliavin et al. as described by Wrightsman and Deaux (1981. no need for immediate action. it might be worthwhile to remind people of the large-scale detrimental learning that could occur from the continuous performance of risky behavior. Furthermore. in turn.15 (from Piliavin et al. (1981) presume that intervention in situations represented by this cost quadrant is most difficult to predict. there is no immediate emergency and. determine whether intervention occurs. by considering the large degree of plant-wide exposure to a certain uncorrected hazard. Figure 14. for example. This can occur. Also.. Notice that the potential helper in the story is considering the rewards as well as the costs for intervening and for not intervening. page 261). for example. In occupational safety. employees can be convinced that the potential cost of not intervening is higher than they initially thought. Many factors can influence perceived consequences that are positive and negative. It is also true that personal factors. There is low perceived cost if no action is taken: “We’ve been working under these conditions for months and no one has been hurt. Although the matrix in Figure 14. 1981) focused entirely on negative consequences. It can also increase certain positive personal states in both the doer and beneficiary of the act which. These positive outcomes from giving and receiving are detailed in the next chapter. . With permission. education and role-playing exercises can reduce the perceived personal costs of actively caring. but it also can set the right example for others to follow. page 261). such as mood states discussed earlier. Through testimonials and constructive discussions. increases the probability of actively caring behavior by both in the future.16 Does actively caring depend on a rational cost-reward analysis? Adapted from Wrightsman and Deaux (1981. thus. proactive actively caring behavior can not only prevent a serious injury. it is important to consider that positive consequences can also play a prominent role in determining one’s decision to get involved.16 illustrates the cost-reward approach of a rational potential helper.

not helping a victim. I ask volunteers to simultaneously stick one hand in a bucket of ice water and the other in a bucket of hot water (around 100°F). Have you seen a mild mannered and polite person turn into an impatient and hostile creature after getting behind the wheel of an automobile? The environmental and competitive context of driving interacts with certain personality characteristics to produce “Mr. .13. Context actually can influence each step of the Latané and Darley (1970) decision model described previously and summarized in Figure 14. and commitment to perceptions of insecurity. given the “right” context (DePasquale et al. and impolite.17 is worth more than one thousand words to describe context.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 317 The power of context The influence of context in determining whether we actually care for another person’s safety cannot be overemphasized. uncertainty. in press). Then. hostile. Hyde” on the road. many individuals transition from mild-mannered to rude. After about 10 seconds. and risk.” Incidentally. the perceived consequences of actively caring depend to a significant extent on the environmental and social context in which the relevant behaviors occur. our research attempts to identify those individuals most prone to demonstrate road rage have shown that almost anyone can experience the negative emotions reflected in road rage. I ask the volunteers to remove their hands from the two buckets and put both hands in a third bucket Figure 14. context refers to “the circumstances in which a particular event occurs” (page 316). It includes both the outside and inside stuff surrounding people when they are performing. Figure 14.17 In the context of driving. Experiencing context I use a simple demonstration to teach the influence of context in my course in introductory psychology. we have a nationwide epidemic of “road rage. According to my copy of The American Heritage Dictionary (1991). and consider its impact on safety-related behavior. The context in which behavior occurs can affect one’s evaluation of the costs and benefits of helping vs.. In other words. This refers to what we see others doing on the outside and how we feel on the inside— from feelings of competence. confidence. Let us look more closely at this context variable.

Coming indoors from the cold gives the impression of warmth but. Only when our chair stopped and . Taking risks on the lifts. The signs requesting the use of these restraining bars hardly seemed necessary. the hills were quite icy. and several told me they were having a difficult time because of the icy conditions. In fact. I waited for someone else to intervene. However. Yet experiencing “warm” in one hand and “cool” in the other while soaking in the same bucket of water brings expressions of surprise to my students. I wanted us to get my money’s worth. and the so-called beginner hills at Snowshoe appeared quite steep to me. The next day. We live this simple context effect everyday. The risky behavior of the slopes generalized to the ski lifts. nor did one “wipe out” after another. Herein lies the real context lesson of my story. a few years ago. One near hit after another did not stop me. I must confess that once my daughter and I rode a lift with two young men who appeared to be expert skiers. Furthermore. Here is the kicker— the bottom line. The lifts rose to heights over 200 feet above the ground. In fact.” I was also influenced by the “big bucks” I had paid for this ski weekend. The many long lines I stood in that weekend gave me numerous opportunities to hear such a safety message. especially given the slick material of most ski pants. one hand feels quite warm. dad. while the other hand perceives a rather cool temperature. More often than not. My only consolation was that I was not the only one in pain. Did the risky context of the skiing experience influence decreased use of this protective device? At every lift. When the lift stopped. the need for this protective device was obvious. making the need for this protective device even more evident. and the first time was in 1974. I observed the bars in the upright position. but my daughter urged me on. Most skiers were not using this protective device. I learned later that my daughter’s friends rode the lift several times at first without pulling down the protection bar because they did not realize it was there. in contrast to a hot summer day. the volunteers do not experience room temperature. WV. Their admonitions were not sufficient for me to ignore my daughter’s urgings. I noticed the protective device and used it everytime— well almost everytime. I took to the crowded slopes. the chairs rocked forward and backward slightly. It would not take much for someone to slip off the seat. Most other skiers in my age range were much more experienced than I. but I never heard such a reminder. a “courtesy patrol” person guided lines of people to the entrance. at least not at first. “Come on. This time I did not pull down the bar. I need to explain that this was only the third time in my life I had ever tried to ski. Within the context of my insecurity and reduced selfconfidence. many guests at the Silver Creek Lodge were limping around. I did not see a “bunny hill” anywhere. You do not have to be there to appreciate how the prior brief temperature exposure influenced subsequent perception. My numerous bruises qualified for several OSHA recordables. So even with low competence and confidence and perceptions of uncertainly and high risk. you have probably already guessed which hand experienced warm water and which hand experienced cold water. First. I waited for one of “the experts” to take control. In fact. An illustrative anecdote On a ski weekend in Snowshoe. some were sitting with legs wrapped and elevated—more OSHA recordables. I was reminded of the dramatic influence context has on human behavior. The lift chairs had protection bars that could be pulled down conveniently. and another individual helped people take their seats.318 Psychology of safety handbook filled with water at room temperature (about 70°F). There was ample opportunity for these “professionals” to remind skiers to use the protection device. the same indoor temperature can appear quite cool. Instead. you can do it. just one more hill.

After all. with its own set of rules. one expert raised the protective bar. about 100 feet above the ground. but I hesitated to take control within the context of two experienced skiers. for some people. and two strangers. and personal protective equipment? A “yes” answer to any of these questions implies contextual barriers that need to be overcome in order to achieve the ultimate injury-free workplace. presumably preparing to dismount. There were other examples that weekend of how my behavior was shaped by the context of what was going on around me. I might add that the two experts seemed quite perturbed at my protective behavior. I think you can see how this story relates to safety and actively caring in the workplace. skiers pay big bucks to take extraordinary risks. Actually. A ski resort is a mini-culture. did I reach up to pull down the protection bar. The environmental and social context at this busy ski resort was not conducive to actively caring for safety. it is not sufficient to rely on the organization’s safe operating procedures or even on personal responsibility and selfdiscipline but on interpersonal teamwork and a shared interdependent responsibility to protect each other. behavioral patterns. and attitudes. A “no” answer to all of these questions is symptomatic of a work context that encourages people to actively care for the health and safety of others. . Context is my only excuse for my lack of actively caring behavior. Not only did the use of this protective bar seem insignificant within the context of the greater perceived risk of skiing. Long before we reached the end of our ride. There I was. regulations. The overriding purpose or mission of the resort is to give people the exhilarating experience of gliding down snow-covered hills of varying steepness. an attempt to link safety with skiing would seem inconsistent. myself. Nowhere in the resort’s mission statement was there a message about safety. Context can inhibit actively caring. In this work context. Why should we look out for their personal safety? Context at work Does the mission statement of your industry reflect an overarching concern for production and quality? Is safety considered a priority (instead of a value) that gets shifted when production quotas are emphasized? Is safety viewed as a top-down condition of employment rather than an employee-driven process supported by management? Are safety programs handed down to employees with directives to “implement per instructions” rather than “customize for your work area”? Are safety initiatives discussed as short-term “flavor-of-the-month” programs rather than an ongoing process that needs to be continuously improved to remain evergreen? Are near-hit and injury “investigations” perceived as fault-finding searches for a single cause rather than fact-finding opportunities to learn what else can be done to reduce the probability of personal injury? Are the elements of a safety initiative considered piecemeal factors independent of other organizational functions rather than aspects of an organizational system of interdependent functions? Are employees held accountable for outcome numbers that hold little direction for proactive change and personal control rather than process numbers that are diagnostic regarding achieving an injury-free workplace? Do employees take a dependency stance toward industrial safety whereby they depend on the organization to protect them with rules. In this kind of work culture. They both grimaced slightly. norms.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 319 rocked a bit. with one having to move his ski poles to make room for the protective bar. engineering safeguards. a researcher and educator who has studied and lectured about safety for over 25 years and I hesitated to protect my daughter. actively caring can be cultivated and a Total Safety Culture achieved.

Getting employees involved in safety is difficult within the context of top-down rules. This is essentially person-focused and reactive caring. Psychologists have determined factors that influence the probability of actively caring behavior in emergencies. teams. On the other hand. procedures. or behavior. and who believe they have personal control in a just world. It can be direct or indirect and its focus is environment. Metrics used to evaluate the safety performance of individuals. The following chapters in Section 5 recommend a variety of additional strategies for cultivating a work culture that promotes actively caring behavior. Injury statistics provide an overall estimate of the distance from a vision of “injury free. especially when they can share the responsibility of intervening with others. Behaviorfocused actively caring is often most proactive but is most difficult to carry out effectively because it attempts to influence another person’s behavior in a nonemergency situation. In conclusion Actively caring behavior is planned and purposeful. Employee commitment. it is important to understand the factors that can influence this resistance. and involvement can increase or decrease depending on the evaluations employed. The finding that people often refuse to act in a crisis. Chapter 19 in Section 6 of this Handbook presents more details on developing a process-based evaluation system for continuously improving safety. and personal interaction. alienating people rather than empowering them to actively care for safety. people with a sense of social responsibility and comradeship for others at work. In contrast. and the results are relevant for both environment-focused and behavior-focused actively caring. injury-related outcome numbers can do more harm than good. referred to as “bystander apathy. Hence. owned.” but they are not a diagnostic tool for proactive planning. person. is quite analogous to most work settings. Some organizational cultures inhibit the kinds of behavior needed to reduce industrial injuries. Understanding the conditions that lead to an increase or decrease in reactive caring behavior can help us find ways to facilitate proactive caring for safety. employee involvement is much more likely with top-down support of safety processes developed. I hope it is clear that the context in which we perform can have a dramatic effect on our behavior and attitude. Think back to my daughter urging me on or the savvy skiers I shared a lift with who disdained using the restraining bar. Actively caring that addresses the environment is usually easiest to perform because it does not involve interpersonal confrontation. I reflected on a personal experience at a ski resort to illustrate the critical impact of environmental and social context (or culture) on individual health and safety.” For example. and continuously improved upon by work teams educated to understand relevant rationale and principles. are more apt to intervene for the safety of others. A key part of this influential context is the behavior and attitude of other people. They direct continuous improvement of the process. and the organization as a whole have a powerful influence on context. ownership. regulations. It is possible to increase these personal characteristics among people through policy.320 Psychology of safety handbook Summary of contextual influence Here. Practically all of the research related to this concept has studied crisis situations in which a victim needs immediate assistance. and programs supported almost exclusively with the threat of negative consequences. numbers that measure the quantity and quality of process activities related to safety performance provide the context needed to motivate individual and team responsibility. . If used as the only index of safety achievement (or failure).

and thus the willingness to actively care for safety. New York. the recipient of a proactive safety intervention is only a potential victim.. people will probably actively care. Bickman. A. 1993. H. For example. Psychol. everyone must assume responsibility for safety and never wait for someone else to act. P. Although the relative costs to an individual for intervening may be low. 1.Chapter fourteen: Understanding actively caring 321 Increasing these states. 1973.. L.. 17.. P. Chart House International Learning Corp. 1991. Bull.. and McQuirk. and Kramp. Conditions and situations that increase perceptions of costs to victims (for not intervening) and reduce perceptions of personal costs to the intervention agent (for intervening) increase the probability of action being taken. Personal. we presumably make five sequential decisions. Klentz.. It enables us to analyze motivational factors that shape decisions to actively care. T.. Teger. Beaman. New York.. 14. P. 465. Increasing helping rates through informational dissemination: teaching pays. A consequence. R. The Power of Vision videotape. Barker... In addition. M. and Greene. Most safety situations involve relatively low costs and rewards to both the recipient and deliverer of the intervention. Fisher. it is important to help people realize the potential positive consequences or rewards available to both the giver and receiver of an actively caring intervention. The next two chapters deal more specifically with how to develop and implement strategies to increase actively caring behavior for occupational and community safety. A. Rinehart. 1978. Behav. Holt. or cost –benefit model.. 5.. either reactively or proactively.. Klein.. 2. Sanders. Before we step in. is key to achieving a Total Safety Culture and is addressed in the next two chapters. 37. and Sunaday.. and Tice. 263. the model shows the importance of teaching employees how to recognize and correct environmental hazards and at-risk behaviors.. However. C. T. W. D. so the perceived cost for not intervening is also low. For this to happen. Houghton Mifflin.. 4. J. Baum. Barnes. J. Is something wrong? Is my help needed? Is it my responsibility to intervene? What kind of intervention strategy should I use? Exactly when and how should I intervene? This decision logic suggests certain methods for increasing the likelihood that people will get involved. 2nd College ed. M.. J. Personal. J. S. D. F. 1990. Psychol. Dormitory density and helping behavior. A. Soc. Baumeister. References American Heritage Dictionary. I. When these perceived internal and external rewards outweigh the rewards for doing nothing. 1998... McLaughlin... A decision model developed by Latané and Darley helps us understand why we do not see more actively caring behavior. & Winston. A. Bell. S. 1835. Evidence for the altruistic personality from data on accident research. Berger.. 3rd ed. Gabriele. B. P. Soc. TX. Fort Worth. R.. Bierhoff. .. B... A. Chesner. 1991. P.. 3. E. It is also critical to promote the ultimate aim or corporate mission to make safety a value. The result is more frequent actively caring behavior for safety. 59. Environmental Psychology. offers more guidance for increasing actively caring behavior. Environ. education and training are not sufficient to achieve the amount of actively caring needed for a Total Safety Culture. Education and training can reduce these perceived costs to the intervention agent and increase the perceived costs to potential victims. Who’s in charge here? Group leaders do lend help in emergencies. 5. Personal..

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in turn. Understanding these connections enables us to design conditions and interventions to increase actively caring behavior throughout an organization or community. Does this mean our actively caring behaviors influence us to actively care even more? It is a nice thought and seems intuitive.1 and it is clearly opposite to the Kitty Genovese and Deletha Word tragedies reviewed in Chapter 14. whose truck was blocking traffic because he had blacked out. so as discussed in Chapter 14. they might have felt more responsible than others because they knew what to do. If we have a strong sense of self-esteem. The newspaper report of the incident is reprinted in Figure 15. as much as we determine our deeds. and will this change lead to more good deeds? Can making people more willing to actively care be influenced in ways other than managing activators and consequences to directly change behavior? In other words. Each of these person states is explained in this chapter and the research supporting direct relationships between these states and actively caring behavior is reviewed. Why? Were there special characteristics of the two heroes? Both individuals did have some lifesaving training in the past. Tywanii Hairston and John McKee. self-efficacy.”—George Eliot This quotation by George Eliot (Editors of Conari Press. affects subsequent behavior. rather than succumb to bystander apathy. two individuals. there is a greater chance we will go beyond the call of duty. page 83) indicates that our behaviors influence something about us and implies that good deeds or actively caring behaviors are good for us. In this case. can we change something about people that will make them more willing to actively care for the safety and health of others? If answers to these questions can be turned into practical procedures. optimism. 1993. Several years ago. . personal control. They change something about us and this. but two individuals did interrupt their routine to actively care. Several individuals had already driven around his truck without intervening—for a variety of possible reasons discussed in Chapter 14. “Our deeds determine us. a heart-warming story appeared in our local newspaper.chapter fifteen The person-based approach to actively caring Our willingness to actively care for others is affected by certain feelings and states of mind. Hairston and McKee went into action. and belonging. What is it about us that changes as a result of our good deeds. we will know how to increase actively caring behaviors throughout a culture. but what does it really mean? This chapter explores a host of questions arising from the concept reflected in Eliot’s words. and the result was a life saved. The Roanoke Times and World Report. went out of their way to save the life of a truck driver named Don Arthur.

Friday. Hairston thought it had stalled. negative consequences lead to bad feelings or attitudes. Hairston and McKee went into action. John McKee. He radioed his dispatcher to call 911. and emphasized that we should start with behaviors. If these factors can be altered systematically. but the truck didn’t budge. one of only a few who make it back after venturing so close to death. then it is possible to increase people’s willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others. Hairston started giving mouth-to. positive consequences lead to good feelings or attitudes. A former nursing assistant. What happens when .1. or CPR. and still the truck didn’t move. Actively caring from the inside Perhaps you recall earlier discussions in this text about “outside” vs. After a moment the driver of another car honked the horn. for example. As she slowly drove around the truck. and with the help of another passer-by. although both knew the procedure. “inside” aspects of people.1 Actively caring behavior saved a life. was in stable condition at Community Hospital. Together. 60.” Another key principle of behavior-based psychology is that the consequences of our behavior influence how we feel about the behavior. and values (inside). On Thursday. and McKee pumped the man’s chest until paramedics arrived. pulled the man from the truck and laid him on the street.326 Psychology of safety handbook Pair Breathes Life into Driver Tywanii Hairston was on the way to pay her water bill Tuesday when she pulled up behind a Roanoke city truck at a red light on Campbell Avenue. Long-term behavior change requires people to change “inside” as well as outside. Hairston parked her car and jumped out to see what was wrong.mouth. I distinguished between behaviors (outside) vs. we will never know the answers to these questions but exploring the possibilities can help us better grasp the person factors contributing to actively caring behavior. also had seen the man and stopped. she saw a man slumped over the wheel. Sept. A prime principle of behavior-based psychology is that it is easier. attitudes. Their swift action quite possibly saved Don Arthur’s life. before. The light turned green. 8. Generally. Figure 15. to “act a person into safe thinking” than it is to address attitudes and values directly in an attempt to “think a person into safe acting. intentions. (from The Roanoke Times. Arthur. The promise of a positive consequence or the threat of a negative one can maintain the desired behavior while the response–consequence contingencies are in place. a driver for Alert Towing on his way to a job. Meanwhile. 1995) This chapter examines additional person-based reasons (or internal characteristics of people) that may have contributed to the success story summarized in Figure 15. Neither had ever administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. especially for large-scale culture change. In Chapter 3. Did the two intervening agents have personality traits conducive to helping? Did recent experiences influence their personality state in some beneficial way? Obviously.

activators direct behavior (Chapter 10) and consequences motivate behavior (Chapter 11). beliefs. when no one is holding them accountable for their behavior? If people do not believe in the safe way of doing something and do not accept safety as a value or a personal mission. For example. do not expect them to actively care for the safety of others.2 Activators and consequences to change behavior are filtered through the person. personal. certain changes in external and internal conditions can influence people’s behaviors consistently and substantially. intentions. If we believe the external contingencies are genuine attempts to help us do the right thing. In addition. This can influence whether environmental events enhance or diminish what we do. Let us keep in mind that people operate within a context of environmental factors that have complex and often unmeasurable effects on perceptions. Thus. if people are not self-motivated to keep themselves safe. numerous internal and situational factors influence how we perceive activators and consequences. and behaviors. . attitudes.2. our attitude about the situation will be negative. values. 1982). This is represented by the environment side of The Safety Triad (Geller. Figure 15. like at home. do not count on them to choose the safe way when they have the choice. As discussed in Chapter 5.2 illustrates how person factors interact with the basic activator-behaviorconsequence model of behavior-based psychology (adapted from Kreitner. these events are first filtered through the person. Adapted from Kreitner (1982). and environment dimensions of everyday existence often make it extremely difficult—sometimes impossible—to predict or influence what people will do. Such complex interactions among person. as shown in Figure 15.2. However. our attitude will be more positive. However. 1989) and the “environment” designation in Figure 15. Figure 15. As detailed earlier. or internal dynamics determine how we receive activator and consequence information. behavior. With permission. if we see activators and consequences as nongenuine ploys to control us.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 327 they are withdrawn? What happens when people are in situations.

Gergen et al. traits are relatively permanent characteristics of people and do not vary appreciably over time or across situations. Moreover. A personality trait that correlated significantly with one actively caring behavior did not relate to another type of helping behavior. we can be in a state of apathy or helplessness. When experience leads us to believe we have little control over events around us. 1976. states Some person factors are presumed to be traits. 1984). then they gave these tests to hundreds of children. recorded the students’ responses to five different requests for help from the psychology department. perception. we can be in a state of frustration. and vice versa. Now. Schwartz. certain life experiences can affect positive person states. perceptions of helplessness can inhibit constructive behavior or facilitate inactivity. and helping than others (Rushton. each with its special personality characteristics. kind. Again. and belongingness. Theoretically. subsequently. 1976. such as optimism. for example. and that these people score higher on certain . while others are states.328 Psychology of safety handbook In Chapters 10 and 11. sensing vs. In particular. relationships between traits and behaviors were not consistent for males and females. Follow-up research has generally supported this conclusion (Bar-Tal. These traits are presumed permanent and unchangeable. thinking vs. 1985). increases constructive behavior. Results were neither simple nor straightforward. honesty. was designed to measure where individuals fall along four dichotomous personality dimensions: extroversion vs. and judgment vs. the search has not been particularly successful. Rushton. For instance. This. children who stated they would work as a Red Cross volunteer or send get-well cards to hospitalized peers were not necessarily more willing to share money with classmates. as determined largely by physiological or biological factors. including actively caring. The various combinations of these dimensions allow for 16 different personality types. There is some evidence that certain people are consistently more generous. The popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers and McCaulley. and resistance to temptation. let us see if changes in internal person factors can benefit behavior change. Staub. These states can influence certain behaviors. In contrast. Hartshorne and May (1928) developed 33 different tests to measure positive social behaviors. how do “inside” factors affect actively caring for safety? Person traits vs. In contrast. states are characteristics that can change moment-to-moment depending on circumstances and personal interactions. inconsistencies were more common than consistencies. I showed how direct manipulations of activators and consequences can influence behavior on a large scale. When our goals are thwarted. (1972) administered a battery of personality tests to 72 college students and. in turn. psychologists have attempted to identify stable personality traits of helpful people. Although some psychologists might disagree (Huston and Korte. 1974). the researchers had to conclude that personality traits interact in complex ways with both situational factors and the nature of the helping behavior. Searching for the actively caring personality Beginning as early as 1928. self-confidence. for example. The authors concluded that helping behavior is determined more by situational factors than personality differences. personal control. Frustration often provokes aggressive behavior. Although some children reported a greater willingness to actively care than others. In one follow-up study. 1977). including helping. introversion. 1984. feeling. intuition. For example.

and tend to be self-confident (Aronoff and Wilson. They set the stage or establish circumstances to facilitate the impact of an intervention program. self-directedness. operations.3. Actively caring states Using animals. is the central theme of most humanistic therapies (Rogers. Thus. idealistic rather than pragmatic (Gilligan. The greater the gap between our real and ideal self-concepts. can affect their behavior. We can influence them through the use of response –consequence contingencies and by changing the culture of interpersonal relationships. 1988. We talk of specific situations. it is unlikely we will care about making a difference in the lives of others. Self-esteem (“I am valuable”).b) or the temporal proximity of lunch and response–consequence contingencies (Vollmer and Iwata. 1982. we can consider ways to change these states to facilitate active caring. though. sleep. 1957. or feeling of worth. This. According to Rogers and his followers. 1982). Similarly. behavioral scientists have demonstrated significant behavior change in both normal and developmentally disabled children by altering aspects of the social context (Gewirtz and Baer. From the behavioral science perspective. If so. People can even be taught to be more empathic toward others. a model my associates and I have used many times to stimulate one-to-one and group conversations among employees. psychologists have influenced marked changes in performance by altering certain physiological states of their subjects through food. or incidents that influence their willingness to actively care for the achievement of a Total Safety Culture. 1978). 1991). we have notions or dreams of what we would like to be (our ideal self) and what we think we are (our real self). and interventions can be set up to increase and support empathic or altruistic behavior. self-acceptance. It is possible. individuals with a high propensity to actively care tend to demonstrate empathy or emotional concern or compassion for the welfare of others (Batson. the more willing we are to actively care for the safety and health of other people. As illustrated in Figure 15. 1991. or activity deprivation. One’s self-concept. Rosenhan. If we do not feel good about ourselves. certain conditions—including activators and consequences—can influence these psychological states (Geller. How do you feel about yourself? Generally good or generally bad? Your level of self-esteem is determined by the extent to which you generally feel good about yourself. 1995. They might vary within people according to situations. the lower our self-esteem. 1970). Oliner and Oliner.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 329 personality scales. a basic mechanism for doing this is to use the power of positive consequences. I contend that actively caring characteristics internal to people are states. 1998). Plus. we have a real and ideal self-concept. and independence (Oliner and Oliner. certain past or present situations or environmental conditions can influence or establish physiological or psychological states within individuals. Waterman. flexibility. Let us examine these influential states in more detail. 1977). a prime goal of many humanistic therapies is to help a person reduce this gap. and possess a sense of self-control. a person’s selfesteem can get pretty low. these qualities of people can be changed with planned intervention. these characteristics are states rather than traits. Specifically.” Now. in turn. These states are illustrated in Figure 15. 1985). Behavioral scientists typically refer to these manipulations of physiological conditions or psychological states as “establishing operations” (Michael.4. 1988). 1991. That is. not traits. It makes sense to treat most person factors related to actively caring as changeable “states” rather than permanent “traits. This can be done by raising a person’s perceptions of his real self-concept—“Count your strengths and blessings and you will see that you are . 1988). Likewise. 1958a. They score relatively high on measures of moral development and social responsibility (Staub. The better we feel about ourselves.

Figure 15. take life one step at a time and you will eventually get there.” The alternative is to lower one’s aspirations or ideal self-concept— “You expect too much.” It is important to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem and to help others raise their self-esteem.4 A person’s self-esteem can get pretty low. We can make a difference.3 Certain person states influence an individual’s willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others. I can make valuable differences. We can make valuable differences. 2. Research shows that people with high self-esteem report fewer negative . much better than that. Figure 15. 4.330 Psychology of safety handbook Personal Control "I'm in control Self-Efficacy "I can do it Optimism "I expect the best Empowerment "I can make a difference" 1 4 2 Self-Esteem I'm valuable" 3 Belonging I belong to a team" 1. I'm a valuable team member. 3. no one is perfect.

and make more favorable impressions on others in social situations (Baron and Byrne. Weiss and Knight. 1991) strengthen the perception of empowerment. Self-efficacy is the idea that “I can do it. 1986). and optimism (Scheier and Carver. Instead. What is even more disheartening is that many people. Barling and Beattie. They demonstrate greater ability and motivation to solve complex problems at work. 1976). 1986. Empowerment (“I can make a difference”). Seligman. 1977). In the management literature. Hackett et al. Those with higher self-esteem also handle life’s stresses better (Brown and McGill.” This is a key factor in social learning theory. 1986. rather than negative distress. Recall the discussion of stress vs.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 331 emotions and less depression than people with low self-esteem (Straumann and Higgins. Dozens of studies have found that subjects who score relatively high on a measure of self-efficacy perform better at a wide range of tasks. They have better health and safety habits and they are more apt to handle stressors positively. 1990. As I discuss later in this chapter. sap empowerment from others and do not even realize it. Here is something to keep in mind. 1986. school. self-efficacy (Bandura. the person-based perspective of empowerment focuses on how the person who receives more power or influence reacts. 1982. Supporting the actively caring model depicted in Figure 15. As a result. The first teacher takes too much personal control over the situation. 1988). Higher self-esteem turns stress into something positive. though. Do you feel empowered or more responsible? Can you handle the additional assignment? This view of empowerment requires the personal belief that “I can make a difference. 1974). Phares. It has also been found that people with high self-esteem are less willing to ask for help than people with low self-esteem (Nadler and Fisher. 1976). determining whether a therapeutic intervention will succeed over the long term (Bandura. 1966). or sharing decision making (Conger and Kanungo. 1990.3. 1983. 1992).” perhaps by going beyond the call of duty. An empowered state is presumed to increase motivation to “make a difference. the student loses a sense of self-efficacy (“I can do it myself”). This is sad and all too common in home. We are talking about your self-confidence. Many readers will relate empathetically with the young boy. 1997). distress in Chapter 7. 1980). empowerment typically refers to delegating authority or responsibility. 1985.. They show more commitment to a goal and work harder to pursue it. From a psychological perspective.5 includes an instructive and provocative story about the loss of empowerment in a simple but typical school situation. 1988). 1994). and occupational settings. All of this diminishes the sense of being able to contribute. Let us look more closely at these three factors affecting our sense of worth and ability— and our propensity to actively care. people with higher self-esteem help others more frequently than those scoring lower on a self-esteem scale (Batson et al. the individual learns to wait for top-down instructions and is motivated to do only what is required. and even optimism (“I expect the best”). I discuss in more detail research that shows a direct relationship between self-esteem and actively caring behavior. Ozer and Bandura. 1988). Researchers have also found that individuals who score higher on measures of selfesteem are less susceptible to outside influences (Wylie. more confident of achieving personal goals (Wells and Marwell. personal control (“I am in control”). 1989). having been in similar situations themselves. In contrast. like the first teacher in this story. rather than with negative distress (Bandura. empowerment is a matter of personal perception. They know what it is like to have their empowerment sapped (Byham.” Perceptions of personal control (Rotter. 1993. Figure 15. there is empirical support for this intuitive hypothesis (Bandura.. Later in this chapter. 1994. . Betz and Hackett.

my self-esteem might not change at all. I might protect my selfesteem by rationalizing that my opponent is younger and more experienced or that I am more physically tired and mentally preoccupied than usual. My damaged self-efficacy will undoubtedly lead to reduced optimism about winning the match. but these constructs are different. With permission. externals believe they are victims. As depicted in Figure 15. If I continue to lose at tennis and run out of excuses. In this case. skill. They believe they are captain of their life’s ship. In a sense.6. and vice versa. and ideal self. of circumstances beyond their direct personal control (Rotter. however. a loser at tennis. a winner on the court. One’s level of self-esteem remains rather constant across situations. In contrast. Personal control is the feeling that “I am in control. Self-efficacy contributes to self-esteem. . or sometimes beneficiaries. When I am losing to an opponent on the tennis court. there would be a prominent gap between my real self.” Rotter (1966) used the term locus of control to refer to a general outlook regarding the location of forces controlling a person’s life—internal or external. there are times when everyone likes to feel that their successes resulted from their own efforts. or fate play important roles in their lives. 1984). Adapted from Canfield and Hansen (1993). However. luck.5 A simple story illustrates common sapping of empowerment and unfortunate consequences. and abilities. Simply put. persons with an external locus of control believe factors like chance. Those with an internal locus of control believe they usually have direct personal control over significant life events as a result of their knowledge. self-esteem refers to a general sense of self-worth.332 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 15. Self-efficacy is more focused and can vary markedly from one task to another. Rushton. self-efficacy refers to feeling successful or effective at a particular task. my self-efficacy usually drops considerably. 1966. my self-esteem could suffer if I think it is important for me to play tennis well.

1989). Phares. 1991). Optimism is reflected in the statement. In addition. more than 2000 studies have investigated the relationship between perceptions of personal control and other variables (Hunt. Seligman (1991) reported. An experiment by Feather (1966) demonstrated how quickly the self-fulfilling prophecy can take effect.6 At times. he asked . Following defeat.. Compared to pessimists. 1987). As a result. the pessimistic swimmers swam slower.. The self-fulfilling prophecy (Merton.” It is the learned expectation that life events. Personal control has been one of the most researched individual difference dimensions in psychology. Optimists essentially expect to be successful at whatever they do. and so they work harder than pessimists to reach their goals. facilitates psychological and physical adjustment to illness and surgery. They are less prone to distress and more likely to seek medical treatment when they need it (Nowicki and Strickland. 1985. For 15 trials. 1991). Strickland. 1973. Internals perform better at jobs that allow them to set their own pace. Peterson and Barrett.. 1991). including personal actions. 2000. Sherer et al. 1993.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 333 Figure 15. Figure 15. we all want credit for our personal control. will turn out well (Peterson. 1989. Optimism relates positively to achievement. Since Rotter developed the first measure of this construct in 1966. that world-class swimmers who scored high on a measure of optimism recovered from defeat and swam even faster compared to those swimmers scoring low. for example. 1986). 1982.7 shows how an optimistic perspective can influence one’s attempt to achieve more. perceive problems or challenges in a positive light. Internals are more achievement-oriented and health conscious than externals. optimists are beneficiaries of the self-fulfilling prophecy (Tavris and Wade. 1948) starts with a personal expectation about one’s future performance and ends with that expectation coming true because the individual performs in such a way to make it happen. and plan for a successful future. 1995). having an internal locus of control helps reduce chronic pain. 1993). “I expect the best. Seligman. and hastens recovery from some diseases (Taylor. As a result. whereas externals work better when a machine controls the pace (Eskew and Riche. optimists maintain a sense of humor. optimists handle stressors constructively and experience positive stress rather than negative distress (Scheier et al. 1982. They focus on what they can do rather than on how they feel (Carver et al. Scheier and Carver.

can support our negative expectations. You could. “No one is perfect. our approach to this situation. illustrated in Figure 15. female college students to unscramble letters to make a word. and even self-esteem. The optimistic subjects performed markedly better on the last ten anagrams which were soluble and the same for both groups. As you might expect. What do you expect when your boss or supervisor asks to see you? Do you expect the best? Our past experiences with top-down control and the use of negative consequences to influence our behavior often results in pessimistic rather than optimistic expectations. Moreover. write a different internal script. I wonder what he’s done that needs to be punished?” However. Realizing this should motivate us to do whatever we can to make interpersonal conversations positive and . they work hard to make their prediction come true. the subjects predicted their chances of solving the puzzle or anagram. and I might have missed something. For the first five trials. the results could be more positive. When people are optimistic and expect the best.8. You will “telegraph” these signals to your boss. the more anagrams he solved. for example. then your body language and demeanor will subtly reflect that expectation. they often achieve the best. who might think. If you expect to be punished or reprimanded every time your boss or supervisor calls you into the office. half of the women received easy anagrams. Everyone can improve with specific behavioral feedback. while the other subjects received five anagrams with no solution. As a result. the group that started with easy anagrams increased their estimates of success on subsequent trials. The higher a person’s expectation for success. Prior to each trial. if you approach the interaction with an optimistic attitude. If I help to make the interaction constructive.” It is important to understand that fulfilling a pessimistic prophecy can depreciate our perceptions of personal control.7 Optimists expect more from their efforts. the outcome can only be positive.334 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 15. self-efficacy. those who received the five insoluable puzzles became pessimistic about their future success. reflected in your body language and verbal behavior. “Scott sure looks guilty.

In my numerous group discussions with employees on the belonging concept. It seems. We need to develop feelings of belonging with one another regardless of our political preferences. This will not only increase optimism in a work culture but also promote a sense of group cohesiveness or belonging—another person state that facilitates actively caring behavior. A sense of belonging and interdependency leads to interpersonal trust and caring—essential features of a Total Safety Culture. fueling “road rage. Safety improvement requires interpersonal observation and feedback and. We need to transcend our differences. someone inevitably raises the point that a sense of belonging or community at their plant has decreased over recent years. Peck (1979) challenges us to experience a sense of true community with others.” and contributing to numerous vehicle crashes and fatalities. In his best seller. It seems intuitive that building a sense of community or belonging among our coworkers will improve organizational safety. people need to adopt a collective win–win perspective instead of the individualistic win–lose orientation common in many work settings. The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. we expect the worst. overcome our defenses and prejudices. and develop a deep respect for diversity. Belonging. constructive. . people’s need level on Maslow’s hierarchy (see Figure 14.8 When our boss asks to see us.9. “We used to be more like family around here” is a common theme. and religious doctrine. As illustrated in Figure 15. For many companies. the opposite of this perspective or win–lose independence is often experienced on the road. continuous turnover—particularly among managers—or “lean and mean” cutbacks have left many employees feeling less connected and trusting. in some cases. cultural backgrounds. for this to happen. Peck claims we must develop a sense of community or interconnectedness with one another if we are to accomplish our best and ensure our survival as human beings.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 335 Figure 15. growth spurts.7) has regressed from satisfying social acceptance and belonging needs to concentrating on maintaining job security in order to keep food on the table.

behaviors. the greater the group cohesiveness. respect. and environments—outside the group. and elaboration of group culture. The result is optimal trust.9 A win–lose independent perspective makes vehicle travel more risky. individual participation. ability to enforce group norms and focus energy toward goal attainment. Independence refers to an internal locus of control in group decision making and group involvement reflects the level of interpersonal concern. Also. From this conceptualization. Figure 15.336 Psychology of safety handbook Figure 15. Wheeless et al. including increased quantity and quality of communication. Satisfaction is considered a key determinant of group cohesiveness. . it follows that members of a cohesive group should demonstrate actively caring behavior for each other..” we will achieve a Total Safety Culture. typified by special behavioral routines that increase the group’s sense of togetherness. and actively caring behavior for the safety and health of our family members. the more satisfied are members with belonging to the group. Ridgeway (1983) defined five benefits of group cohesiveness. Following the principles in Figure 15. group loyalty and satisfaction. The actively caring model also predicts that group cohesiveness will increase this behavior for targets— persons. The psychological construct most analogous to the actively caring concept of belonging is group cohesion—the sum of positive and negative forces attracting group members to each other (Wheeless et al. We are willing to actively care in special ways for the members of our immediate family.10 among members of our “corporate family. (1982) identified two beneficial levels of satisfaction in interpersonal relationships: independence and involvement. The more cohesive a group. and warmth present in the group. To the extent we follow the guidelines in Figure 15.10 lists a number of special attributes prevalent in most families where interpersonal trust and belonging are often optimal. the greater the member satisfaction with the group.10 will develop trust and belonging among people and lead to the quantity and quality of actively caring behavior expected among family members—at home and at work. 1982). belonging.

Even if they were available. • We don’t pick on the mistakes of family • We don’t pick on the mistakes of family memmembers. Some proponents recommend their use to discriminate between “safe” and “unsafe” employees (Krause. • We are our brothers/sisters keepers of family • We are our brothers/sisters keepers of family members. Measuring actively caring states Surveys that measure workplace safety cultures are quite popular these days (Geller. members. • We correct the at-risk behavior of family • We correct the at-risk behavior of family members. I have found. management systems. family members. Figure 15. personality factors. • We accept the corrective feedback of family • We accept the corrective feedback of family members.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 337 • We use more rewards than penalties with • We use more rewards than penalties with family members. members. 1992. the comprehensive research comparisons by Guastello (1993) revealed this personnel selection approach to be the most popular—but quite ineffective at reducing industrial injuries. I believe the idea of a stable personality bias can interfere with the more practical and cost-effective behavior-based approach to managing human resources. and cognitive strategies—can be useful in an employee education and training program to teach the concept of individual diversity and to increase employees’ awareness of their own idiosyncrasies that relate potentially to injury proneness. 1992. perceptions. consultants often teach that individuals have stable personality traits determining both their motivation level for particular tasks and their propensity to have an injury. • We actively care because they’re family. response– consequence contingencies. To justify these surveys. though. I explain that valid individual difference scales do not exist to reliably predict an individual’s propensity to get hurt on the job (Geller. another. 1992). . 1994). as safety consultants peddle their “quick-fix” measurement devices. and peer interactions—in addition to personality factors. Geller and Roberts. • We pick up after other family members. members. that assessing individual differences—including different lifestyles. This perspective seems to be on the rise today. members. At my industrial safety workshops. Simon and Simon. • We respect the property and personal space • We respect the property and personal space of of family members. • We pick up after other family members. If you recall in Chapter 1. 1993. • We actively care because they’re family. 1995). • We brag about the accomplishments of family • We brag about the accomplishments of family members. which is what this Handbook is all about. bers. you still must account for the influence of such contextual factors as environmental conditions. • We don’t rank one family member against • We don’t rank one family member against another. family members.10 Incorporating an actively caring family perspective in an organization will help to cultivate a Total Safety Culture.

1982). from both a training and culture-change perspective. 1985) The most useful subscale of our Safety Culture Survey. Mike Gilmore. self-efficacy (Sherer et al. Respondents’ reactions to each of the 154 items of the survey are given on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from “Highly Disagree” to “Highly Agree. 0. is the actively caring scale. Just respond to each query according to the instructions and then check the answer key in Figure 15. 1979).” Support for the actively caring model Analyzing Safety Culture Survey results from three large industrial complexes shows remarkable support for the actively caring model (Geller et al.12 to increase your understanding of the five actively caring person states.71 (n 207) at the three plants. There are only four questions per state. and group cohesion (Wheeless et al. sensation seeking (Zuckerman. but there is a practical value to classifying actively caring attributes according to various work groups. contractors.338 Psychology of safety handbook A safety culture survey The Safety Culture Survey which Steve Roberts.. our survey did not include a measure of self-efficacy. psychological reactance (Tucker and Byers. and laboratory personnel. so this should not be considered a reliable nor a valid measure of these factors. relatively high levels of willingness to actively care convinced the plant manager to support an actively caring training and intervention process. The multiple regression coefficients and sample sizes were 0. 1985). I am willing to help even if it causes me inconvenience”).54 (n 262). optimism (Scheier and Carver.. and trainers at the three facilities. 1974). and 0. secretaries. and extroversion (Eysenck and Eysenck. For these tests. Check your understanding The 20 questions included in Figure 15. Roberts and Geller. These regression results were not of much interest to the plant managers. 1996. The survey also includes direct measures of willingness to actively care from an environment focus (“I am willing to pick up after another employee in order to maintain good housekeeping”). respectively (see Geller et al.11 were selected from the actively caring person scale of our Safety Culture Survey.. and a behavior-change focus (“I am willing to observe the work practices of another employee in order to provide direct feedback to him/her”). including managers. At another plant. extreme differences in the inclination to help across work areas prompted the development of special intervention programs for certain work groups. Self-esteem and optimism always correlated highly with each other. 1965). do not read too much into this survey.. operators. In other words. personal control (Nowicki and Duke. 1996 for details). 1993. Belonging scores predicted significant differences in actively caring propensity at two of three plants.. a person focus (“If an employee needs assistance with a task. Geller et al. In another case. which includes adaptations from standard measures of self-esteem (Rosenberg. 1992. and with willingness to actively care. 1987).57 (n 307). for example. 1982). but only one or the other predicted independent variance in actively caring propensity. Each of the five actively caring states discussed in this chapter is assessed. . The personal control factor was consistently most influential in predicting willingness to actively care. supervisors. including cognitive failures (Broadbent et al. 1996) includes subscales to measure safety-related perceptions and risk propensity.. and I developed for culture assessment and corporate training programs (Geller and Roberts. 1995). 1982).

I give up on things before completing them. I bet you see the similarity between self-transcendency and actively caring. Theorizing a direct relationship between the probability of actively caring behavior and the degree of belonging between the helper and the victim should not surprise anyone. we are less preoccupied with personal problems and more likely to do something nice for someone else. it probably will. I firmly believe that every cloud has a silver lining. helps you understand the distinct difference between these two constructs. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers. 20. I distrust the other workers in my department. 15. I feel I don't have much to be proud of. 8. I feel I have a number of good qualities.3 certainly makes intuitive sense. I am satisfied with myself. 19. When I make plans. Wishing can make good things happen. for example.7). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was discussed in Chapter 14 (see Figure 14. The similarities are noteworthy. we are more apt to help those we like and to whom we feel close. Comparing the items that measure self-esteem with those that assess self-efficacy. If anything can go wrong for me. People's injuries result from their own carelessness. Of course. 13. Indeed. This questionnaire only asks about your personal opinion. 16. Remember. these person factors are presumed to be states that fluctuate day-to-day and from situation-to-situation. we feel better about ourselves when reaching our aspirations through self-efficacy and personal control. 10. 4. depending on the person states given in the model? When we feel better about ourselves. 2. 18. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Figure 15. I hardly ever expect things to go my way.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 339 This is a questionnaire about your beliefs and feelings. one-half of . 12. 14. My work group is very close. Figure 15. Read each statement.11 These 20 survey items assess the 5 actively caring person states. Does your willingness to help others often change. People who never get injured are just plain lucky. with particular reference to Maslow’s (1971) later addition of “self-transcendency” to the top of his hierarchy. The common-sense appeal of the actively caring model is also supported by comparing it with Maslow’s popular and intuitive motivation theory. Failure just makes me try harder. I am certain I can make them work. 3. then circle the number that best describes your current feelings. 11. Moreover. I always look on the bright side of things. 7. The score you get today might be quite different than the one you would obtain on another day under a different set of circumstances. I avoid challenges. 5. Highly Agree Agree Not Sure Disagree Highly Disagree 1. this satisfaction can lead to optimistic expectations and heightened self-esteem. 9. I am directly responsible for my own safety. Most people I know can do better job than I can. Theoretical support for the actively caring model The actively caring model depicted in Figure 15. when it comes to helping others. In turn. 6.13 depicts a hierarchy of the concepts in the actively caring model. I feel like I really belong to my work group I don't understand my coworkers. 17. On the whole. along with the need levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Actual scale = 8 items (a) Add numbers for items 15 & 16 (b) Add numbers for items 13 & 14 and subtract from 12. when they are self-actualized. It makes sense to relate self-efficacy or self-confidence to an individual’s drive to satisfy basic physiological needs. Actual scale = 20 items (a) Add numbers for items 17 & 19 (b) Add numbers for items 16 & 20 and subtract from 12. not on common sense. Total 1 = Total 2 = ACTIVELY CARING SCORE = Sum of Self-Esteem. Linking optimism with self-actualization might be a bit of a stretch. the actively caring concepts—belonging. but we cannot allow common sense to determine the value of a theory. and optimism—can be readily linked to the remaining three need levels. Total 1 = Total 2 = Belonging (items 17-20) = the perception of group cohesiveness or feelings of togetherness.340 Psychology of safety handbook Self-Esteem (items 1-4) = feelings of self-worth and value. Self-Efficacy. increasing employees’ personal control of safety is fundamental to achieving a Total Safety Culture. The other three person states—self-efficacy. Optimism (items 13-16) = the extent to which a person expects the best will happen for him/her. or vice versa? When people believe they are the best they can be. Actual scale = 16 items (a) Add numbers for items 1 & 3 (b) Add numbers for items 2 & 4 and subtract from 12. they are happiest and most optimistic about the future. Actual scale = 23 items (a) Add numbers for items 5 & 8 (b) Add numbers for items 6 & 7 and subtract from 12. but the accuracy or applicability . a practical benefit to connecting a theory or model to common sense—it scores points for what you are trying to prove. Indeed. Total 1 = Total 2 = Self-Efficacy (items 5-8) = general level of belief in one's competence. personal control. Total 1 = Total 2 = Personal Control (items 9-12) = the extent a person believes he or she is personally responsible for his/her life situation. and Belonging Totals.12 Scoring your answers to the 20 person-state items will increase your understanding of the actively caring model. Personal Control. That would be inconsistent with a primary theme of this Handbook. Increasing one’s sense of personal control is basic to feeling safe and secure. Total Score = Figure 15. and actively caring—are exactly the same as three of Maslow’s need levels. Principles and procedures must be based on valid results from research. There is. but does it not seem that optimism reflects self-actualization. self-esteem. Their self-fulfilling prophecy comes true. however. Optimism. and they continue to be self-actualized. Actual scale = 25 items Total 1 = (a) Add numbers for items 10 & 11 Total 2 = (b) Add numbers for items 9 & 12 and subtract from 12. All of this sounds good.

some of it will suggest practical applications for injury prevention. This research measures or manipulates self-esteem. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has intuitive charm. there has been substantial research on helping behavior that can be related to the actively caring model. these individuals are placed in a situation where they have an opportunity to help another person presumably encountering some kind of a personal crisis. Let us see if research supports the theory. Perhaps. dropping belongings. the actively caring behaviors studied in these experiments were reactive and person-focused. or feigning a heart attack or illness. supporting individual components of the actively caring model.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 341 Actively Caring (Self-Transcendency) Optimism (Self-Actualization) Self-Esteem (Self-Esteem Needs) Belonging (Acceptance Needs) Personal Control (Safety and Security Needs) Self-Efficacy (Physiological Needs) Figure 15. Although these studies did not address more than one factor at a time. They were never proactive and behavior-focused. of a theory or concept cannot be based on whether it sounds good or seems acceptable. mostly in the social psychology literature. and belonging among a group of subjects.13 The actively caring person states are reflected in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The bystander intervention paradigm (as described in Chapter 14) has been the most common and rigorous laboratory method used to study person factors related to actively caring behaviors. On the other hand. As pointed out in Chapter 14. Then. like falling off a ladder. but limited empirical research has been conducted to support the concept of a motivational hierarchy. empowerment. The delay in coming to the rescue is studied as it relates to a subject’s social situation or personality state. Research support for the actively caring model I have found a number of empirical studies. As discussed earlier. . the combined evidence gives substantial empirical support for the model.

and personal interactions. Michelini et al. researchers have manipulated optimistic states or moods by giving test subjects unexpected rewards or positive feedback and. if necessary. The field study discussed in the previous section by Bierhoff et al. observing the frequency of actively caring behaviors. and so change the gap between a person’s perceived real and ideal self. for example. then. in contrast to the lower self-esteem externals who were less apt to actively care. self-esteem can be relatively general and enduring—and also situational and transitory. Sherrod and Downs (1974) asked subjects to perform a task in the presence of a loud. In contrast. In a naturalistic field study of actively caring behavior. 1975) and to leave an experimental room to assist a person in another room who screamed he had broken his foot following a mock “explosion” (Wilson.. self-esteem can be affected markedly by situations. Another study manipulated subjects’ perceptions of personal control prior to observing their actively caring behaviors. When circumstances return to “normal. The subjects who could have terminated the noise but did not were significantly more likely to comply with a later request by a accomplice to help solve math problems requiring extra time and resulting in no extrinsic benefits. can shape or reshape personal aspirations. Personal control Some studies have measured subjects’ locus of control and then observed the probability of actively caring behavior in a bystander intervention trial. High self-esteem subjects were significantly more likely than those with low self-esteem to help another person pick up dropped books (Michelini et al. personal control. (1975) and Wilson (1976) measured subjects’ self-esteem with a sentence completion test (described in Aronoff. but permanent changes in circumstances or perceived personal competencies can have a lasting impact. 1967).342 Psychology of safety handbook Self-esteem According to Coopersmith (1967). Similarly. (1991) compared individual differences among people who helped or only observed at vehicle crashes. Midlarsky (1971) found more internals than externals willing to help a confederate perform a motor coordination task that involved the reception of electric shocks.” self-esteem usually returns to its chronic level. and were later given a questionnaire measuring certain personality constructs.. Optimism As mentioned in Chapter 14. and social responsibility. Those who helped scored significantly higher on self-esteem. (1991) found more active caring at vehicle-crash scenes by bystanders with an internal locus of control. Also. Bierhoff et al. by notifying them through an intercom. People who stopped at the road scene were identified by ambulance workers. response–consequence contingencies. Often considered a general trait. subjects with higher self-esteem scores were more likely to help a stranger (the experimenter’s accomplice) by taking his place in an experiment where they would presumably receive electric shocks (Batson et al. they observed whether these subjects helped out in a bystander intervention test. 1976). distracting noise. They manipulated subjects’ perception of personal control by telling onehalf the subjects they could terminate the noise. only four percent of those who did not find a dime helped the . observed that 84 percent of those individuals who found a dime in the coin-return slot of a public phone (placed there by researchers) helped an accomplice pick up papers he dropped in the subject’s vicinity. Isen and Levin (1972). for example. Then. In addition. those high self-esteem subjects who showed more active caring than low selfesteem subjects in Wilson’s (1976) bystander intervention study (discussed previously) were also characterized as internals. 1986). Maturity.

Indeed. he needed the subject to call a garage to tow his car. Group cohesiveness or a sense of belonging counteracts the diffusion of responsibility that presumably accounts for bystander inaction. and personal control. Similarly. pairs of friends intervened faster to help a female experimenter who had fallen from a chair than did pairs of strangers. nationality. listening to soothing music. Belonging Staub (1978) reviewed studies showing that people are more likely to help victims who belong to their own group. successful subjects made more boxes for the researcher’s accomplice than did the unsuccessful subjects. Rutkowski et al. (1983) tested whether group cohesion can reverse the usual bystander intervention effect. Then. which holds that victims are less likely to be helped as the number of observers increases. and being labeled a charitable person. Similarly. imagining a vacation in Hawaii. the bystander intervention effect. being on a winning football team. Specifically. Findings indicated that group cohesiveness . Subjects told they had performed extremely well were more likely to donate money to charity. these performance-feedback studies support the general hypothesis that we can increase the chances for active caring by boosting individual perceptions of empowerment. self-efficacy. By experimentally manipulating group cohesion in groups of two and four. 1972). The task was manipulated to allow one-half of the subjects to succeed and one-half to fail. In a bystander intervention experiment. as well as one’s optimism. students given a cookie while studying at a university library were more likely than those not given a cookie to agree to help another person by participating in a psychology experiment (Isen and Levin. self-efficacy. Afterward. Scheier and Carver’s (1985) measure of optimism correlated significantly with locus of control. Thus. and personal control determine feelings of empowerment. They reported that these pleasant experiences increased active caring. The authors suggested that the state or mood caused by the pleasant experiences may have increased the perceived rewarding value of helping others. Isen et al. according to the actively caring model. (1988) reviewed these and other studies that showed direct relationships between mood—or optimism—and actively caring behavior. Their subjects were instructed to complete certain puzzles in less than two minutes. pick up a dropped book. Berkowitz and Connor (1966) found a direct relationship between perceived success and actively caring behavior.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 343 man pick up his papers. It is reasonable to assume performance feedback increases one’s perception of self-efficacy and personal control. with “group” determined by race. the researchers studied the number of subjects who left the experimental room to assist a “victim” who had presumably fallen off a ladder and measured how long it took to respond. the caller said he had dialed the wrong number but since he had used his last dime. Thus. Optimism. may not occur when friends are involved. Batson et al. In a series of analogous laboratory studies. Carlson et al. Isen (1970) manipulated performance feedback on a perceptual-motor task. or an arbitrary distinction defined by preference of a particular artist’s paintings. Subjects who had received the stationery were more likely to make the call than subjects who had not received this gift. purportedly by inducing a positive mood or optimistic outlook: finding a dime. Cohesiveness was created by having the groups discuss topics and feelings they had in common related to college life. and hold a door open for a confederate than those who were told that they had performed very poorly. (1986) found subjects more likely to help a confederate if they rated her as similar to them. These later studies that manipulated the outcome of a task illustrated a potential overlap between optimism. (1976) delivered free samples of stationery to people’s homes and then called them later to request an act of caring. receiving a packet of stationery.

more research is needed to study this model as a predictor of when people will actively care and as a predictor of changes in person states following actively caring behavior. Subjects in the high cohesion/four-person group were most likely to respond quickly. Two field tests overcame this weakness. Results revealed that the smaller. Blake (1978) studied real-world relationships between group cohesion and the ultimate act of caring—altruistic suicide. though. Employees were trained to look for proactive actively caring behavior that removed a hazard. Employees who gave or received a thank-you card scored significantly higher on measures of self-esteem and group cohesion than those who did not give nor receive a card. optimism. These findings also supported the hypothesis that group cohesion increases actively caring behavior. Both frequency and speed of helping were greater for the cohesive groups. The high return rate of 92 percent was consistent with an actively caring profile. He gathered his data from official records of Medal of Honor awards given during World War II and Vietnam. self-efficacy. and group cohesion. optimism. People who scored high on measures of self-esteem. Direct test of the actively caring model As I indicated.344 Psychology of safety handbook increased actively caring behaviors. and belonging reported that they had performed more acts of caring in the past. the dependent variable was percentage of “grenade acts”—voluntarily using one’s body to shield others from exploding devices. less specialized units—Army nonairborne units. was that the blood donors scored significantly higher on each of the five subscales than did a group of 292 randomly selected students from the same university population. Most remarkable. optimism. personal control. 1993.. Geller et al. The blood donors also scored significantly higher than the others on the self-report measures of willingness to actively care. 1994). The independent variable was the cohesiveness of combat units. Actively caring person states are probably present before acts of caring. the entire actively caring model was supported by this research. personal control. Obviously. A major weakness of this research was its complete reliance on verbal report. estimated by group training and size.16) redeemable for a beverage in the cafeteria whenever they saw a co-worker going beyond the call of duty for safety.. supported safe behavior. five tested the entire actively caring model by asking 156 of their peers (75 males and 86 females) who had just donated blood at a campus location to complete a 60-item survey that measured each of the five person factors in the model. more elite. serving as establishing conditions that activate the caring behavior. Of my students (Buermeyer et al. self-efficacy. As reflected in the opening quote of this chapter. perhaps because of reduced diffusion of responsibility. Roberts and Geller (1995) studied relationships between on-the-job actively caring behaviors of 65 employees and prior measures of their self-esteem. Self-efficacy and personal control were not assessed. In the next chapter. 1996). but our research with the Safety Culture Survey has shown a direct relationship between employees’ scores on the five person states and their self-reported actively caring behavior (Geller and Roberts. The prominently higher survey scores from blood donors could have resulted from the immediate effects of donating blood. Actual behavior was not observed. and these states are likely affected in positive directions after performing an act of caring. I use the . and they reported a significantly greater willingness to actively care in the future. Employees were told to give co-workers “Actively Caring Thank-You Cards” (Figure 11. specially-trained combat units— the Marine Corps and Army airborne units—accounted for a substantially larger percentage of “grenade acts” than larger. and belonging. none of these empirical studies were designed to test the actively caring model. actively caring might very well increase a person’s sense of self-esteem. Whether the differences between blood donors and the control group were due to pre-existing states of those who gave blood or to the impact of giving blood. or corrected at-risk behavior.

Actively caring and emotional intelligence The same person states I have described here as influencing people’s willingness to actively care for the safety and health of others also reflect a most important kind of human wisdom—emotional intelligence (Goleman. or the “intelligence quotient” (IQ) measured by standard IQ tests. which leaves 80 percent to other factors” (page 34).” We show intrapersonal intelligence when we keep our negative emotions (including frustration. sadness. Gardner (1993) refers to the first ability as “intrapersonal intelligence” and the second as “interpersonal intelligence. Goleman shows convincing evidence that a majority of the other factors contributing to personal achievement can be associated with “emotional intelligence” or one’s ability to • Remain in control and optimistic following personal failure and frustration.14 is attempting to control his negative emotions elicited by an unfriendly interpersonal communication. “At best. The driver in Figure 15. and vice versa.14 Interpersonal communication can affect intrapersonal communication. How important is emotional intelligence? Well. and shame) in check and use our positive emotions or moods (such as joy. fear.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 345 model as a framework for exploring ways to increase actively caring behavior throughout an organization or culture. 1998). love. anger. IQ contributes about 20 percent to factors that determine life success. it is probably much more responsible for our successes and failures in life than mental capacity. disgust. Figure 15. passion. • Understand and empathize with other people and work with them cooperatively. In his influential book. optimism. 1995. Goleman (1995) concludes that. and surprise) to motivate constructive action. . From his comprehensive review of the research.

Thus. When these people willingly follow our safety advice and give up the efficiency. As illustrated in Figure 15. just pausing to think first before reacting can make a big difference. or convenience of an at-risk short cut. emotions. or feeling states of other people and react appropriately. optimism. and impulse control Safety leaders need to develop emotional intelligence in themselves and others. and self-esteem. we often have a choice in communicating our dissatisfaction. personal control. In other words. When we communicate with interpersonal intelligence. they are enhancing this sort of intelligence in themselves. this kind of emotional intelligence requires proactive listening. we increase this special intelligence in ourselves. I am sure you can see the strong connection between the emotional intelligence concept and the actively caring model discussed previously. and belonging—reflect an aspect of emotional intelligence. comfort. Consider also that actively caring for safety increases emotional intelligence in ourselves and in others.15 Interpersonal conversation affects the actively caring person states. personal control. motives. we facilitate the cultivation of intrapersonal intelligence in others. behavior-based feedback. We can impulsively scream and shout our disappointment or we can attempt a more positive and productive approach. Safety. and actively caring conversation. We need the curiosity to assess objectively the impact of our safety Figure 15. We need to envision how the process of interpersonal communication is reciprocal and mutually supportive of constructive or destructive emotional states. self-efficacy.15. emotions. Each of the actively caring person states—self-esteem. 1998). As I discussed earlier in Chapters 12 and 13.346 Psychology of safety handbook We demonstrate interpersonal intelligence when we correctly recognize the moods. Think about the range of emotions that come into play as we struggle to improve workplace safety and health. people with high interpersonal intelligence communicate with others to increase their self-confidence. . optimism. when we help people avoid taking a calculated risk in order to achieve a delayed and remote positive consequence (avoiding an injury). Sometimes. as conceptualized by Goleman (1995.

In fact. and optimism (intrapersonal intelligence) to develop and implement new tools for safety management. trustworthy. to express their ideas. resilience to bounce back after failure. the adolescents who had devoured the single marshmallow 12 to 14 years earlier were now more stubborn and indecisive. Goleman (1995) considers impulse control “the root of all emotional self-control” (page 81) and he demonstrates its power in the classic research of Walter Mischel. Most astonishingly. these higher achievers scored significantly higher on both the math and verbal portions of the SAT (by an average of 210 total points) than the students who had not delayed gratification at age four (Shoda et al. Some children ate the single marshmallow within a few seconds after the researcher left the room. We ask employees to do things that are uncomfortable or inconvenient in order to avoid a negative consequence that seems remote and improbable. persistence to continue successful programs in the face of active resistance. we can increase personal responsibility for safety by helping people understand the fundamental emotional problem at the root of all safety intervention.Chapter fifteen: The person-based approach to actively caring 347 interventions. especially the next chapter. and to set goals and achieve them. They were more self-reliant. 1990). Safety requires impulse control under the most difficult circumstances. those who had waited patiently at age four were far superior as students than those who failed the marshmallow test. others were able to wait the 15 to 20 minutes for the researcher to return.and interpersonal) can be learned. Here is how the test worked. This requires empathic and persuasive communication skills (interpersonal intelligence). and less likely to shy away from social contacts than the children who had not waited for two marshmallows at age four. They were better able to concentrate. as well as self-confidence.. a renowned psychology professor at Stanford University. 1990). and optimism. Mischel gave four-year olds a “Marshmallow Test” to measure impulse control. as well as the ability to assess. Goleman describes a number of educational/training programs that have demonstrated success at increasing the emotional intelligence of children. Achieving the vision of an injury-free workplace requires awareness and control of our own emotions. understand. This takes a special kind of emotional intelligence. The diagnostic power of this simple test was shown when these preschoolers were followed up as adolescents (Shoda et al. self-esteem. they had better study habits and appeared more eager to learn. reviews the actively caring feeling states among adults (including self-confidence. They were clearly more academically competent. and draw on the influence of other people’s emotions. personal control. Those who put off immediate gratification for a bigger but delayed reward demonstrated greater intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. and more readily upset by stress or frustration than the adolescents who had waited for the extra marshmallow. flexibility to try new approaches. . In comparison. In the 1960s. When evaluated again during their last year of high school. They handled stressors and frustration with more confidence. both from us as safety leaders and from the employees with whom we are working.. Nurturing emotional intelligence Although Mischel’s research and Goleman’s conclusion suggest that some degree of emotional intelligence begins early in life. personal control. Children were given a marshmallow and told they could eat it now or wait until later and receive two marshmallows. Perhaps. there is plenty of evidence that emotional intelligence (both intra. this Handbook. and dependable. and passion to try again. more prone to jealousy and envy. personal control.


Psychology of safety handbook

optimism, belonging, and self esteem) which imply an increase in intrapersonal or interpersonal intelligence. I am sure you see the relevance of emotional intelligence to improving occupational health and safety. Obviously, safety leaders need to remain self-confident and optimistic (intrapersonal intelligence) in their attempts to prevent injuries, and much of their success depends upon their ability to facilitate involvement, empowerment, and win–win cooperation among those who can be injured (interpersonal intelligence). However, it is easy for safety leaders to get discouraged and frustrated, because so often safety seems to take a back seat to seemingly more immediate demands like meeting production quotas and quality standards. Controlling these negative emotions is reminiscent of Mischel’s “Marshmallow Test.” Doing things for safety (from using protective equipment to completing behavioral and environmental audits) is equivalent to asking someone to delay immediate gratification for the possibility of receiving a larger reward (preventing a serious injury). In other words, safety often (if not always) requires people to control their impulse to procure an immediate consequence (if only to be more comfortable or to comple