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Behaviour Based Safety

Read The Health & Safety Authority’s Ten Tips –
“1.Psychology tells us that much of our behaviour is learned and then subsequently reinforced through our daily interactions in the various social environments we operate in – at home, at work, whilst driving, when on holidays…everywhere, all the time. So, how can what psychology tells us help us change our own or others’ behaviour?
In the workplace we cannot underestimate, on a daily basis, the degree to which our behaviour is inuencing (positively or negatively) the behaviour of those we work with. Accordingly, starting with our own behaviour is an important mechanism to inuence behaviour change at work, or anywhere else. That might be, for instance, to concentrate on one of these:

  • do things safer (more thoughtfully /slowly/ etc),
  • to do things in a less chaotic way
  • to relate in a more calm and convivial way to those we find hard to communicate with.

Then others will change in reaction to that.
2.All human behaviour is dynamic. In every organisation people behave in ways influenced by attitudes, thoughts, ruminations (thinking about thoughts) and the context (or culture) in which they exist.
3.The propensity to take risks differs across the lifespan (according to age) and across gender; older workers, or male workers, in certain contexts, will be more or less likely than younger works or females, to behave safely. Don’t ignore this just to be ‘politically correct’. Be correct and include a consideration of this in your assessment of things -people are not machines.
4.People behave differently when the same decision is presented a diffrent way. Look at how you present the issue – if you want someone to, for instance, stop doing something, or you want them to – as in Supervisors roles -ininfluence others to stop doing something, it’s often better to concentrate and use language which involves actively doing something else, rather than just using language of not doing the forbidden thing.
5.In their personal lives or at work, people tend to have their little habits and ways of doing things which makes up their comfort zone. In a change process, it is important to help people understand why you want them to do something differently. If they see where you want to go, you will have a better chance of getting them on board to bring about change more successfully.
6.Psychology tells us that people are hugely driven by social relations, by what others do and think and say. Although they may be ‘working’, people are also listening, seeing and passively as well as actively engaged in the social world at work; this is a real and important mechanism to influence behaviour change at work.
7.Brief Line Managers to recognise and reward publicly any attempt (even if not perfect) to carry out the new behaviors by employees in the initial stages of the change implementation. This will encourage repetition of those behaviors by those rewarded; commencement of desired behaviors by others who witness the reward; and if carried out with additional coaching where behaviour has not quite reached the new standard, will result in shaping behaviour to meet the objectives.
8.Communicate, communicate, communicate! Over communicate if necessary at the beginning but allow employees to feel they can ask any question at any time, …otherwise questions and fears will be answered by the rumour mill.
9.The ‘carrot and stick’ approach to motivating behaviour change doesn’t work for sustained change. Psychology tells us that individuals are motivated most by activities that they enjoy, find interesting, and have ownership over. Hence, in order to change behaviour, employees need to have a reason to change, believe that they are capable of the required change, and feel positive about the behaviour change.
10.Change is a way of life and we are never ready for it; choose to join the change and encourage others to do likewise and let them become a co-creator of the change as opposed to being a victim of it.”
Courtesy of The Health & Safety Authority.

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