Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The psychology of safety and employee responsibility

Workplace safety training posters
Workplace safety posters
Overwork posters

Despite what seems like a rather pretentious title, this week's blog is not a probing insight into the minds of your employees. It is more a simple exploration of some of the psychological issues that lead to workplace accidents.

The compensation culture that has developed in Britain has made it seem that employers are more accountable than ever for accidents at work. Indeed, many of the cases I read about do involve some form of negligence on the part of the employer. But how many other accidents could have been prevented if employees had taken precautions instead of risks?

The truth, as I see it, is that no amount of compensation is worth the trauma and potential consequences of having an accident at work. Even the largest sum of money can't restore your sight, return lost mobility or replace the finger you severed.

So why do so many accidents still happen?

Inexperienced workers
Without proper training or experience a worker can never fully understand the risks involved in a job. For example, unqualified forklift drivers are one of the main causes of forklift accidents.

Many inexperienced workers are simply trying to help out. The qualified person may be busy, there may be time pressures, or the person may be unable to proceed until the task they have been unable to do is done. In these circumstances it can be easy to prioritise the workload over working safely.

Complacent workers
If someone has been doing a job for a long time they can become complacent about the risks. Working on autopilot, or without necessary caution, can leave workers vulnerable if something unexpected happens.

Overambitious workers
By this, I mean workers who have a tendency to bite off more than they can chew and, consequently, overload themselves. I mentioned workers not wanting to appear weak in my post on manual handling a few weeks ago, and this is basically the same thing.

Distracted workers
Working in a busy or noisy environment can be distracting, especially if the job is involved. Even a momentary distraction can cause a serious accident.

Oblivious workers
The opposite of a distracted worker is one who is so busy concentrating on the job in hand that they are oblivious to everything going on around them. In a busy workplace, where there are lots of things going on and lots of potential hazards to avoid, this can be disastrous.

Resourceful workers
I refer to those workers who use their initiative – but not in a good way. A quick fix might keep a machine going a little bit longer, but it could endanger the operator and everyone around it. A makeshift set-up may facilitate getting a job done, but at the expense of safety.

I should perhaps point out that these traits are not meant to define individual workers. They could apply to anyone who is tired, distracted, feeling under pressure or just too eager to help.

Kodiak's workplace poster programme is designed with these psychologies in mind and provides regular reminders to all employees of the associated dangers.

If you would like to learn more about how our posters can help your business, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

For daily tips on dealing with common workplace issues, why not follow us on Twitter
If you would like to find out how Kodiak posters 
can help your business work smoother, smarter 
and safer, please call us on: 01530 456 000 
or email us

No comments:

Post a Comment