The RAD Group Announces New Training to Enable Employees to Intervene in Unsafe Acts

Industrial accidents occur due to breakdowns in procedural, operational, or human systems. The RAD Group has developed a Safety Intervention training, SafetyCompass, which provides the skills to stop unsafe acts and repair the systemic breakdowns.
May 10, 2011 - PRLog -- In the wake of every industrial accident, government agencies, insurance carriers, and the companies themselves swoop in to make regulatory and procedural changes or even levy fines. The rationale behind this is that the systems in place are inadequate, or that the people simply refuse to follow through with the systems as they are and that fines will “motivate” compliance in the future. On the surface, this seems rational but given research into what psychologist refer to as "human factors" this is not only misguided but probably unnecessary in most cases.

Over the course of 2010 The RAD Group conducted a large-scale cross-industry study to evaluate both the frequency and effectiveness of safety interventions. The study included over 3000 industrial employees from 10 different countries.  While the results were far-reaching and substantial, one of the most compelling aspects showed that employees intervene in only 40% of the unsafe acts that they see. This means that 60% of the time the intervention does not take place, allowing the risk to continue, potentially resulting in an incident or injury.  The data also demonstrated that employees don’t speak up when they see an unsafe act, primarily because they don’t know how or don’t feel confident that they can be successful.  One of the primary concerns that they had was that the other person would become defensive or angry during the intervention.  The study also demonstrated that most participants interpreted the unsafe actions of others’ as due to motivational reasons, but that when they themselves acted unsafely it was due to non-motivational reasons such as lack of awareness of the danger.  Interestingly, research shows that people act unsafely as a rational response to their interpretation of the contextual factors (people, surroundings, systems) within their environment.  People don’t want to get hurt or create an incident for the most part.  Understanding these contextual factors and the individuals response to them will lead to an understanding of both the reason behind the unsafe action and the contextual factors themselves.  Understanding the former will allow for both immediate and sustained behavior change and understanding the later will allow for targeted systemic change to create an environment that is more conducive to safe action.  

In light of these findings, The RAD Group has developed and released their new “SafetyCompassTM” training.  The skills taught in the SafetyCompassTM training are based on 30+ years of experience coupled with an understanding of behavioral and human factors research.  The training is fast-paced, engaging and skills focused.  The training is designed to produce an increase in both the frequency and effectiveness of safety interventions that lead to both immediate and sustained behavior change while helping to create an organizational safety culture based on the expectation of peer-to-peer assistance in keeping everyone safe.  It also helps create an organizational atmosphere where intervention is an expected consequence of unsafe actions no matter who the unsafe actor is, e.g., front-line employee, supervisor, manager, outside contractor, or customer.  Everyone has the responsibility and now the skill to help point to the safe way of performing, thus the name SafetyCompassTM.

Government regulators have the very best intentions when they institute new rules and mandatory procedures. They are simply using the tools at their disposal to try to affect change. Unfortunately, human behaviors and systemic gaps are not changed simply by creating new regulations. These changes will ultimately be made in organizations that stop saying, "You have a right to stop a job if safety is at risk" and start saying, "You have a responsibility to stop every job if safety is at risk" and then give everyone the skills to actually follow through with that new responsibility.

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The RAD Group has helped hundreds of organizations, across a variety of industries, to improve safety, quality, productivity and a range of other performance issues. Our 30+ years of experience combined with integration of leading behavioral and human factors research, including our own has led to the development of cutting edge training that is impacting performance at all organizational levels.

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