There is no doubt that the global pandemic has underscored the importance of safety around the world. Masks, physical distance, and washing hands have all become daily reminders of the need to practice safe behavior in order to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens.
Practicing safe behavior is not new in the professional sphere, of course. Employers world over have long had policies, procedures, and training in place to ensure safe working environments for employees, and this is especially true in industries where safety is critical, such as construction, transportation, mining, and healthcare for example.
However, research indicates that regardless of policies, procedures, and training, some people are still more likely to behave unsafely at work than others, which puts both them and their colleagues at risk. Maybe that explains why the US construction industry recorded 1061 worker fatalities in 2019 despite the fact that most (if not all) U.S. construction firms have robust safety policies, procedures, and training programs.
In order to address the root cause of poor workplace safety, then, it is essential that we understand an individuals’ attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs toward safety at work.
Criteria’s Workplace Safety Profile (WSP) is a new test within our Risk assessment category that is designed to do just that: measure individuals’ safety attitudes and beliefs to help organizations identify individuals’ propensity to work safely, avoid risk, and take responsibility for safety outcomes.
By assessing people in this way, employers can improve safety motivation and participation, as well as reduce the human and financial costs of poor safety behavior.
The Three Factors in the Workplace Safety Profile
The WSP is a scientifically-valid and short test – about 7 minutes – but its brevity belies its effectiveness. In those short minutes, the WSP assesses a person’s overall safety attitude by focusing on three key factors:
Safety control measures the extent to which an individual takes responsibility for safety at work. People with a high sense of control believe that their own behavior can influence whether accidents or injuries are caused at work. In contrast, individuals with a low sense of control tend to attribute accidents and injuries to external factors beyond their control, such as fate or luck.
Risk aversion measures an individual’s tendency to behave cautiously and avoid taking risks. Excitement-seeking individuals are drawn more to potentially risky and dangerous activities, and their inclination toward risk could signal that they may be more likely to forgo a safety procedure or process as they may get bored of it. Risk-averse individuals, on the other hand, aren’t seeking thrills, so to speak, and have a higher inclination to follow safety policies and procedures.
Stress management measures the degree to which an individual perceives they can control their stress response. Poor stress management can lead to human error, and individuals who are more capable of managing their stress are less likely to be negatively impacted by it, allowing them to maintain their focus and awareness of safety.
By evaluating these three factors, the WSP has been proven to accurately and reliably identify people who are more likely to behave safely at work by:
- Following safety procedures
- Complying with safety rules
- Taking personal responsibility for their own and others' safety
- Being alert to behavior that could compromise safety, and
- Avoiding unnecessary risks at work
If you are an employer in an industry where safe workplace behavior is critical such as healthcare, manufacturing, mining, construction, agriculture, or transportation and logistics, the WSP is an assessment you should consider as part of an overall safety program. Using WSP has already helped Criteria customers reduce compensation claims and workplace absences caused by unsafe workplace behavior, as well as helped identify ‘high risk’ employees. Check out a few of our case studies to see how the WSP helped a Mining and Construction company and a Heavy Machinery company reduce workplace incidents and save costs.
To learn more about the WSP, contact your Customer Success Manager, or reach out to a Criteria Sales Representative.
In the meantime, stay safe out there.