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41 likely to report they were behaving safely to avoid being pun- inhibit learning and constructive interaction. Geller (2002) rec- ished. This may make it difficult to identify at-risk behaviors ommends trying "positive discipline" rather than punishment. associated with the violation or crash. Also, negative conse- For example, workers observed violating an organization's quences produce unpleasant emotions and attitudes. When safety regulations may be sent home with pay to evaluate the people feel controlled they are only motivated to do what is infraction and decide what can be done to reduce the reoccur- expected, and not to go beyond the call of duty for safety rence. The employee has two options: (1) not returning to work (Geller 2001, McSween 1995). if the employee and his/her supervisor believe the work culture is not consistent with the employee's personal priorities or Aggression. Rather than escaping from negative conse- (2) return to work and develop an action plan for avoiding the quences, people may choose to attack those associated with at-risk behavior in question. Continued violations may warrant them. During the last decade, violence in the workplace has a shift toward more negative consequences such as fines, sus- become more commonplace. Physical aggression toward man- pension, or termination. agement or coworkers associated with negative consequences is only one example of aggression. Disgruntled workers may also slow down production, sabotage safety or production pro- 5.4.3 Behavior-Based Safety grams, steal supplies, or vandalize company property. Worse, Over the last 20 years, BBS has become increasingly pop- employees may take out their feelings of frustration on family ular in many organizations to combat employee injures and members (Geller 2001). their associated costs. The BBS approach is to intervene sys- tematically and directly on safety-related target behaviors. Apathy. Punishment may suppress other, non-targeted Target behaviors are defined in an observable and measurable behaviors. It may stifle communication and foster a failure- way and then observed and recorded in the work setting. oriented approach. People feel better about achieving success When a relatively stable baseline measure of the frequency, rather than avoiding failure (Geller 2001). rate, or duration of behavior is obtained, an intervention is implemented to change the behavior in beneficial directions. "Counter-control." People do not like being controlled. Interventions typically involve modifying target behavior They may not comply with discipline if they believe they will antecedents (situations prior to behavior that set the stage for not be caught performing the punished behavior. An excellent the behavior) and/or consequences (events after behavior example is provided by general driver behavior on U.S. high- that motivate behavior). Consequences may include tangi- ways. Fines and other punishments for speeding do not effec- ble (e.g., monetary) rewards, but often the emphasis is on tively deter speeding. Drivers may slow down when they see a non-monetary rewards such as recognition and praise for patrol car, but they resume speeding as soon as the police car improvement and safety goal attainment. In group settings, is out of sight. Some motorists go to great lengths to avoid the development of a safety esprit de corps among workers is being caught speeding by investing in radar detectors and radar an important motivational method. To determine intervention jammers. When people feel controlled, they look for ways to effectiveness, the incidence of target behaviors is recorded beat the system. during and/or after the intervention and compared with base- A non-transportation study by Zohar, Cohen and Azar line measures of behavior (e.g., Daniels and Rosen 1988, (1980) provides some support for the use of positive conse- Geller 2001, Geller and Williams 2001). quences over negative consequences. Zohar, Cohen, and Azar One of the primary tools used to influence behavior in (1980) used a positive feedback intervention to significantly BBS is peer observation and feedback (Geller 2001, Geller increase ear plug use at a metal fabrication plant. During the and Williams 2001). Coworkers systematically observe fel- intervention, management decided to also punish workers who low workers and record the occurrence of safe and at-risk were observed not wearing their earplugs. Workers caught not work behaviors on a checklist. The results can be based on wearing ear plugs were required to leave their work stations for individual or group performance. The feedback can be given several hours with a resultant loss of pay. The enforcement pro- publicly or privately, and it is often combined with education gram was in effect for three months but failed to produce any or training (Zohar, Cohen, and Azar 1980). changes in ear plug use. In fact, workers actually wore their ear BBS approaches have a number of advantages, including plugs less while the enforcement program was imposed (less (a) they can be administered by individuals with minimal pro- than 10%) compared with ear plug use during the baseline fessional training, (b) they can reach people in the setting phase (20%). During the same time, workers receiving positive where the problem occurs (i.e., the work site), and (c) worker- feedback for ear plug use continued to wear their ear plugs leaders can be taught the behavior-change techniques most nearly 90% of the time compared with a 35% baseline. likely to work under specific circumstances (Baer, Wolf, and This is not to say that punishment should never be used. Peo- Risley 1987; Daniels and Rosen 1988; Geller 2001). ple who routinely violate safety rules and endanger themselves BBS programs have been used successfully to increase and others should understand that they are required to comply safety-related work behaviors in a variety of organizational with safety regulations. However, negative consequences may settings, including pizza delivery (Ludwig and Geller 1991,
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42 1997), paper mills (Fellner and Sulzer-Azaroff 1984), mines Some people are likely to benefit from the most simple and (Fox 1987), pipeline operations (McSween 1995), and manu- least expensive interventions, while others (such as high-risk facturing (Reber and Wallin 1984). Guastello's (1993) review drivers) may require more intrusive interventions to influence of occupational safety and health studies found that BBS had behavior change. Geller (1998, 2001) developed the multiple the highest average reduction of injury rate (59.6%) compared intervention level (MIL) hierarchy to summarize the impact, with other safety approaches, including personnel selection, intrusiveness, and cost of various interventions. Figure 16 dis- technological interventions, group problem solving, govern- plays the MIL hierarchy. Interventions at Level 1, such as ment action, stress reductions, near-miss reporting, poster cam- posters, signs, and other safety messages or slogans, are the paigns, and quality circles. Sulzer-Azaroff and Austin (2000) least expensive and intrusive. People not influenced by Level 1 reported that 32 of the 33 published articles they reviewed on interventions "fall through the cracks." These people require BBS studies showed reductions in work-related injuries. more intrusive and expensive interventions, such as peer-to- Beyond the traumatic personal consequences of occupa- peer coaching or an incentive/reward program. The height of tional injuries and fatalities, there are also critical social and each intervention box indicates the financial cost to implement economic consequences to consider. Behavioral Science Tech- the intervention. The length of each box represents the prob- nology, Inc. (BST), studied workers' compensation rates at ability that a person will be affected by the intervention (i.e., 11 sites following the introduction of a BBS intervention and result in behavior change). The width of each intervention reported a 39% reduction (compared with a 4-year baseline) in level (marked A, B, C) indicates repeated applications of the compensation claims in year 1, 46% reduction in year 2, and a same intervention. In this model, high-risk drivers will "fall 70% reduction in year 3 (BST 1998). Similarly, Hantula et al. through the cracks" until a more aggressive and comprehen- (2001) showed reductions in workers' compensation claims at sive intervention influences their behavior. two manufacturing organizations after the introduction of a In spite of its obvious emphasis on behavior, BBS does not BBS intervention and substantial cost reductions (one organi- necessarily assume a one-dimensional view towards safety. zation had a 10.53:1 return on its investment). Interventions aimed solely at reducing at-risk safety-related BBS views individual employee differences in safety in work behaviors without acknowledging the system in which terms of the interventions required to change that behavior. they occur may have limited long-term success (Geller 2001, Figure 16. Multiple intervention level (MIL) hierarchy (Geller 1998).