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Safety Communication

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Forward thinking leaders are continually searching for ways to advance safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs). Several years ago, I published a book with Government Institutes entitled, “Keeping People Safe: The Human Dynamics of Injury Prevention.” The book was designed to be a user-friendly guide for leaders to improve safety culture and performance. Here are key takeaways from the book that may help your safety improvement efforts. Each of the five sections in Figure 1 are detailed in this 5-part Blog Series following with Systems. Safety Systems One of the challenges with safety change efforts is

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD Employees are engaged when they feel energized, dedicated to their job, and absorbed in their work (1). Engaged employees give companies a competitive advantage because they are willing to go the extra mile. Engagement researchers have found that employee engagement is associated with less burnout and absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, less turnover, stronger organizational commitment, better job performance, and an improved service climate (2). In addition to the organizational benefits, engaged employees experience health benefits such as lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher levels of perceived physical health, and quicker recovery time from work (3). Clearly, it

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By Madison Hanscom, PhD An engaged workforce has strong, positive effects on safety. Engaged employees are more willing to go the extra mile and take pride in their work, so it should be a goal for leaders to create an environment for engagement in order to promote a safer workplace. Consider the following when developing your plan to promote employee engagement in a safety context: Help employees see the value in their work. When you help employees to see how their work connects to the bigger picture, this creates meaning. It is important to show workers how their role and safety connect to

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Self-monitoring is a key factor affecting the human dynamics of occupational safety. It’s defined as one’s motivation and ability to interpret social cues from the environment and respond to those cues in a socially desirable way. Low self-monitors act similarly regardless of the occasion; high self-monitors alter their behavior effectively to fit the particular situation (Snyder, 1974). This has also been referred to as the “if-then behavioral signature” (Geller, 2008). In research tests, high self-monitors better understand subtle undercurrents in human interactions (Mill, 1984) and perform better on novel tasks (Haverkamp, 1999). They also become emergent leaders in

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Effective safety leaders have self-motivation styles that help them accomplish organizational goals. Four self-motivation styles (Steers & Porter, 1991) are relevant for understanding the self-motivation of safety leaders. • Need for Affiliation (nAFF) - Leaders high in nAFF are motivated by group cohesion and healthy interpersonal relationships. They often attend to the emotional needs of others and have a strong desire to be liked by individuals in their group.• Need for Achievement (nACH) - People with a high nACH take responsibility for solving problems, are often competitive, and are extremely concerned with successfully completing their tasks.• Need to

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Creating and sustaining a “learning culture” is critical for optimal safety culture and performance. Unfortunately, this can be challenging with organizations that have a history of “old school” cultures. In other cases, new leaders may legitimately need to establish a baseline of accountability to clean up messes created by overly lenient past practices. Overly lenient cultures often result in “looking the other way” and increased risk-taking behavior. However, emphasizing only compliance and regulation leads to safety performance plateaus. Promoting an open “learning culture” and infusing more positive recognition is needed to advance safety culture beyond current levels and

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