SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION:
Most organizations, especially manufacturing
firms and others in which dangerous equipment it used,
are very concerned about safety. However, since accidents
occur at such a relatively low frequency, most studies
have focused on reducing identifiable safety hazards
or increasing safe behaviours (for example, wearing
earplugs which went from 35 to 95 percent compliance
according to one study; wearing hard hats; and keeping
the safety guard in place on dangerous equipment).
A review of the research indicates the considerable
success that behavioural management techniques have
had in these areas. Some actual company examples are
Boston Gas, where employees without accidents are
eligible for lottery drawings; Virginia Power, where
employees can win from $50 to $1000 for safe work
habits; Southern New England Telecommunications, which
give gift coupons to employees without accidents;
and Turner Corporation, a New York based engineering
and construction firm, where employees can earn company
stock if they meet safety goals. All these companies
report improved accident rates through the use of
a behavioral management approach.
Behavioural management applies the
principle of behaviouristic learning theory, especially
operant conditioning and reinforcement. The environmental
contingency of employee behaviour, antecedents, and
particularly, consequences, and their impact on performance
effectiveness is the focus of attention.
STEP - 1 : IDENTIFICATION
OF PERFORMANCE BEHAVIOURS:
In this first step the critical behaviour
that make a significant impact on performance (making
or selling widgets or providing a service to clients
or customers) are identified. In every organization,
regardless of type or level, numerous behaviours are
occurring all the time. Some of these behaviours have
a significant impact on performance, and some do not.
The goal of the first step of O.B. Mod. is to identify
the critical behaviours - the 5 to 10 percent of the
behaviours that may account for up to 70 or 80 percent
of the performance in the area in question.
STEP - 2 : MEASUREMENT OF
After the performance behaviours have
been identified in step-1, they are measured. A baseline
measure is obtained by determining (either by observing
and counting or by extracting from existing records)
the number of times that the identified behaviour
is occurring under present conditions. Often this
baseline frequency is in and of itself very revealing.
Sometimes it is discovered that the behaviour identified
in step-1 is occurring much less or much more frequently
than anticipated. The baseline measure may indicate
that the problem is much smaller or much bigger than
was thought to be the case.
STEP - 3 : FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS
OF THE BEHAVIOUR:
Once the performance behaviour has
been identified and a baseline measure has been obtained,
a functional analysis is performed. A funtional analysis
identifies both the antecedents (A) and consequences
(C) of the target behaviour (B), or simply stated,
an A-B-C analysis is performed.
STEP - 4 : DEVELOPMENT OF
AN INTERVENTION STRATEGY:
The first three steps in an O.B. Mod.
approach are preliminary to the action step, the intervention.
The goal of the intervention is to strengthen and
accelarate functional performance behaviours and/or
weaken and decelerate dysfunctional behaviours. There
are several strategies that can be used, but the main
ones are positive reinforcement and punishment - positive
A Positive Reinforcement Strategy:
Positive, not negative, reinforcement is recommended
as an effective intervention strategy for O.B. Mod.
The reason is that positive reinforcement represents
a form of positive control of behaviour, while negative
reinforcement represents a form of negative control
A Punishment - Positive Reinforcement
Strategy: There is little debate that a positive reinforcement
strategy is the most effective intervention for O.B.
Mod. Yet realistically it is recognized that in some
cases the use of punishment to weaken and decelerate
undesirable behaviours cannot be avoided. This would
be true in the case of something like unsafe behaviours
that need to be immediately decreased.
STEP - 5 : EVALUATION TO ENSURE
A glaring weakness of most human resource
management programs is the absence of any systematic,
built-in evaluation. A comprehensive analysis of the
evaluation of human resources programs concluded that
the typical approach is “to review a program
with one or two vice presidents at the corporate office,
various managers in the field, and perhaps a group
of prospective trainees. It continues to be used until
someone in a position of authority decides that the
program has outlived its usefulness. All of this is
done on the basis of opinion and judgement”.
Organizational Behaviour by Fred Luthans
Industrial Safety & Health Management by C. Ray
to SAFETY is commitment