A terrific article by Alan Langstone on LinkedIn Pulse – Alan has just started on the unlearning/learning journey but making great progress
Just distract you!
Traditional safety has been about rules, discipline and pyramids of power(the high up the ladder the more you know) and pyramids of data (Heinrich).
The new, (well it’s not really new, safety has always been about behavior) Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is about pretty much the same with added personal responsibility, risk, expectations and a two way flow of communication.
Is SAFETY 3.0 going to be Psychological Safety, taking Behavior Based Safety to next level.
We know that psychology has be used in advertising for a long while but the use of psychological principles and theories are also commonly used to overcome problems in real life situations. mental health, organizational psychology, business management, education, industrial and organizational psychology, legal psychology, neuropsychology, occupational health psychology, human factors, forensic psychology, engineering psychology, school psychology, sports psychology, traffic psychology, community psychology, product design, ergonomics, and law are just of the areas that have been influenced by the application of psychological principles and findings.
The one that is interesting in the realms of safety is Social Psychology. “Social psychology is a science that studies the influences of our situations, with special attention to how we view and affect one another. More precisely, it is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.
Social psychology lies at psychology’s boundary with sociology. Compared with sociology (the study of people in groups and societies), social psychology focuses more on individuals and does more experimentation. Compared with personality psychology, social psychology focuses less on individuals’ differences and more on how individuals, in general, view and affect one another.” – Myers, D. G. (2012). Social psychology (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
In an ever increasing diverse and complex workplace, is social psychology going to be the trump card? In a recent paper by Hayden Collins (au.linkedin.com/pub/hayden-collins/50/912/2b), submitted as part of his study for the Graduate Certificate in the Psychology of Risk, Hayden states that,
“Experiments show that consciousness’ capacity is smaller than that of unconsciousness. Unconsciousness processes 11 million bits of information per second. In contrast, consciousness processes 40 bits per second. Consciousness is limited to the amount of information it can process, meaning actions are determined by information of which we have not been consciously aware. The decision is made before we can consciously rationalise it. Without unconscious processing, swift decision making would be difficult. If consciousness initiated action, it would take approximately 4 years to process information that unconsciousness could process in 10 minutes.“
The full article can be read here – https://safetyrisk.net/how-is-the-unconscious-in-communication-critical-for-understanding-and-managing-risk/
If this is showing that our unconscious mind is making automatic decisions governing us in the workplace without our knowledge then it is entirely possible that after an incident when you ask “what were they thinking?”, that they most likely, weren’t thinking at all. Well, not consciously thinking that is.
It is to early in my knowledge of the subject to make a determination but it would seem to challenge many of the traditional safety rules and thinking at their sources and for that reason it will be hard for the majority of safety professionals to accept, even if they are believers in the Behavior Based Safety. Social Psychology certainly has some interesting thoughts on how and why our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect our behavior and therefore the behaviors of others as much as how our social situation influences our lives and thoughts. It is a subject that I personally intend to study a little more deeply if it has any potential to keep employees from harm.
Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below