A behaviour based health and safety model

The primary objective of this study was to develop a success factor model to establish and manage a harmonious and motivating work environment, conducive to a committed and empowered work force, sustained health, safety and conformance.  The project was aimed at enhancing pro-active safety management with regard to identifying, measuring and improving safety-related behaviours upstream - before accidents happen.
The literature study verified that the most admired companies, globally, drive key priorities such as teamwork, customer focus, fair treatment of employees, initiative and innovation into their organisations.  It is clearly proofed in all the research that the role of the human factor, and therefore human behaviour, is pivotal to companies striving to accomplish goals such as competitiveness, customer delight, high quality, growing productivity as well as a safety committed work force.  The challenge of leadership is to change the worker’s poor perception of safety to an excited, empowered, valued employee who is continuously committed to the
achievement of high levels of health, safety and conformance - the challenge therefore is to transform from within.  Any work force needs a set of behavioural rules which work for it - including safety rules which are accepted through involvement.
The empirical survey proofed that the South African mining industry has already gone a long way to maintain and improve health and safety performances, to seek best practices, to conform to safety legislation and to investigate continuous improvement interventions.  However, we also learned from the empirical results that the South African mining industry has still a long way to go to meaningfully involve the work force, ongoingly in job and safety-related matters and to respectfully accommodate work force ideas.
In an effort to produce and recommend strategic guidelines (a success factor model) in order to enhance a harmonious and motivating workplace which is conducive to a safety-committed work
force, it is verified, amongst others that:
  • acceptance is the most desirable attitude toward change, because it triggers enthusiasm and co-operation; 
  • sound business runs through valued people; 
  • the human factor is pivotal to safety and safety-related matters; 
  • successful companies world-wide increasingly use
       ⇒ a culture of openness and involvement
       ⇒ strategies of empowerment and people development, and
       ⇒ teamwork, to enhance their safety performance;
  • excellence in safety lies in the foundation of a healthy morale, positive attitudes, constructive behaviour and an involved work force;  and 
  • in behaviour-based safety, effective and efficient safety management is a process which begins with human behaviour.
Fundamental to the models presented are the imperatives of high involvement leadership, vision and shared values accepted by the entire work force and a supportive and safety- conscious culture.  Safety must form an integral part of the pride of workmanship.
The core model comprises a continuous improvement strategy with integrated organisational phases to facilitate and enhance a high involvement organisation.  The model starts from the inside out (self-discovery and transforming from within), and then through valued employees as well as focused and enthusiastic teams grows toward a visionary organisation, a safety- committed work force and the accomplishment of an incident-free workplace.
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