How the "Overconfidence Effect" Affects Employee Safety

Posted by  Brian Dishman

This is Part 5 of our series on how cognitive biases affect workplace safety. Click here to read Part 1, click here for Part 2, here is Part 3, and click here for Part 4.

“Don’t worry I got this” is a dangerous phrase. The overconfidence effect is a cognitive bias that frequently leads to recordable incidents and a lot of near misses. The overconfidence effect has been studied extensively within the context of decision making and risk taking.

A well-known study asked drivers to compare the safety of their driving to the other drivers participating in the study. 88% indicated that they were safer than the average driver. 60% said that they think they are one of the top 20% in terms of driving safely. Clearly there is a disconnect between perceived ability and reality. This is the overconfidence effect and it can be deadly.


What Are the Traits of Proactive and Reactive Safety Leaders?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

If your workplace has ever experienced a serious injury, then you may be familiar with the following types of questions:

  • How could this happen?

  • Why weren’t we aware of that situation?

  • Why wasn’t that fixed a long time ago?

  • What was the employee thinking?

  • Why didn’t anyone say anything?

The list could go on and on. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to be a “Monday morning quarterback,” second guessing decisions and actions after the fact. We hear a lot these days about needing to be more proactive when it comes to safety, but it’s often easier said than done. Why? Because people are busy, plans change, and there are always new potential risks that can emerge in our workplace. This is just the reality of the modern-day work environment, and these days, leaders are being asked to do more and more, with safety becoming an increasingly large part of that.


The 80/20 Rule in Safety – a Few People, a Lot of Incidents

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

You’ve probably heard of the "80/20 Rule" many times before, or at the very least, you’re familiar with the concept. The 80/20 Rule refers to Pareto’s Principle, or Pareto’s Law. This is basically the observation that about 80% of outcomes or results are attributable to about 20% of inputs or activities.

It's named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who developed a theory and formula which described that that twenty percent of the people in Italy owned eighty percent of the wealth. Following this, Dr. Joseph M. Juran attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto in the 1940’s and called it Pareto's Principle. It has since been applied to many fields of study, including economics, business, science, and sports.

Perhaps you have experienced this in different areas of your work or personal life, where a few things, or people, lead to the majority of outcomes (whether positive or negative). For example, have you ever felt like:


Our 6 Most Popular Workplace Safety Blog Posts of 2016

Posted by  Mark Rogers

It’s been a busy year for Select International’s safety team. We’ve spent the year helping companies hire safer employees, identify their employees’ SafetyDNA, and of course writing tons of blogs posts. Altogether, we’ve published 49 blog posts this year. This one is number 50.

The part about blog writing that I love is that some blog posts catch fire and get thousands of views. That’s always a good thing. We make it our goal for this blog to never sell our products. We just want to educate, inform, and sometimes entertain our readers. We definitely accomplished that this year.

With that, here are our 6 most popular workplace safety blog posts of 2016. Starting with number 6...


12 Days of Christmas Safety [Infographic]

Posted by  Mark Rogers

Usually, we focus on workplace safety in this blog, but with Christmas coming up, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone about the safety hazards that can occur at home. Many people are off of work and spending more time with family over the next few weeks. That extra time at home can lead to different hazards that you might not have thought of. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Make sure your outdoor lights are actually meant for outdoor use.

  • Have you checked all of your smoke alarms in your house?

  • Don't overload electrical circuits or extension cords.

The infographic below comes from Creative Safety Supply, and is a great reminder of how to keep yourself and your family safe while at home for the holidays.


4 Ways Your SafetyDNA Impacts Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIFs) Risk

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Serious injuries and fatalities, commonly referred to as SIFs, are the types of incidents that can cause the most harm. SIF incidents commonly lead to life-altering injuries, loss of life, and catastrophic events with multiple deaths. It’s no wonder that safety professionals and researchers have been increasing their focus on how to identify events that lead to SIFs, and how to prevent these events from occurring.

Research over the past decade has looked at various types of precursors, and systematic processes that can help prevent SIFs proactively. Experts typically recommend identifying SIF precursors, heightened education of SIFs, using root cause analysis and implementing various controls. However, research on SIFs is still an emerging field, and there is still much we do not know about the exact types of factors or events that contribute to these events.


What Can President-Elect Donald Trump Teach Us About Safety?

Posted by  David Juristy

After reading the title of this blog entry I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “I can’t wait to read this one” (insert sarcastic look here). However, you’re going to need to stick with me on this one, because the answer to my initial question is…a lot. So let me explain exactly how.

Let’s start at the beginning of the industrial revolution and take a look at safety over time. Going back to the early 1900’s if we take a look at the number of fatalities and serious injuries we can see a dramatic drop over time. The question is why? There are several reasons that have facilitated the change, let’s look at a few.


How the Theory of Risk Compensation Affects Your Personal Safety

Posted by  Brian Dishman

Prior to 1967 Swedes drove on the left-hand side of the road. Högertrafikomläggningen is the day that Sweden switched all traffic to the right-hand side of the road. Picture that scenario. Imagine driving in the opposite direction on familiar streets, looking over a different shoulder while changing lanes, or reflexively reaching for the shifter with the wrong hand. You'd be trying to overcome years of muscle memory and habits.

Now imagine all of your fellow motorists suddenly experiencing this together on the road. Scary? You might think it was a rough time for Swedish car insurance representatives.

You’d be wrong.


Do These Safety Cringe Factors Keep You Up at Night?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

A few weeks ago I was training some leaders at a manufacturing site when one of the safety managers said something interesting. She stated, “What worries me the most is the safety ‘cringe factors’ we have in the plant.” When I asked her to elaborate more on this she explained that, in her opinion, safety cringe factors are, “All of the existing hazards or risks that keep you up at night – you know they are out there, but they’re not always easy to see or eliminate.”

She brought up a good point – there will always be some safety issues that are hard to pinpoint or hard to resolve, but at any given point they could lead to someone getting hurt. As a safety professional, what are the cringe factors that keep you up at night the most? What are the risks, hazards, or potential situations out there on the floor, or in the field, that can easily go “under the radar” and then catch people by surprise?


How Safe Would You Be In The Zombie Apocalypse?

Posted by  David Juristy

Today, we're diving into Part 4 of our series about SafetyDNA profiles. Click here to read Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3.

Who doesn’t like The Walking Dead?  Zombies, end of days, action, adventure - The Walking Dead has it all; and If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead you probably have a favorite character.  Like most loyal fans you probably fall into one of two camps, Rick or Daryl.  When season 7 premiered (Spoiler Alerts!) in mid-October people were concerned that Daryl might be at the business end of Negan’s bat Lucille, but after the first 30 minutes of the premiere those folks could breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Daryl lives to fight another day. 

What is it that makes Daryl so loved by fans?  For me it’s his unpredictability, you never quite know what Daryl is going to do, he is a true Adventurer and so far things have worked out for him…at least for the most part.

When applying the S.A.F.E. model to Daryl it’s easy to see he fits the Adventurer profile.  Let's take a look at each factor and you’ll see why.


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