SAFETY PERSPECTIVES

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.


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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:


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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...


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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.


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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.


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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.


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What Is the Johari Window and How Can It Help Improve Your Personal Safety?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

When a friend or a co-worker tells you that you act a certain way, how often do you agree with them? How well do you know your behavior relative to how other people see you? If you are like most people, there are lots of things people can say about you that you admit are true.

But let’s face it - some of us have better self-awareness than others. I bet that right now, you can easily think of someone you know who has no clue that they act a certain way (e.g., forgetful, picky, loud) even though everybody else around them seems to know it. We often refer to these as “blind spots”. These are the things about ourselves that others can see, but we do not.


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2 Major Reasons Why Your Company Isn't Improving Its Safety Performance

Posted by  David Juristy

Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” So, why is it that so many companies conduct the same safety training year after year, yet see very little difference when it comes to improving their safety performance? I know that’s not always the case. However, when you consider the amount of time, money, and effort spent on reducing incidents and injury rates, one would expect to see better results.

There are two main reasons we fail to see the type of improvement we desire:


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What Can the Cleveland Browns' Failures Teach You about Safety Leadership?

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Playing quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is a dangerous occupation. I fear for their personal safety, and I don’t think Browns leadership is providing a safe environment at all for the most important position on the field.

This recent blog presented some interesting data showing that they also allow more sacks per game (over 2.5 per game, on average) and had allowed the fifth most sacks of any team in the league, as of Week 6 of this season. While a few other teams this season have allowed more sacks on their quarterback, interestingly, those quarterbacks seem to stay healthy, whereas Browns quarterbacks have been injured much more frequently. On average, they are injured or are leaving the field once every 9 hits this season. And this trend spans well beyond this season. In fact, the Browns have the unfortunate distinction of being the only NFL team (by far) to have four straight seasons where they start three or more quarterbacks in a season.


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How Valuable Is Your Behavior-Based Safety Process? What One Company Found Out

Posted by  Esteban Tristan, Ph.D.

Question - if you had to rank the importance of Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) relative to other parts of your safety management system, where would you rank it?

More importantly – where would your company’s employees rank BBS in terms of added value? This is exactly what a global manufacturing company with over 11,000 employees and over $10 billion in annual revenue is doing, and the answers that it got from its leaders were very interesting.

This organization just finished polling over 160 supervisors, managers and EHS professionals across all of their North American operations (over 10 sites) as part of a comprehensive safety leadership training effort. They have had BBS in place across these facilities for nearly 20 years, and have invested extensive money, time and resources into its BBS systems. Clearly, somebody has seen value in it.


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