Safety Culture Excellence®

Safety Culture Excellence® header image 1

185 - On Behaviors: Causation, or Prevention?

June 13th, 2011

In 1990 there were certain beliefs and practices that were viewed as state of the art and acceptable. I’m sure in 2030 we will look back at 2011 and challenge much of what is said today on the topic of behavioral approaches. Here in lies the criticality of never accepting a one-size-fits-all methodology to injury prevention and remaining continuously searching for a better approach. No one has the silver bullet, yet we all together can contribute to making this a safer world by striving for a better way to accomplish our goals through dialogue such as this.

My research and experience with hundreds of global projects in every major industry leads me to believe that the vast majority of incidents (injury, process, equipment damage, etc.) have a conditional, behavioral, organizational, and cultural contributing factor. Now the question is, contributing factor to prevention, or causation? The latter leads people to feel a greater sense of blame than the former. Blame isn’t beneficial for anyone other than those placing it. Moreover, it doesn't facilitate ownership in prevention.

It is my belief that behaviors can indeed prevent and cause an event to occur, they can also be the reason an event was avoided. We must look beyond the behavior and remind ourselves people do things for a reason. If we only address the behavior, without addressing the reason, the sustainability of our intervention strategies will be limited at best. Certainly focusing on behaviors in a vacuum might produce faster results, but is it fast or lasting improvement we want? A little of both would be ideal indeed. I prefer sustainable value-add.

What are your thoughts?

I hope you enjoy the podcast this week. If you would like to download or play on demand our other podcasts, please visit ProAct Safety’s podcast website at:

Have a great week!

Shawn M. Galloway

ProAct Safety, Inc.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App