Building Safety Commitment

CIM Montreal 2015
Daniel J. Moran (Quality Safety Edge)
The word “commitment” is used very frequently in modern safety trainings and initiatives. In journal articles and workshops, safety professionals often say that a particular practice or piece of equipment will improve safety outcomes as long as the workers are committed to using it. Unfortunately, the journal articles and trainers do not typically offer skills-based instruction on how to stay committed to behaving safely on the job, and this vagueness is a major hole in modern-day safety training. This multi-media presentation will begin to fill-in that gap, with the aim of strengthening each attendee’s ability to keep safety commitments.

Evidence-based applied behavioral science offers proven methods for helping people maintain their commitment to acting safely. In the book Building Safety Commitment, commitment is defined1 as “acting in the direction of what is most important to you even in the presence of obstacles.” Lots of people say that they are committed to safety outcomes, but the real question is whether workers continue to act safely and demonstrate safety behaviors in the face of difficulties, such as distractions, boredom, or stress.

During Building Safety Commitment workshops, Dr. Daniel Moran has shown workers at companies around the world how to deal with workday obstacles, strengthen their resolve, and intensify safety commitments. The purpose is of this training is to help people not just comply with safely rules, but commit to safe actions. Dr. Moran guides audiences through a series of behavioral interventions designed to strengthen the three core components linked to following through on a commitment: performance design, values clarification, and situational awareness.

1. Performance design helps you drill down to the critical objectives of your workplace actions and link them to a self-management system that increases the likelihood of you executing these goal-driven actions. During this workshop, audience members learn the critical components to being more personally accountable for safety targets, and through a series of exercises, identify those linchpin actions that can escalate your dedication to safety.

2. Values clarification is an intensely personal experience during the workshop where audience members learn to clarify their own major motivations for being dedicated to safety. During this workshop, audience members will sharpen their own personal understanding of their reasons for acting safely. When you have clarified what is vital and important to you as a worker (your core values), you are in a better position to channel your efforts toward those values, rather than get sidetracked by personal obstacles.

3. Situational awareness is the ability to maintain focus in a dynamic task environment. Workers are familiar with how easy it is to lose focus when juggling many tasks at once, and scientists tell us that 47% of our thoughts are about something other than what we are doing in the current moment. A central component to commitment training is increasing the skill of mindfulness. Everyone has a certain capacity for paying attention, but you can improve your abilities by learning how to be mindful of what you are doing, how to refocus when off-track, and how to deal with distracting thoughts and emotions. During this event, audience members will practice the most effective the situational awareness exercises used by people who have achieved the pinnacle of success in their fields. The workshop will also include plans for continued improvement in situational awareness skills.

Increasing commitment through the improvement of performance design, values-clarification, and situational awareness has been proven to lead to remarkable increases in job competence2 while also reducing work errors3. Workshops designed with commitment building principles have also been shown increased a leader’s impact on productivity4, and influence innovation skills in workgroups5.

Dr. Moran has integrated these empirically-supported techniques and principles5 into an experiential workshop that improves safety through stronger committed actions. This workshop has changed the behavior of many workers in a wide-array of industrial sectors such as oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, paper and pulp, and construction. Accelerating committed actions toward safety, while reducing the personal obstacles to safety behavior, are vital elements to any workplace initiative.

1 – Moran, D. J. (2013). Building safety commitment. IL: Valued Living Books.
2 - Bond, F.W. & Flaxman, P.E. (2006). The ability of psychological flexibility and job control to predict learning, job performance, and mental health. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 26 (1), 113-130.
3 - Bond, F.W. & Bunce, D. (2003). The role of acceptance and job control in mental health, job satisfaction, and work performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88 (6), 1057-1067.
4 - Bond. F.W. (2011). Using ACT to p
Keywords: commitment, behavior, safety
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