Human behavior as it relates to safety - Essay Example

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While machinerys operation is usually clear and permanent, human behavior can be difficult to predict. There are four theories, which…
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Human behavior as it relates to safety
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Human behavior as it relates to safety Safety of a worker at his working place depends not only on the type of machinery he uses, but his attitude towards the equipment and behavior. While machinerys operation is usually clear and permanent, human behavior can be difficult to predict. There are four theories, which are used for description and explanation of how human behavior relates to safety.
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs indicates, that a worker will care about his safety after he satisfies all his basic and priority needs (Mroszczyk 2012). Depending on the type of industry and personal needs and believes of a person, safety can be on different stages for different workers.
Theory X proves, that most workers do not like work and try to avoid it, so the best incentives for these workers are either forcing them to do something (using total control or methods of punishment), or provide them with additional rewards (financial or tangible). Thus, a worker will keep to safety rules if he receives a reward for this, or if he is punished for not doing this.
On the contrary, theory Y states, that a worker is eager to take responsibility, and he can get satisfaction from his work. The main incentives for him are self-affirmation together with tangible and intangible rewards, and even enforcement (in some cases) (Mroszczyk 2012). Thus, a worker usually keeps to the safety rules, if he is satisfied with his job, or if the companys management motivates him to do so.
Theory Z differs from the previous theories, as it suggests a brand new approach to treating and motivating workers. This theory suggests to put emphasis on care about every worker as a person, attract them to group decision making and organize constant feedback between workers and managers. Thus, a worker himself is attracted to make decisions on his safety and is encouraged to do so for the sake of himself and his personality. Psychologists proved, that increasing attention to a worker, holding a constant dialogue between him and his leaders, encouraging him think differently are better methods to increase safety at a working place, than to use incentives or enforcement (Geller 2001, Hofmann and Morgeson 1999). Thus, theory Z is the best for predicting a workers behavior towards safety.
Geller, E. S. (2001). Behavior-based safety in industry: Realizing the large-scale potential of psychology to promote human welfare. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 10, 87-105.
Hofmann, D. A., Morgeson, F. P. (1999). Safety-related behavior as a social exchange: The role of perceived organizational support and leader–member exchange. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(2), 286-296.
Mroszczyk, J.W. (2012). Safety Engineering (4th ed.). Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers. Read More
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