|Dynamic Chiropractic – November 4, 1996, Vol. 14, Issue 23|
By Paul Hooper, DC, MPH, MSFor years I have considered the psychosocial aspects of work injuries, and especially the resulting disabilities, to be extremely important. So when I saw the, The Psychology of Safety, I was naturally interested. Written by Dr. E. Scott Geller, a psychology professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the book lends a most interesting, and somewhat different approach to the topic of injury prevention.
Geller writes that the most successful approaches to occupational safety directly address the human aspects of safety. He describes, albeit somewhat optimistically, a "Total Safety Culture," in which:
Geller refers to a series of paradigm shifts for total safety. He describes the traditional methods of safety management; 1) engineering (designing the safest work place); education (teaching workers how to safely exist in their work environment); and enforcement (using discipline to enforce compliance). He states that these traditional three "E's" have only gotten us so far and, to take safety and injury prevention to the next level, three additional "E's" must be added; empowerment, ergonomics, and evaluation.
Perhaps most important is empowerment. In the past, some supervisors have interpreted "enforcement" to mean a strict disciplinary approach to enforcing safe work practices. The resulting adversarial relationship between workers and supervisors has been counterproductive and the ill will created has turned off many workers. These individuals may do what is required, but no more. Others may actually try to beat the safety systems and even sabotage the regulatory practices. Rather than enforcing safe work practices through a strict punishment approach, Geller recommends encouraging safe work practices and rewarding those for protecting themselves and others. Such a positive approach has a great deal of merit.
Geller provides 10 paradigm shifts:
In the words of Siskel and Ebert, two thumbs up to The Psychology of Safety by E. Scott Geller. I haven't done a book report since high school, but this book gave me a great deal of information. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in injury prevention and safety on-the-job. The Psychology of Safety is published by Chilton Book Company, Radnor, Pennsylvania, 1996 (ISBN 0-9019-8733-4). The approximate price is $80.00.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the forms that we use in our industrial evaluations, please send a stamped (85 cents), self-addressed manilla envelope (10 X 13) to Dr. Paul D. Hooper, Injury Prevention Technologies, 2562 Castle Rock Road, Diamond Bar, CA 91785.
I may also be contacted at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, 16200 East Amber Valley Drive, Whittier, CA 90609. If you have questions, you may reach me at (909) 598-6344 or at .
Paul Hooper, DC
Diamond Bar, California
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