Comment on the article

Submitted by Jane Hopkinson on 7 November 2018 - 12:55 pm

This was an interesting article highlighting the benefits of applying psychological principles to changing risk taking behaviour in the workplace. However, this is not a new approach and the Health and Safety Executive’s Science Division (HSE SD) has been employing this approach widely across industries in our research, consultancy and training offerings, both within the UK and internationally, since 2012.

Psychologists at HSE SD’s laboratory developed the ‘Make it Happen Model’, a standardised, evidence-based approach to behaviour change in health and safety. The model is grounded upon Michie’s COM-B model (illustrated in the October article) and was modified to take account of specific issues and nuances relevant to occupational health and safety. It was designed to ensure coverage of essential behaviour change ingredients during intervention design and accommodate the wide diversity of industry/ organisational contexts within which the main sources of health and safety risk taking behaviour occur. Solutions are also presented to support interventions tailored to local circumstances.

Grounded in evidence, it combines the precision of purely behavioural led approaches with the scope of cultural led approaches to tackle root causes in a way that is tailored to an organisation’s safety cultural maturity. Separating automatic from reflective processing allows scope for strategies to address both violations and human error as per Reason’s (1990) Taxonomy of Human Failure. This means that it avoids the traditional behaviour-based safety (BBS) connotations of blaming the individual.

Applying this model allows HSE SD to provide industry practitioners, behavioural scientists and policy makers a common platform against which to systematically advance learning on how behaviour change in health and safety can be deployed to best effect.

For more information on our approach please contact me via email at jane.hopkinson@hse.gov.uk