Behavior-Based Safety Observation: What are the Varying Effects of Providing Information, Observing, and Giving Feedback on Performing Office Work Safely?
Tonander, Jess Dory Sprout
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Workplace injuries are a serious problem in the United States. They cost businesses billions of dollars a year in workman's compensation and employee absenteeism. The workers suffer from chronic disorders that are not always completely reversible. It is obvious that this problem needs addressing; the question is where will the most effective solutions come from? Many experts have stated that the answer is ergonomically designed furniture, which will help employees perform tasks in a manner that will not cause injury. However, it is possible that employees will continue to become injured due to human error? The following study explores the possibility of observation and feedback as combatants to workplace injury. The theory behind the study is that people will perform their office work safely once they have been provided with feedback explaining how they can perform more safely. Using a simulated workstation and a hidden camera, research was conducted in an attempt to prove that feedback would have a considerable, positive effect on the manner in which the subjects chose to position themselves at their workstation. The study was created with the knowledge that safety consultants recommend the practice of the behavior-based safety (BBS) process. The effectiveness of BBS safety observation was assessed by examining safe performance of participants immediately prior to, during, and immediately following observation and feedback.
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