It’s been quite the year for new developments in human factors in safety. The past twelve months have brought with them a number of exciting articles, reports and webinars about managing human factors in the workplace and beyond.
These human factors resources have a little bit of everything, from unveiling the surprising relationship between happiness and safety, to taking a close look at new ANSI standards through a human factors lens, and making the connection between different industries. If you’re asking yourself how you can start better managing human factors in the new year, these resources are the perfect place to start.
Happiness and Safety: A Hidden Link
Earlier this year, Rodd Wagner put together two seemingly disparate pieces of workplace culture. In doing so, he demonstrated the close relationship between worker happiness and safety outcomes.
Wagner’s research, which can be found in the report Why Happiness Is the Secret Ingredient of Worker Safety, discovers that “safety is one of the most reliable outcomes of employee engagement, which is really worker happiness in disguise. Happy employees are better at keeping themselves and their colleagues out of harm’s way for reasons both conscious and subconscious.” Wagner concludes that “six aspects serve as examples of the mechanisms that translate happiness into incidents prevented.”
The report’s discussion of those six aspects, or “pathways”, to a happier and safer workforce, make this an essential read for safety professions. (If you’d rather listen to a discussion of the concepts than read the report you can hear Wagner on the ASSP’s The Case for Safety podcast.)
Three Essential Soft Skills for Safety Pros
So much of the work that EHS professionals do is guided by a need to adhere to rules and guidelines, from OSHA regulations to industry-specific best practices. As a result, people skills can sometimes take a back seat.
In a new webinar titled Soft Skills 101: Three Essential Personal Attributes for Safety Professionals, Tim Page-Bottorff shines the spotlight on several ways that safety folks can positively influence workers. As Page-Bottorff points out, sometimes you have all the right regulations and equipment, but you still need to win over the hearts and minds of workers if you want to reach your safety goals.
This is one of the most engaging safety presentations of the year, which is fitting, given that it focuses on giving safety pros practical tips to improve workplace engagement.
Learning Lessons from Other Industries
Most industries tend to think of the problems they face as unique. But as Ray Prest shows in his article “Looking to the Sky for Training and Managing Human Factors in Transportation”, there’s a lot that the transportation industry can learn from the aviation sector.
Prest demonstrates that if you look under the hood of the two industries, the inner workings look pretty similar—fatigue is among the highest risks, there is a tremendous amount of hazardous energy at play, and dealing with human factors at an organizational level requires focusing on engagement as much as on compliance.
If you don’t work in ground transportation, the article is still well worth the read. Many of the lessons provided by the aviation industry are relatable to most workplaces, from how to combat fatigue from creeping up to the challenge of keeping lone workers safe.
Bringing Balance to Safety
Another webinar makes the list of can’t-miss safety content of the year. This one is a joint effort between safety consultants Pete Batrowny and Tim Page-Bottorff, and it’s called Lopsided SMS: 6 Ways to Balance Metrics and Improve Outcomes. It provides an in-depth rundown of how to maximize your efforts by finding ways to, for example, follow the guidance in the new ANSI/ASSP Z16.1-2022 standard while also mitigating the risk of human factors.
This insightful presentation covers the most common ways that safety management systems can become unbalanced, examines the ways that seemingly disparate demands on your SMS are interrelated, and takes a look at safety improvements that allow you to maximize your results.
But That’s Not All
These four pieces of safety content, which range from a report on happiness to a webinar on balance, are as varied as they are engaging. But they’re hardly the only standouts, as there were plenty of other articles, blog posts and more that provide practical insight for safety professionals, especially on the topic of human factors
So if you missed this interesting article on complacency and HazCom, or a write-up of the keys to managing human factors in the construction industry, or this close look at overcoming fatigue in the workplace, or—well, you get the idea. There’s a lot of reading to do on best practices for human factors in safety. And with the prospect of more engaging content on the horizon, there’s no time like the present to get started.