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What a Bad Mood Can Do to Your Safety Record

Crossover spillover in the workplace

Many leaders realize that the experiences of individual employees can spread and have a way of affecting the whole workforce. This is due to spillover and crossover effects—whatever people experience throughout the day, they carry with them inside and outside of work, passing it on wherever they go. 

But relatively few organizations realize that it’s not only workers that are affected but also the company’s safety record, operations, productivity and ultimately the bottom line. Unfortunately, the subject of spillover and crossover is not often discussed inside organizations or addressed during leadership training. 

Thankfully, this subject is explained in a short webinar called “Make Safety Go Viral: The Science of Workplace Attitude.” In this webinar, the facts are presented in an easy-to-digest format, the main problems of spillover and crossover are discussed and possible solutions are provided. 

Here is an excerpt from the webinar that discusses how someone else’s behavior can affect workers’ safety attitudes: 

(I)ncivility increases counterproductive work behaviors and it might actually see people do the opposite of what they know is expected. When it comes to regular tasks, this can mean increased costs or financial losses for the company, but when it comes to safety, it can result in potential injuries or worse. 

For example, people might choose not to report a hazard, they might not follow regulations or simply ignore the rules. Not because they don’t care about safety but because it’s a way of fighting against an unsupportive, unhealthy or miserable workplace.

The research into this subject is fascinating and the impact of emotions on worker safety is clear:

(N)egative emotions compromise employees’ cognitive processes by affecting attention, causing safety aversive behaviors, narrowing focus and causing workers to miss important cues or act without considering potential consequences. On the other hand, positive emotions in the workplace are conducive to better cognitive performance, better attention and more safety-focused behaviors.

As you can imagine, this effect can spread like a virus if not understood or managed effectively across your workforce. And this is simply one aspect of many that supervisors need to keep in mind on a daily basis to offset risk and improve safety climate. It highlights the need for safety professionals to move beyond standard safety training and equip front line leaders with an in-depth understanding of both human factors and communication skills.

This is why providing employees with an engaging and positive workplace is the key to ensuring that the emotions they carry with them and pass on to their colleagues are positive ones. You can learn more about the best ways to address the problem of spillover and crossover in safety by watching the webinar here.

 

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