Human Factor: A Crucial Aspect of Occupational Safety

Workplace safety is a vast issue that encompasses several aspects. Elements that can be potential risk generators range from equipment to processes, working environment, waste disposal, and more. One of the most important and complex elements is the human factor.

Fortunately, today’s leadership is quite open-minded and puts a lot of thought into mitigating human risks. From implementing a comprehensive risk management solution from WHS Monitor to developing a safety culture, they take every step to make the workspace hazard-free.

Human behavior has always been the most complicated thing to decode. It goes way beyond understanding the behavior of your people, especially in modern workspaces. The study involves several aspects that include behavior and other interrelated elements. Such studies allow initiating measurable actions through procedural and cultural change to improve safety.

  • Understanding the human factor

Often a human factor in occupational risk is misjudged as the inappropriate behavior of employees. However, the reality is much more complicated and is also identified by the world health organization as it defines the human factor.

The organization identifies it as a combination of individual characteristics along with environmental, organizational, and job factors that influence the behavior of an individual. Such behavior is believed to impact the health and safety of people at work.

You can also understand these factors as several isolated components such as:

  • Workload and pattern
  • Workplace design and overall environment
  • Workplace communication and culture
  • Resources available at workplace and attitude of the leadership
  • Procedures and policies
  • Employees competence, attitude, and risk tolerance
  • Impact of human factor on safety

It is crucial for the leadership that every individual working at their organization is a human at the end of the day. They are all fallible and different from one another. Things can go wrong at times and also it is unjust to expect the same behavior and attitude from everyone.

Commonly, the accidents happening in a workplace can be attributed to one of the following actions.

  • Unintentional mistakes and errors
  • Bad decisions and poor judgments
  • Disregarding procedures and malicious intention

While most organizations train their employees about safety, analyzing the human factor is an enduring process. You need to keep the employees involved to gain deeper insights and understanding of individuals’ behavior. Only then, a company can draft an appropriate risk management plan with effective preventive, avoidance, and mitigation measures.

  • How to eliminate the risk from the human factor?

No risk can be eliminated a 100% and so is the human risk. However, proper education is always a huge step towards safety which is why safety training is an integral part of initial orientation in most organizations.

Unfortunately, the education materials such as safety manuals get obsolete rapidly. You need to regularly refine them and release them as must-known information for every staff member regardless of their working levels. Regular updates, meetings, seminars, and safety drills (in some work environments that have a possibility of leakage, etc.) can take you a long way for safety.

  • Can training alone can prevent risky behavior?

Mere training and putting up posters are often not enough to enforce safety. You have to make it a priority and include safety in your top principles and mandatory practices. You have to lead by example and show zero tolerance at every working level.


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