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An I/O Psychology Perspective on Organizational Safety. Tulsa Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers Bradley Brummel , PHd Assistant Professor University of Tulsa Wednesday, February 17 th. Personal Background.

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an i o psychology perspective on organizational safety

An I/O Psychology Perspective on Organizational Safety

Tulsa Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers

Bradley Brummel, PHd

Assistant Professor

University of Tulsa

Wednesday, February 17th

personal background
Personal Background
  • PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008
  • Research Interests
    • Personality in the Workplace
    • Job Attitudes
    • Training and Development
  • Teaching
    • Assessment of Individual Differences
    • Training and Development
    • Job Attitudes
    • Social Psychology
    • Survey of Industrial Psychology
work history
Work History
  • Subway Sandwich Artist
    • Often single employees
    • Security camera rarely on
  • ODL Factory
    • Building sidelights
    • Exhaust fan optional?
  • Post Frame Construction
    • Agricultural construction
    • Drugs in the workplace
    • Lack of safety enforcement
    • New tasks/unexpected issues
  • Universities of Illinois and Tulsa
    • Not much serious to talk about
    • Disgruntled Students?
occupational health psychology
Occupational Health Psychology
  • “OHP concerns the application of psychology to improving the quality of work life, and to protecting and promoting the safety, health and well-being of workers”– NIOSH
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under CDC
  • Interdisciplinary
    • Most fields of psychology.
    • Engineering, sociology, epidemiology, etc.
  • Physical Hazards
    • Ergonomics
    • Occupational safety
ergonomics human factors
Ergonomics / Human Factors
  • “The application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environments for human use.” – The Ergonomics Society
  • Focuses on preventing injury and improving performance through design:
    • Tools & equipment
    • Workstations, displays (Human Factors more than I/O)
    • Entire systems – e.g., how do we report accidents?
occupational safety
Occupational Safety
  • Preventing injuries and exposure to hazards.
  • How do we get people to behave safely?
    • Safety motivation
    • Safety performance
safety culture climate
Safety Culture/Climate
  • Addressing unsafe behavior at the employee level only gets us so far.
    • “Blame game”
    • Organizational Factors
  • Safety culture (Wiegmann et al., 2003):
    • “the enduring value and priority placed on worker and public safety by everyone in every group at every level of an organization.”
  • Safety climate (Zohar, 1980) :
    • “a particular type of organizational climate, which reflects employees’ perceptions about the relative importance of safe conduct in their occupational behavior.”
  • Sometimes used interchangeably – difference in focus and measurement
    • Safety culture = enduring, looking at org as a whole.
    • Safety climate = more transitory, focused on employee perceptions.
reason s swiss cheese model
Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model







Unsafe Acts



Latent Conditions

Latent Conditions




Adapted from Reason, 1990

good safety climate
Good Safety Climate
  • Organizational Commitment to Safety
    • Top-level policies prioritize safety.
  • Supervisory Involvement
    • Immediate supervisors care about & reward safety.
  • Formal Safety System
    • It is easy and safe to report accidents, hazards, near misses, etc.; action is taken when something is reported; safety personnel are taken seriously.
  • Informal Safety System
    • Safety is rewarded; unsafe behavior is not rewarded; employees are empowered; peer culture promotes safety.
  • Is that all is takes?
    • Probably, but this stuff is not easy.
psychological safety issues
Psychological Safety Issues
  • Attention and Alarm Systems
    • Dangers of complacency on rare events
  • Goal Systems
    • “263 days since our last serious accident”
    • Don’t screw it up
  • Individual Differences
    • Intelligence
    • Impulsivity
    • Conscientiousness
questions conversation


Thanks for Having Me!