Supervisors and managers who help employees focus on risks, stay vigilant, and be more creative about safety are more likely to improve safety behaviour in the workplace, according to new research from Curtin University.
The researchers have also produced a ‘condensed and practical workplace tool’ based off the “lead, energise, adapt and defend” (LEAD) framework of safety leadership, that they say will help managers introduce more effective safety strategies in the workplace.
Curtin University Professor, and co-author of the study, Mark Griffin said organisations needed to ensure that their employees were working within safe boundaries, adding that supervisors have the potential to exert the most influence in the workplace when it comes to safety.
“Supervisors or managers have considerable power in how and when they implement safety control strategies, such as organisational-endorsed policies, procedures and practices. Employees also have the ability to shape their co-workers’ safety behaviour through communication and support.”
“A promising technique in which safety practices may have a positive impact on safety behaviour is through motivational pathways such as self-regulation, which relates to how someone controls their behaviour, emotions, impulses, inner resources and abilities.”
“By considering this, our team created a more condensed version of the original LEAD framework and found that supervisors can implement a range of different control strategies to achieve safety in the workplace through the use of self-regulation.”
Widely used today, LEAD was first developed by Professor Mark Griffin from Curtin University and is based off the many behaviours necessary for successful safety leadership.
The new framework shows that safety leaders who introduce a range of practices such as helping their employees focus on risks, avoid errors, and stay vigilant for dangers, as well as making sure their employees are creative about safety, encourage their co-workers to be safe and learn from their mistakes, are more likely to see improvements in their workplace.
Professor Griffin said the new framework has important implications for workplace safety, adding it could help supervisors and co-workers consider the breadth of their safety practices.
“Our new framework can help supervisors identify the most appropriate safety practices, depending on their work situation or the desired goals of the organisation. It may also provide a more credible and engaging approach to communicating safety concepts to employees.”
The paper was published in Safety Science and also involved researchers from the University of Queensland and Griffith University. It can be found here.