Introduction

The role of a safety professional within an organization is to protect employees from workplace hazards in all situations and minimize risks in all scenarios. In that capacity, much of the time of a safety professional is spent on hazard and risk assessment for employees' normal work functions. Psychological concepts have even been brought to bear on the complex question of how to influence human behavior to minimize accidents. Behavior-based safety and similar psychologically based programs are implemented throughout the country and around the globe in an effort to understand and manipulate employee behavior. The underlying concept in many of these programs is that safety programs based on an employee's natural tendencies will be more likely to succeed.

In contrast, not much time or effort is expended on identifying and understanding employee behavior in emergency and disaster scenarios. Most safety plans run the spectrum from doing the bare minimum (or less) required by OSHA and other regulatory bodies, to programs that tend to mimic professional response organizations and agencies. However, little consideration is given the natural tendencies of human response in emergency and disaster scenarios. The implication is that human behavior is expected to conform to the organization's emergency action and response plans. One can easily see the inherent flaw in such a system.

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