Over the last several years, organizations across the world have made great strides in safety performance. Technological advancements, holistic safety systems, and better understanding of the elements of exposure reduction have all contributed to a safer work environment. Even with all the progress, people continue to get hurt, and rates for the most serious injuries have yet to decline at the same pace as other injury types.
Some organizations are taking a proactive approach to addressing hazards. For many, their performance is good, sometimes very good. But they know to become great, they must take safety to the next level. It is not enough to establish rules and procedures around safe performance. Even when employees follow them to the letter, there are situations that can't be covered in advance, leaving individuals exposed to hazards that can arise unexpectedly.
This paper outlines a mechanism for developing a robust hazard recognition ability into the organization's toolkit. The process uses real-life, exposure-based scenarios to assist supervisors and their teams in recognizing when exposure is changing and enhancing their response to it as it arises. The process builds upon practical exposure-reduction practices to enhance teamwork and communications.
There is a wealth of educational and organizational research that shows learning through scenarios or stories can have a profound and long-term impact on people. This is especially true when the learning is centered on things that are significant to learners and administered by people that have the most experience with the work. Enhancing hazard recognition and response using exposure-based scenarios allows supervisors and workers to train in risk mitigation practices that directly address the hazards they face every day.