Traditional Behavioural Based safety systems have been implemented in organizations and industries across the globe, with some success. Yet across organizations safety performance has reached a plateau and in many cases incidents and injuries are again on the rise. A key part of the reason is that a purely behavioural approach to safety is based on an incomplete understanding of human psychology. To truly influence people and impact on the way people behave and engage with safety processes requires a deeper understanding of the motivations that drive our behaviour and more than that, an understanding of how to influence individuals and groups toward safety.

This paper explores how current literature and research in the areas of cognitive psychology, social psychology, the psychology of change and neuroscience can add greatly to refining how we apply psychology to our safety systems, and go beyond the simple reward and punishment paradigm of behavioural based approaches. The presentation will shed light on what these theories mean for behavioural safety systems and provide safety leaders with insights to build an intrinsically motivated workforce who value safety.

The use of psychological theories and concepts can provide a wealth of opportunity for improving safety performance and culture, if we move past a purely behavioural approach to one that embraces a more broad understanding of individual and group psychology.

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