BEHAVIOUR BASED SAFETY PROGRAMS by nooryudhi

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									      BEHAVIOUR BASED SAFETY PROGRAMS
                                   - or -


     “If it’s rat psychology, who is Pied Piper and who are the rats?”




           Cathy Walker, Director, Health and Safety Department

                          Canadian Auto Workers

                            IAPA/WHSC Session

                       “Myth of the Careless Worker”



Toronto, Ontario                                                  April 16, 2003
                                        Introduction

B.F. Skinner pioneered the American-based system of what university students often call
“rat psychology”. Like Pavlov before him with his dogs, Skinner conducted experiments
with rats which showed that their behaviour could be modified by giving them certain
stimuli and either rewarding them or punishing them. Skinner applied his laboratory
results to the psychology of people.

Behaviour based safety programs seek to do the same thing. Identify unsafe behaviour
and punish those who practice it and identify safe behaviour and reward those who
practice it.

Is this model, however, rather simplistic? We know people aren’t rats so how does
human society differ and make this idea of behaviour based safety programs more
complex than it may seem at first glance?

                     Societal Organization and the Nature of Work

The first way in which we differ from the assumptions made by Skinner is of course in
the way society if organized. It is, in our social and economic system, hierarchical.
Within the workplace this is translated into those who own and control the workplace and
those who work there. And it is this concept of control which we must understand if we
are going to make safer workplaces. For those who control the workplace must, by
definition, have more influence in whether it is safe or unsafe. And those people who
control the workplace are of course employers. Those who work there are workers and
they, in our social and economic system, have extremely little control over the workplace.
So the question really is, whose behaviour needs to be modified? How do we get the
biggest “bang for our buck”?

Is the idea of behaviour based safety not really just a less fatalistic ve rsion of “accident
proneness” that wonderful theory that says that some people just can’t stop hurting
themselves? By this logic, of course, we see who the most accident prone people are in
our society. They are underground miners, construction workers, and loggers. Office
workers must of course be extremely careful and safe people because they get hurt far
less often.

And it is in these rather extreme examples that we see the fundamental flaw in the logic
of the concept of behaviour based safety. It assumes that the nature of the workplace and
the work itself is less important than people’s behaviour. I say that is nonsense. Some



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workplaces are extremely hazardous and those are (usually) where people die at work.
Others are less so and those are where people tend to avoid death and serious injury. It
isn’t their behaviour that determined their safety; it’s the nature of the work.


                                Employers and Workers

But that as well of course is also too simplistic. Because someone controls the
workplace. Somebody (or a group of people) have made decisions about how work is
organized, regardless of the industry. Somebody has decided whether the coal mine will
be open pit or underground. Someone has decided whether there will be working
methane monitors, sufficient ventilation, sources of ignition allowed underground, proper
supports for the tunnels, mine rescue stations. And if someone has decided that they will
not provide those things...we have a Westray, and 26 miners die.

Do you think that if the Westray miners had taken courses to modify their behaviour the
mine would have been any safer? The only way that such a course would have had a
significant effect on their safety is if it modified their behaviour enough that they, to a
man, refused to enter the mine. But was that a realistic possibility for miners in a region
of Canada with very high unemployment and the certainty of termination in a non-union
environment?

What about Clifford Frame? He owned the mine. He made the decision to mine the
Frood seam, the notoriously gassy coal seam that had been known to be extremely
dangerous for decades. He made the decision to hire management with a clear preference
for production over safety. And the mine manager and the rest of the management team
carried out that preference to the hilt. They made the decisions to not worry about
whether the methane monitors worked or not. They made the decisions about whether to
use rock dust or not to quell the coal dust. They made the decisions about allowing
sources of ignition underground.

Whose behaviour needed to be modified? It was Clifford Frame’s behaviour that needed
to be modified. It was the Westray mine manager and other members of management
who needed their behaviour modified.

                            The Myth of Accident Proneness

Let us look at the old warhorse, the theory of “accident proneness”. This whole idea of
“accidents” (we never call them “deliberates”, do we?) we need to examine. It assumes
that workers are by their nature careless. They are at a minimum foolish and at worst
usually stupid. Frederick Taylor, the father of modern “scientific management” preferred
them that way – stupid, because they were so much easier to control. He had this to say:

       My system is simply an honest, intelligent effort to arrive at absolute control in
       every department, to let tabulated fact take the place of individual opinion; to
       develop team play to its highest possibility.



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       One of the very first requirements for a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a
       regular occupation is that he shall be so stupid and phlegmatic that he more nearly
       resembles an ox than any other type of animal. 1

The accident proneness theory is what Robert Sass (former Director of Saskatchewan’s
Occupational Health and Safety Division, known as the father of the three worker health
and safety rights) called the “village idiot” theory of accident causation. Because it
assumes that workers are stupid. We need to teach them to “be safe” to “act safely”. It
assumes that workers have Choice and that they are making Bad Choices and are thus
hurting themselves. If your Ford Pinto catches on fire and burns you up, you’ve made a
bad choice. You should have known to buy a Chev. If you get your arm ripped off at the
pinch point of a conveyor, you’ve made a bad choice. You should have ... what?
Worked somewhere else? Refused to work near the unguarded conveyor? Told your
supervisor ... and told your supervisor ... and told your supervisor ... But the supervisor
didn’t listen. He did nothing. Or the supervisor told his supervisor and he did nothing.
Or the part was on order and it wasn’t installed yet (why wasn’t it installed in the first
place?). Or you should have told your health and safety committee ... but you did ... and,
they did nothing. Oh, they don’t have the power to do anything in any Canadian
jurisdiction. They only have the power to make a recommendation ... again to
management, but they are the people who have already ignored you.

                      Worker Safety Behaviour – Wear Your PPE

So how do we train workers to be safe? They do not talk about “teaching” do they?
They talk about “training”. Remember Pavlov’s dogs?

As a result of using the “B-Safe” behaviour based training system by Aubrey Daniels &
Associates of Atlanta, Georgia, the Rochester (New York) Gas & Electric Company lists
these examples of safe behaviours brought to “habit strength”:
    • safety glasses
    • vault protection
    • wheel chocks
    • gloves
    • hard hats
    • safety glasses (again)
    • hearing protection
    • proper backing2

Indeed, this list really sums it all up. The kind of safety behaviour which workers can
choose or not, is really extremely limited. The workers at Westray would not have been
saved if they had been wearing their safety glasses, hard hats, hearing protection or lifting
with their legs, not their backs. Wearing personal protective equipment, while useful in
some circumstances, is hardly the fundamental issue. Rather, it helps to divert attention
from the real issue, making the workplace itself, safer and healthier. Not a word is said in
this list about recommending measures to quieten equipment, guard equipment, eliminate


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material falling on workers’ heads, providing mechanical lifting devices, etc. Yet this
behaviour based safety system, is supposed to make the workplace safer.

                                 Empowerment or Sham?
Most of the behaviour based safety systems have been imported from the United States
where, most unfortunately, in nearly all the states health and safety committees are not
required by law. Since the US has by far the lowest rate of unionization in the
industrialized world (less than 15% of the workforce unionized compared with about
35% in Canada), there are few collective agreements to compel employers to meet with
workers in a formal setting to discuss health and safety. As a result the idea of
“empowerment” is in the United States, even more than in the Canadian system, a
complete sham. Safety suggestion boxes are often the best that can be done to solicit
worker input. Asking workers what they think in ad hoc safety crew meetings where the
supervisor is in charge with no formal mechanism for them to consider their point of
view and present it in a formal way to management, makes a mockery of the idea of
empowerment. In fact, the power remains with management and workers must do as they
are told.

And this of course fits in very well with the village idiot theory of accident causation.
Because workers are stupid and careless, they must be watched, taught to “be safe” and
admonished when they are not.

There is no mechanism for the workers to discipline management, is there, when there is
no guard on the machine? There is no opportunity for the workers to send the supervisor
home for the day when he or she tells someone to drive a forklift with low brakes. Yet
who else is closest to kno wing what is safe or unsafe in the workplace? It is the workers.
It is their health and safety that is at risk. It isn’t management that’s going to be hurt.

            Modifying Worker Behaviour is About Management Control

Well known U.S. safety manager Dan Petersen has this to say in Safety Management: A
Human Approach:

       Safety today...is not as much an environment problem as it was. Our primary job
       is not to control “things”. Safety today is a people problem. We are in a situation
       where we must learn to understand people and where we must learn to control
       people’s behaviour...

       When we talk about the management control of accidents, we really mean to talk
       about how management can control the behaviour of people. When we talk of
       how management can control the behaviour of people, we really mean, for all
       practical purposes, how management can get those people to want to operate in
       the manner management wants. This of course, is motivation. All safety in the
       final analysis depends on motivation. The American worker today must be
       motivated to work and motivated to work safely. 3




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So is Petersen saying that workers are not just stupid, they are also lazy? He says he is
not.

I do not believe that workers are stupid or lazy, not American workers nor Canadian
workers. Workers are already motivated to work safely, given the choice. The
workplace reality, however, is that most choices are not theirs to make.

Robert Sass and Richard Butler of the Saskatchewan Department of Labour in 1977 also
did not agree with Petersen. In their excellent paper “The Accident Proneness Theory: A
Dead Horse That Won’t Lie Down”, a thorough canvass of published accident prevention
theory, they have this to say about Petersen’s position, “Dan Petersen’s approach to
safety is not based on any scientifically reputable theory.”4 And that, “Petersen’s
approach, then, is ideological, not scientific.”5

They quote again from the preface to the aforementioned book by Petersen:

       I am not sure what principles undergird OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health
       Administration); in actuality it seems the fundamental principle is “accidents are
       caused by things, not people....”

       I do not believe that principle. I believe that accidents are caused by people
       regardless of what OSHA and Ralph Nader say...6

And it is fortunate for Mr. Petersen that he never owned a Ford Pinto.

In the study of accidents in British factories, the results of which were published under
the title Safety or Profit, authors Theo Nichols and Pete Armstrong have this to say
(p.20):

       To sum up: each of the accidents we have reviewed occurred in the context of a
       process failure and whilst the men concerned were trying to maintain or restore
       production. In every case the dangerous situation was created in order to make it
       quicker and easier to do this. In every case the company’s safety rules were
       broken. The process failures involved were not isolated events. Nor were the
       dangerous means used to deal with them. The men acted as they did in order to
       cope with the pressure from foremen and management to keep up production.
       This pressure was continual, process failures were fairly frequent and so the short-
       cutting methods used to deal with them were repeatedly employed. In each case it
       was only a matter of time before somebody’s number came up.7

                                 Due Diligence Defence

And of course one of the reasons behaviour based safety systems are increasingly popular
is because some governments are getting tough on health and safety enforcement.
Employers see the need for a “due diligence” defence so these behaviour based systems




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help them with the necessary paperwork to produce in court in the (rather unlikely event)
that they actually do get caught.

Some companies are quite sophisticated in their understanding of the need for this due
diligence defence. When the major U.S. oil firms, Philips and Arco, for example, were
responsible for dozens of fatalities in Texas refinery explosions in the past few years, as a
result of downsizing, work intensification and “multi-skilling” (otherwise known as the
“jack of all trades and master of none”), and contracting out, other employers in the
downsizing mode in the quest for ever- greater profits have turned to behaviour based
safety systems to give them a due diligence defence. Electrical utilities in the United
States, for instance, in a recent issue of Performance Management Magazine have chosen
a behavioural safety process called “B-Safe” by Aubrey Daniels & Associates of Atlanta,
Georgia. From 1994 to 1996, the Rochester (New York) Gas & Electric Company claims
it has reduced its OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rates by 55
percent while reducing its “man- hours” by 25 percent.8 How much of this is real and
how much is hiding statistics? The article of course never checks with the workers or the
union, if there is one, to validate any of this.

I know from the experience of our union that where employers emphasize statistics, there
is almost always abuse of the reporting and claims system as well as an abuse of return to
work procedures.

                                      Safety Awards

Safety awards in some form or another are almost always part of the behaviour based
safety systems. They are the “carrot” to reward good behaviour. But that behaviour is
almost always based exclusively on not reporting injuries, not going off on lost time and
not making a claim to the WSIB. It is almost never on ensuring that a lock is put on de-
energized equipment, that a guard is replaced on a machine after maintenance, or that
unsafe work is refused until it is made safe. The BC Board recognized this deficiency in
1974 when it cancelled its safety award system based on reported injuries and accepted
claims rates and replaced it with a useful safety awards program based on recognition for
innovation, for coming up with a new idea to make workplaces safer such inventing a
movable guard on a pit in a service garage.

In the industries which are most hazardous, mining and forestry, safety awards are often
most prevalent. The John T. Ryan award for the safest mine in Canada is based on
statistics. This prestigious trophy is awarded by the Chief Inspectors of Mines, those
government officials responsible for the safety of workers in the mining industry.
Westray was the recipient of the John T. Ryan award just weeks before the May 9, 1992
explosion. Nowhere is there a better example of why we cannot rely on statistics to be
reliable indicators of safe behaviour.




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                           Work Organization and Pay Systems

In these most unsafe industries, mining and forestry, it is piecework that is the most
significant modifier of worker behaviour. Our members of CAW Local 598 employed at
the Falconbridge mines in Sudbury call the additional monies earned through tonnage
bonuses, “blood money”. And they are right. These bonuses persuade workers to cut
corners and take chances. And when they do in the underground mining industry as in
the case of fallers or cutters in the forest industry, they often lose their lives. And it is the
same in less hazardous industries. Where workers in the clothing industry or auto parts
industry are paid in whole or in part on a piecework basis, they are often the ones who
suffer the highest incidence of wrist, shoulder or back injuries. They work too hard and
too fast and wear their bodies out. If employers were serious about modifying safe
behaviour among workers in these industries, they would stop the bonus system. And if
governments were serious about ensuring that workers have no financial disincentive to
engage in safe work behaviour, they would make the piecework and production bonus
system illegal.

                Behaviour Based Safety Systems Do Nothing for Health

They are not called behaviour based “safety” systems for nothing. Health is not part of
the equation. And the reason is quite simple. Injury statistics are easily measurable and
easy to modify by persuading workers not to report them. Health statistics are much
more difficult to measure since occupational diseases such as cancers and lung diseases
often occur many years after exposure. Since we so often do not record them, why
should we try to modify behaviour in this area? Yet it is ill health which is the great
disabler in our society. For every miner killed at Westray they are as many workers
permanently disabled by silicosis, asbestosis, or black lung, each year in Canada, to say
nothing of all of the various cancers caused by the mining industry alone. Far more
workers die of occupational disease each year than occupational injuries. They go
uncompensated because of the nature of the workers’ compensation system but these
deaths do occur each year. Yet behaviour based safety systems ignore the whole issue of
occupational health.

                          When Workers’ Compensation Began

We all know when workers’ compensation began in Canada. Chief Justice Meredith
issued his Royal Commission Report in 1913. Meredith recommended that employers
pay the total cost of workers’ compensation for a reason – they are in control of the
workplace and it is they, not workers, who have the major responsibility in determining
safety.

This is what Maclean’s magazine had to say about the new system of workers’
compensation in 1915:




                                           Page -8-
 “...Industry and not soup kitchens must look after the helpless humans sacrificed in the service
 of industry. To the yawning criticism that workers surrounded by such pleasant options (WCB
 benefits) will not maintain their usual safeguards, the retort of experience is that no worker in
 his sane senses deliberately invites a painful, perhaps fatal bodily hurt...” 9


Let us see what scholars were saying in the time just before workers’ compensation was
enacted.

Writing in 1910 in Work Accidents and the Law, Chrystal Eastman explained what she
considered to be the major causes of industrial accidents, placing the blame on unsafe
conditions and the speed of production:

       ...in the condition and environment of those in “dangerous occupations”, there are
       often influences working to weaken the power of attention. The speed and
       intensity of the work, the heat and noise of the place, the weariness of the
       workers, – all these things tend to numb the faculties most needed for protection...
       (In the words of a mill superintendent): “If a mill stops three minutes for repairs,
       or for any other cause, a detailed report of this must be made by the men in
       charge. If this happens two or three times under one man, the matter will be taken
       up with a question as to his efficiency. Under this kind of drive, how can
       anybody be careful?”

       When we read, then, of a man who went up to make repairs without stopping the
       crane, or of a man who tried to throw a belt on without slowing down the shaft,
       we must not lay the resulting accident unquestioningly to his own person, all-
       considered haste. Perhaps he was but a part of a great machine going too fast for
       safety.”10

                       Some Employers and Professionals Agree

The president of the American Society of Safety Engineers, Dr. William E. Tarrants, had
this to say in 1977:

       ...the statement that a majority of accidents are the direct result of ignorance or
       carelessness on the part of those exposed is not supported by objective evidence.
       Most often a person simply accepts the risk associated with certain behaviour
       based on subjective assessment of the probability that no harm will ensue and
       some real or imagined benefit will occur.

       For most people, placing the hand between the dies of a punch press would not be
       an acceptable risk if they knew with certainty (probability = one) that a finger
       would be lost. On the other hand, if the operator is convinced that the only way
       he can make money on piece work is to feed material into the punch press with
       his arm curled around the sweep guard and his fingers between the dies, if he has
       performed this operation repeatedly without injury and with increased production,


                                         Page -9-
       and if the “lead man”, or foreman tolerates this behaviour (“because he is our best
       producer”), then there is a tendency for this unsafe act to continue indefinitely, or
       until a “recordable injury” occurs. Certainly this type of behaviour cannot be
       classed as resulting from “ignorance” or “carelessness” on the part of the person
       exposed; although in his haste to fix blame and to relieve himself of
       responsibility, a supervisor may enter these words in the “primary cause” block
       on the accident report form. 11

Some professionals experienced in health and safety know that the current emphasis on
behaviour based safety systems is misplaced at best. Patrick Ragan is director, corporate
health, safety and environmental affairs for Rhone-Poulenc, North America, of
Charleston, West Virginia. Writing in the October 1997 issue of the American Society of
Safety Engineers publication Professional Safety, Ragan has this to say about
measurement:

       By trying to improve safe behaviour by rewarding “good” performance, firms
       commit the “total quality sin” of measuring the wrong thing to reward. If the
       reward is based on fewer accidents reported, that is usually the result. Fewer
       accidents are reported – though no fewer accidents occur. This is especially true
       when the system calls for punishment if too ma ny accidents are reported. In other
       words, the outcome is exactly the behaviour rewarded, which creates a system
       primed for increasingly severe accidents.12

Ragan encourages us to take a closer look at the assumptions about behaviour based
safety systems. He says:

       It does not matter whether people have the best intentions and safe behaviour. If
       equipment does not have proper guards and interlocks, accidents will occur.

       Experience shows that hazards cannot be adequately controlled with good
       intentions and rigorous behavioural control. Remember those old drawings and
       photographs of steam-powered workshops with long, steam-driven shafts at the
       ceiling? Countless power take-off belts were strung down to the workers’ sewing
       machines or punch presses.

       One can only wonder why more workers were not entangled and maimed by these
       unguarded in-running catch points. Undoubtedly, the employee’s vigilant
       behaviour around the devices was a key factor. Their careful, safe behaviour was
       won with hard experience. Would safety observations be the answer to these
       unguarded hazards today? 13

As well as unsafe equipment, Ragan makes the point that unsafe procedures can be to
blame. He cites a recent example from a chemical plant:

       ...an operator was required, by procedure, to be in two places at one time. This
       was fine, providing both places did not need his attention simultaneously.



                                        Page -10-
       Usually, the operator simply ignored the procedure, staying where his attention
       was needed. This practice was revealed following an accident, when both areas
       needed attention and the operator could not be in both places at one time. Was
       this a behavioural problem or a system set up to fail when new procedures were
       written? 14

                             Modifying Employer Behaviour

                                    State Enforcement

How do we modify employer behaviour to make them choose safe behaviour over unsafe
behaviour? Some say that it is just a matter of education. They claim that safer
workplaces are more profitable workplaces and that thus employers just need to
understand this and the y will make the right choice. Sometimes this is true. But often it
is not. Employers, like workers, are not stupid. Private sector employers, at least, are in
business to make a profit and if safe behaviour really were more profitable, they would
have already made the safer choices. In fact, it is often more expensive to provide safer
workplaces. Especially if the Workers’ Compensation Boards are not paying claims in a
particular area, what then is the financial downside? If workers are unable to get
occupational cancer claims established, why should the employer bother to get rid of
carcinogens and replace them with substitutes which may be more expensive? Why
bother to enclose the source of the contaminant and provide local exhaust ventilation? It
is expensive and it is much cheaper to have workers put up with the dust and smoke. If
workers are not able to establish claims for tendinitis, why should employers provide
ergonomically sound work stations? And so what if workers are permanently disabled –
because of high unemployment employers can always replace them with someone else.

So apart from appealing to “common sense” and an often flawed financial logic, we must
find something else to modify employer behaviour. There are a number of ways and I
will list first the government’s direct role:

•      establish strict health and safety regulations;
•      strictly enforce them through the government inspectorate;
•      write orders when regulations are violated;
•      shut down unsafe equipment;
•      prosecute for serious offences;
•      impose high fines; and
•      jail the most flagrant offenders.

All of these rules are applied for traffic offences and they work. Without them, the roads
would be chaos. All of these rules are applied for homicides in the community. Why is a
worker killed at work treated like a victim of “white collar crime” but the same person
found shot dead in the street has the full power of the state dedicated to bringing the killer
to justice?




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                             Internal Responsibility System

And what about the “internal responsibility system”? We need these provisions to ensure
that “internal responsibility” offers workers a genuine opportunity to have a say in health
and safety issues:

•      make joint health and safety committees mandatory in all jurisdictions for all
       sized workplaces (Alberta, Quebec, and PEI are examples of provinces in which
       there are less than universal requirements for joint committees);
•      require health and safety committees to have decision making power;
•      ensure there are worker majorities on joint health and safety committees;
•      give worker health and safety representatives the authority to write orders on the
       employer (like the system of Provisional Improvement Notices in the Australian
       state of Victoria); and
•      give worker health and safety representatives the power to shut down unsafe
       equipment.

Employer behaviour would be dramatically modified in the direction of health and safety
if these measures were written into law.

                                  Financial Incentives

Now some of you are in a position to have some influence over the above issues but
many of you are not. Most of you, however, can and should do something about the
financial aspects of employer behaviour modification.

                                    Experience Rating

Many of you support experience rating. The labour movement does not. Experience
rating modifies employer behaviour towards claims control, claims interference, abuse of
rehabilitation, and generates an excessive numbers of appeals, to name but a few of the
many downsides to this system. To the extent that it may contribute anything to health
and safety, experience rating is a reactive, after the fact method of financial incentives.

Behaviour based safety systems fit right into the experience rating strategy of hiding
statistics. Because so many of them rely on injury rates, employers are encouraged to try
to persuade workers not to report injuries, leave work to seek medical attention, have any
time off work whatsoever, and, if they are off work, to return to work prematurely to
reduce the overall severity rate.

                                   Penalty Assessments

The labour movement supports instead a true preventive approach to financial incentives,
the penalty (or additional) assessment method used by the British Columbia Workers’
Compensation Board. The BC Board can and does impose additional assessments on
employers who fail to provide safe and healthy workplaces and to comply with the law.



                                        Page -12-
It is a basic insurance principle that when increased risk is in evidence, premiums should
go up. So when BC employers fail to ensure there are safe lockout procedur es in effect,
allow trenches to go unshored, or fail to reduce exposure to hazards such as asbestos, the
BC Board imposes additional assessments, before injuries or occupational diseases are
allowed to occur. The BC Board has used this power to good effect. And so should you,
especially since so many of the Boards are moving in the direction of prevention
activities. Our only criticisms of the BC Board’s penalty assessment system is that the
penalties are not nearly high enough (though still high in comparison with every
province’s record of prosecution for health and safety offences outside of Ontario), nor
are they imposed frequently enough. But all of you could introduce this mechanism
regardless of whether you have direct responsibility for health and safety inspections or
not. You could work directly with the government inspectorate to impose penalties
where violations of the health and safety regulations are discovered. Surely at a
minimum penalty assessments are the quid pro quo for experience rating.

Sometimes the idea of financial incentives to promote safe behaviour becomes perverted
as has been the case in Ontario. There, in addition to prosecuting employers, they ticket
workers. Construction workers are ticketed for offences such as failing to wear a hard hat
or safety shoes. They pay the fine which is usually equivalent to about a day’s pay rather
than show up in court and lose another day’s pay. What’s wrong with this system, you
ask? Well, three things. We say workers should not be in triple jeopardy. Workers are
at risk of injury; workers are at risk of employer discipline up to and including
termination for some health and safety offences; workers should thus not also be at risk
of receiving a fine from the state. But even more important, construction employers in
Ontario use the ticketing system to get off the hook from enforcing health and safety
rules on their jobsites. They know they can rely on government inspectors to enforce the
rules, so why should they?

                                       Conclusion

Rhone Poulenc’s corporate safety director, Patrick Ragan, describes behavioural based
safety as the “silver bullet” of safety attempting to slay the “werewolves” while ignoring
the “vampires and plagues”. He says that in addition to silver bullets, you should also
pack the “wooden stakes, garlic and vaccines”. 15

In 1977, Sass and Butler said that “New approaches to accident prevention are being tried
in Canada, and ..., these are based on a respect for the worker and his knowledge of his
own job and workplace.”16

Now, more than twenty years later, we know these new approaches work and they, not
worker behaviour modification, are the key to a safe and healthy workplace.




                                        Page -13-
                                      Notes

1.    Quoted in Katherine Stone, “The Origin of Job Structure in the Steel Industry”
      Radical America, Vol. 7, No. 6, 1973.

2.    Gail Snyder, “Empowered Safety in a Downsizing Industry”, Performance
      Management Magazine, Vol. 15, Number 1, 22.

3.    Dan Petersen, Safety Management: A Human Approach, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
      Aloray, 1975), pp. 24-5.

4.    Robert Sass and Richard Butler, The Accident Proneness Theory: A Dead Horse
      That Won’t Lie Down, (Department of Labour, Saskatchewan, 1977

5.    Ibid.

6.    Dan Petersen, Ibid., Preface.

7.    Theo Nichols and Pete Armstrong, Safety or Profit: Industrial Accidents and the
      Conventional Wisdom, (England: Falling Wall Press, 1973), p. 20.

8.    Gail Snyder, Ibid., p. 17.

9.    Maclean’s Magazine, April 1, 1915.

10.   Chrystal Eastman, Work Accidents and the Law (New York: Charities Publication
      Committee, 1910), pp. 91-4.

11.   William E. Tarrants, “Can Probability of Harm be Judged in Terms of What is
      Acceptable?”, National Safety News, Vol. 116, No. 3, 1977, 74.

12.   Patrick T. Ragan, “Safety’s Silver Bullet,” Professional Safety, October 1997, p.
      27.

13.   Ibid., p. 26.

14.   Ibid. p. 27.

15.   Ibid. p. 26.

16.   Sass and Butler, p. 19.




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