What Makes for an Effective Safety Intervention?

Is it ever too early in the hiring process to begin safety interventions? No, says one researcher.

Alison Vrendenburg, a consultant in California, studied the effectiveness of six management interventions designed to improve safety culture: communication/feedback, management support, hiring practices, rewards, training and employee participation. What she found may surprise some safety managers.

Her fieldwork centered on hospitals, where fatigue, stress, employee shortages and many hazards are reflected in high injury rates. She found that while most of the hospitals she studied fixed safety problems once they occurred, "what differentiated the best performers was that they also employed proactive measures to prevent accidents."

Vrendenburg found that employers were best served putting their resources into the "front-end hiring of new personnel and verifying that skills gained through training are being employed in the work areas."

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