The implementation and evaluation of a behaviour based safety intervention at Sishen iron ore mine
Möller, George Philippus
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World-wide it is estimated that workers suffer 250 million accidents every year, with 330 000 fatalities. In South a c a , the fatality rate is 426 per annum. Sishen mine also experienced safety problems, namely a high injury rate, an average of one fatality per annum, and 85% of injuries being caused by risk behaviour. Furthermore, the safety culture at the mine was moderate. A proper safety management system requires continual attention to three domains, namely the environment (equipment, tools and housekeeping), the person (knowledge, skills, abilities, intelligence and personality), and behaviour. Sishen mine previously concentrated on the domains of environment and person, and virtually ignored safety behaviour. To correct this, Sishen mine adapted a behaviour based safety intervention programme. The aims of this research were to determine drivers that motivate safety and risk behaviour, to identify critical factors for the successful implementation of such a programme, and to determine if the safety culture and performance were affected by the implementation of a behaviour based safety intervention programme. A single-group non-experimental design was used. Questionnaires were used to conduct non-experimental surveys. The questionnaires addressed certain safety culture dimensions. A longitudinal survey was carried out before and after implementation of the behaviour based safety intervention programme. The results showed that the safety culture at the mine improved since implementation of the intervention programme. Management support for safety improved by 6%, peer support for safety by 13%, personal responsibility for safety by 7%, management systems by 6%, and employees actively caring for safety, by 3%. The improvement in safety culture also positively impacted on the injury rate at Sishen mine. Results indicated the following factors as being critical for a successful behaviour based safety implementation (in order of importance): participation, structured implementation, training, readiness for such a programme, communication, observation and feedback, target critical behaviours, flexibility, effective intervention actions, and data management. The study identified issues and challenges which must be dealt with, especially those applicable in developing countries like South Africa, with unique circumstances such as social and political diversity. The conclusion was that safety behaviour is mainly d i e d by activators, and motivated by consequences. The ABC model was identified as an important tool to analyse the drivers for safety behaviour in an effort to develop effective intervention actions. It is recommended that companies shift their focus from traditional safety approaches to the human dimension of safety. Thus, it is recommended that the behaviour based safety model must be applied by companies in order to focus on behaviour. Secondly, it is recommended that factors that are critical for a successful implementation must be identified and ranked in order of importance. The attention which is paid to each critical factor should then be related to its relative importance. It is also recommended that activators and consequences must be regarded as important drivers for safety behaviour when intervention actions are to be developed, and that the ABC technique should be applied in practice to analyse the appropriateness of the intervention actions. By way of conclusion, recommendations for future research are made.