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Developing Safety Culture Through Integrated High Performance Work Systems

IOP are proud to host Dr Chris Burt running a series of workshops throughout NZ. Dates are to be confirmed but will be between 8 June and 17 July 2021. Register your interest emailing john@organisationalpsychology.nz and we will send you the details for your location as soon as they become available.

Workshop Content

New Zealand’s  Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) requires organizations  “to eliminate risks to health and safety….”. While the goal of the legislation is clear, the path to achieving it is not. Many risks stem from human behaviour, and behaviour change can be challenging.  In this workshop I will argue that developing an excellent safety culture is a path to behaviour change via the mechanism of ‘felt obligation generates reciprocity’. The workshop will cover the foundational components of safety culture, showing how each component is really just an extension of fundamental management practices or work systems (e.g., leadership, supervision, environmental management, talent management, skill development, socialization and on-boarding, performance assessment etc). The nature of each of these work systems within an organization contributes more or less to the value it adds to the organization. In addition to aiding overall organization performance, each work system has the potential for the inclusion of practical strategies to improve safety.  As organizational members interact with work systems which are embedded with safety features they experience felt obligation which develops their motivation to play their part – to reciprocate. This Total System Safety Integration (TSSI) approach not only delivers a positive safety culture but also enhances other performance metrics such as increased organizational citizenship behaviours, reduced employee turnover, enhanced engagement, organizational learning, and creativity etc. 

Workshop Objectives:

  • Discuss safety culture components, and how they relate to general management activities.  
  • Discuss the broad aims of developing a safety culture that is justflexiblelearning orientated, and open which promotes ubiquitous safety behaviour. 
  • Discuss how to develop a safety culture excellence score.
  • Identify safety strategies that can operate within various High Performance Work Systems, and how they can be integrated to form a total system approach.

Christopher Burt is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Canterbury.  He has published many works on safety, including New Employee Safety:  Risk Factors and Management Strategies 2015 Springer International, and numerous peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Safety ScienceJournal of Safety ResearchWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & RehabilitationJournal of Health, Safety and Environment,Applied Ergonomics, and the Journal of Environmental Psychology. He regularly speaks at international conferences on employee safety management, and consults to industry in this area.  He leads a research programme on workplace safety with a specific interest in issues associated with new employees, including the assessment of  employees’ hazard awareness ability, the relationship between trust and safety within teams, the management of risky helping behaviours, and the development of employee safety voicing behaviour. 

Email:  Christopher.Burt@canterbury.ac.nz