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A Comprehensive Model for Human Behaviour in Industrial Environments

The lack of an integrated approach to theories of human behaviour in the industrial environment forms an unaddressed problem for Psychology as a discipline. People behave as a totality whereas we only have local micro-models to explain specific
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  A Comprehensive Model for Human Behaviour in Industrial Environments    A. Sneddon, P.T.W. Hudson, D. Parker, M. Lawrie, M. Vuijk & R. Bryden University of Aberdeen  Leiden University  Manchester University Shell International Exploration and Production Abstract The lack of an integrated approach to theories of human behaviour in the industrial environment forms an unaddressed problem for Psychology as a discipline. People  behave as a totality whereas we only have local micro-models to explain specific  behaviours in restricted environments. In this paper we present a comprehensive framework that makes explicit the relationships between a wide variety of existing and well-validated models in different areas of specialisation within the study of  psychology. The model integrates the range from perceptual processing, through decision-making and its biases, to the modelling of selection of action and the implementation of intentions. Lower level theories, perception and decision-making are typically the preserve of Cognitive Psychology, while later elements are usually seen as part of Organisational, Social and Health Psychology. The lack of an integrated model makes it difficult for non-psychologists, typically those who wish to make use of the insights provided after more than 100 years of study, to understand how human behaviour is explained and might be directed in an industrial setting. The model was srcinally developed to understand how people behave safely, or unsafely, in hazardous industrial settings, leaning upon work investigating high reliability industries and advanced safety cultures. It appears to provide a robust framework that allows extension to areas such as effective leadership behaviours, situation awareness, real time decision-making under stress, as well as driving  behaviour.  A Comprehensive Model for Human Behaviour in Industrial Environments   Introduction The nature of high reliability organisations is a work environment which possesses the capacity to be very hazardous. Managing these hazards to reduce the risk of accidents dictates the way in which most jobs are performed. Supporting the individual worker there or usually engineering safeguards, management systems, competence  programmes as well as rules and procedures. However, despite these preventative mechanisms accidents still tragically occur and the question remains why ? Research into a number of high-hazard, high reliability industries has indicated that human factors causes can be attributed to around 80% of accidents (Hoyos, 1995). In  particular, research into human factors causes of accidents in the oil and gas industry (e.g. Rundmo, 1995; Rundmo, Hestad & Ulleberg, 1998) has indicated that lack of care and attention is often reported as one of the main immediate human factors causes (Mearns, Flin, Fleming & Gordon, 1997). Usually behind these immediate causes are several underlying causes such as managerial decisions and other leadership failures with their roots much deeper in the organisation. One reason for the prevalence of human factors causes in incidents is that human error is inevitable, because of the fundamental imitations of human cognitive architecture. In high-reliability industries such as nuclear power, fire-fighting, aviation, and oil and gas exploration errors can have potentially catastrophic repercussions, which is why there are precautions to minimise the impact of errors. What Lawton (1998) showed was accidents happen when unintentional acts (errors) combine with intentional acts such as rule breaking. Consider, for example, the work of a drilling crew on board an offshore rig. Much of the overall drilling process is performed by heavy machinery and monitored by computers, yet human crews are still required for the manual processes of, for example, looking after the drill pipe – adding or removing drill strings, etc. an incident will usually involve a error by one person whilst someone is taking a calculated risk . The motivation for why people behave unsafely varies, but tend to  fall into one of two categories – unsafe behaviours of which they are aware, and unsafe behaviours of which they are not aware. People may knowingly participate in  behaviours that are unsafe for a number of different reasons (this will be explained in more detail later in the paper) – for example, they have developed a bad working habit which has been reinforced by other workers (or possibly even supervisors), or has gone unobserved or unchallenged, and so has developed into an acceptable practice. However, as mentioned previously, people also behave in an unsafe manner, but are unaware of the fact that they are doing so. It is therefore imperative to distinguish the reasoning behind why people are behaving in this manner (i.e. safely both knowingly and unknowingly) in order to attempt to modify the unsafe behaviour and rectify the situation. Most approaches to unsafe or at-risk behaviours have concentrated upon listing the reasons why people perform unsafe acts, such as poor attitudes to safety, laziness, corner cutting or, frequently, deliberate taking of risks by individuals. This information is typically used to justify remedial measures intended to prevent such at-risk behaviours in the workplace. Such models, however, do not explain why  people might have what appear to be such poor attitudes, or trade off safe but lengthy activities with more dangerous short cuts. The approach taken in this model is quite different, starting from asking what it would take to have people acting safely, as the standard, and then ascertaining why they might deviate from normal safe behaviour, demonstrating unsafe behaviours as pathologies of normal safe behaviour patterns. The assumption made here is that people, even thrill seekers, are usually interested in their own safety, as well as that of others; this assumption is not apparent in the usual unsafe behaviour models. The Safe Behaviour Model ‘Safe behaviour’ may be considered as an end product of a number of different steps or stages, as it requires all of these to be followed successfully in order for the entirety of behaving safely and avoiding an incident to be achieved. In conjunction with Leiden and Manchester Universities, Shell Exploration and Production developed the ‘Safe Behaviour model TM ’, which outlines the four main steps necessary for safe  behaviour. Figure 1 details this model with four main stages, from Sensing to Action.    Figure 1.  The Safe Behaviour Model Stage 1   Sense – the    perception of hazard and hazardous situations  The first stage that is necessary involves perception of information about the environment. A person needs to be able to see, hear or otherwise receive information that there is a hazard that requires a response. This perception may be direct, as when one sees a snake, smells a noxious product or feels an unusual vibration that may  presage a disastrous event. If there is no such perception then it is, at best, difficult to react to something that does not appear to exist as it is essentially invisible. In addition sensory processes will be subject to habituation, making the visible invisible again. There is a second level of perception, that applies to what we can learn  to recognise as hazardous. In some cases this is possible. For instance, a vehicle may be immediately recognisable as dangerous, because it is travelling too fast or is clearly likely to fall apart, but experienced drivers also learn to recognise other, often more critical dangers. An inexperienced driver is sometimes recognisable from the way they drive, drivers with poor attitudes (far more dangerous in terms of the traffic statistics) often show visibly recognisable behaviours such as close following. Notions of perceptual ‘tuning’ apply here, where the perceptual system becomes sensitised to configurations that have become meaningful. Remedial measures at this level would consist of sensitising perceptual systems, inducing perceptual learning, or of undoing the effects of habituation. (Gigerenzer, & Selton, 2001)  Stage 2  Know – understanding which risks deserve attention  The raw ability to perceive a hazard or hazardous situation does not, on its own,  provide a sufficient impetus to behaviour. While specific hazards might, conceivably, have the potential to cause substantial harm, in a great many cases the potential for harm may (appear to) be negligible and therefore no special action would be merited. What is perceived needs to be regarded as sufficiently important to warrant action and in many cases there may appear to be more pressing needs. This means that hazards have to be understood in terms of their likelihood to cause harm; the hazardous objects, event or situation has to be reframed as a risk, by adding in information about the frequency with which harm may actually be expected. This information can change the weights people assign to possible outcomes, which they can use to determine where to set their priorities. Thus, if a situation is judged to  be relatively risk free, in an environment of competing priorities for action, an at-risk  behaviour will be more likely to be chosen if it meets more pressing goals. As a matter of experience people are unlikely to be influenced by one or two statements that an action is dangerous if this conflicts with their personal experience over many years that it is usually not. For instance, most people’s personal experience of years of accident free driving often makes adhering to speed limits a losing competitor against their certain expectation of a later arrival. Seen as an intuitive risk judgement they multiply the potential consequences with their personal (and statistically reasonable) expectation that they, as an individual, will not have an accident, this contrasts with the certain outcome of increased journey time. The product of potential outcome and  probability, the risk, drives behavioural choices. There is a substantial literature on this area, and it is clear that individual judgements of both potential outcome and  perceived probability are open to significant cognitive biases (Tversky & Kahenman, 1974; Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky, 1982). Stage 3  –  Plan which action to implement   Just as it is necessary to sense hazards, albeit indirectly, and essential to treat hazards once perceived as sufficiently important to merit taking some action, it is also necessary for safe behaviour that people know what they can do to manage the risks they appear to face. An individual’s behavioural repertoire may include possible  behaviours to cope with identified risks, but may also be limited to a restricted set of
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