Everyone talks about ‘behavioural safety’, but what does that really mean? Most people don’t have a clue!
If you’ve watched a film called ‘What the Bleep’ you’ll have seen footage of that instinct we all have built in to avoid bumping into each other when in crowded areas. Of course, there’s the odd collision – but usually caused by people who are walking in one direction and looking in another!
We don’t walk down a crowded street thinking ‘oh, another person, I must move slightly to the left to avoid bumping into them; pushchair to the left approaching quickly, mother in a hurry, side-step to protect shins.’ You’d have brain overload – you just use automatic pilot and weave through the crowd safely.
In many organisations complex systems and processes are simply ovewhelming and whilst on one level they are supposed to be protecting people, it’s often simply encouraging them not to think for themselves – and, if they haven’t read (or can’t remember) all the manuals, they won’t apply the processes anyway.
That ability to keep ourselves safe is innate. In the workplace we don’t need a set of rules to protect us, we just need reminding to use our built in abilities and our common sense!