Entrusting our lives to others
Whether we are aware of it or not, on a daily basis we all trust our lives to people who we have never met and whom we know nothing about. In the skies, on the roads and rails and even in our own homes, we are at the mercy of a skilled and attentive workforce charged with controlling our transport, our food, our energy and our water. Living without risk is impossible, but psychologists working in the field of safety need to find ways of reducing it for everyone.
Predicting who will be a safe pair of hands
Over the course of the last 15 years, the OPC psychologists have been endeavouring to determine which personal characteristics are associated with safe behaviour at work, in order to find ways of predicting those who will be a safer pair of hands in which to place our lives. Having worked in the transport sector for a few years, the OPC psychologists had some idea that there were a number of features that safety-critical job experts were repeatedly suggesting as important personal characteristics that they believed were linked to safe behaviour but had not been publicly identified by other researchers. To confirm and define these, a systematic and wide-ranging job analysis process was required. In total, the number of participants involved as job experts in the process of analysing the criteria was well over 100. From the job analysis process the psychologists were able to identify a set of generic characteristics in a competency framework which described personality, ability and attitudinal determinants of safe behaviour in safety-critical roles.
Assessment tools for safety-critical roles
Having validated these characteristics with safety and HR managers, the next step for the psychologists was to find assessment tools that measured these competencies and seek out validation evidence for these techniques to provide empirical support for both the use of the tools at selection, and also the accuracy of the competencies in describing important determinants of safe behaviour. A number of assessment tools have been identified, developed and validated to assess these key safety-critical characteristics:
- Safe Concentration and Attention Test (SCAAT)
- Rules Acquisition Aptitude Test (RAAT)
- Safe Communication Exercise (SAFECE)
- Safe Personality Questionnaire (SAFEPQ)
For further information on these assessment tools or this research, then please contact us.