Networking Breakfast

Accounting for Human Behavior in Safety

Practicing safety professionals are well aware of the role that human behavior plays in occupational safety & health. Many times, when the results of an incident investigation don’t point to obvious causal factors, the investigator may conclude that the incident was caused by “employee not paying attention”, “employee not aware of surroundings”, or “employee did not follow standard operating procedure”. Additionally, the associated corrective action might be “employee will complete refresher training” (sometimes referred to as “blame and train”). But, does this approach to analyzing the incident really get to the root cause? Understanding and influencing human behavior has been widely studied relative to occupational safety & health. To date, no single theory has been proven to be effective in all cases relative to positively influencing employees to work safely on a daily basis. So, what is the practicing safety professional to do? Dr. Withers’ presentation will outline a few basic principles relative to understanding human behavior and its role in safety. In addition, strategies will be presented that are easy to understand and that can be applied to the various elements of a traditional safety program.

Special Guest Speaker
Jim Withers, Ph.D., CIH, CSP
Corporate Safety Director
American Packaging Corporation - Story City, IA

Dr. Withers has been an Industrial Hygienist & Safety Professional for over 25 years. His educational background includes a B.A. in Biology from Luther College and a M.S. in Preventive Medicine & Environmental Health (emphasis in Industrial Hygiene) from the University of Iowa. Dr. Withers also holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Technology from Iowa State University where his doctoral research focused on learning and retention differences between students taking chemical safety training on a computer versus in the classroom. Dr. Withers is both a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Currently, he is the Corporate Safety Director for the American Packaging Corporation in Story City, Iowa. Dr. Withers and his wife, Jenifer, have 4 sons and live in Ames.


IISC Office
1501 42nd St, Suite 100
West Des Moines , IA 50266

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