The role of the safety specialist is evolving.
These professionals not only need to be effective analysts and policy creators, but inspirational leaders, marketing gurus, and sales-people. Essentially, every safety specialist needs to “sell” the idea of safety to their colleagues. While everyone wants to be safe, human beings don’t always enjoy being compliant.
People simply do not like to be told what to do and meekly follow a set of instructions even if it is for their own good. If something feels rigid, controlling or coercive – it is human nature to resist. Simply, look at many people’s reaction to mask mandates and Covid-19 restrictions.
Leveraging behavioural science, common among marketers and sales professionals, can help restructure the perception of compliance.
Your body for example, automatically does a plethora of things that involve decisions, such as breathing, blinking, hormonal regulation, and digesting food – all without your conscious knowledge. Other significant choices are often done by habit. Your breakfast choices, the commute to work, driving and your weekly shop – these are all activities often delegated to unconscious decision making or habitual behaviour.
The potential to better understand what drives people’s behavioural patterns and how they can be moved to safer behaviour via the principle of nudging is often overlooked by the safety and compliance experts.