Date of Award

1983

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

Occupational safety continues to be a major social concern in spite of the attention which it has received over the years. While unsafe acts and behaviors have been major contributors to accidents, the attention paid to increasing safety by changing human behavior has only been sporadic. This study used an applied behavior analysis package of training, goal setting, and feedback as a behavioral approach to improving safety in an industrial setting. In addition, the effects of changing the frequency of feedback on safe behavior performance were investigated. All the employees in a plant engaged in the manufacture and repair of heat exchangers, were put through various phases of the above mentioned applied behavior analysis package. Safe behavior performance of the employees was monitored over the ten month duration of the study through behavioral observation and measurement. A variation and extension of the basic reversal (A-B-A) design was used to assess the effect of varying the frequency of feedback along with the other inverventions, namely, training and goal setting. Statistical analyses were performed through the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) analysis suitable for such time series data, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and comparison of means through Duncan's multiple range test and Tukey's method for pairwise comparison of means. Based on the results obtained, the following conclusions were arrived at: (1) It is possible to improve performance through a combination of training, goal setting, and feedback as a package of applied behavior analysis. (2) Providing feedback can help improve performance over and above the level achieved with only training and goal setting. (3) It may not be necessary for feedback to be as frequent as possible to sustain a given, desired level of performance. It is possible to sustain a desired level of performance with some optimum feedback frequency which may be less than the most frequent possible. (4) A behavioral approach to safety can complement a conventional, environmental approach in sustaining and enhancing the safety level in an organization.

Pages

123

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