Industrial Safety Hazard Reduction Through Performance Feedback
A "feedback package" system, designed to prevent occupational accidents and to fit directly into the normal operations of an industrial organization, was analyzed. Eighteen hazardous conditions in six production departments were assessed during seven observation sessions over a 12-week period, plus four follow-up observations over 4 months. The "feedback package" was presented in multiple baseline fashion, across subjects (department supervisors). It consisted of presenting the supervisor with copies of observational data, accompanied by a note which congratulated good practices and suggested ways for improving safety conditions, along with occasional comments from a senior executive. The results indicated that during the feedback phase, hazard rates were lower and less variable than during the baseline phase. Baseline data were highly variable with peaks ranging from 20 to 55 hazards per department. Following intervention, hazard frequencies dropped by 60%, averaged across departments, with decreases ranging from 29% to 88%. During treatment, data stabilized, with the highest frequency reaching 33. A modified feedback system was implemented by the organization following termination of the study, validating the assumption that such a system would tend to maintain.