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The Mining Chronicle

Australian company Work At It Pty Ltd is helping organisations across all industries to identify risk takers and to help them develop their safety and quality awareness.

This process begins by using the ARM (Accident Risk Management) Questionnaire, which has been in use in this country for 10 years with some 100,000 participants.

Program director Mike Baker said, “a large number of companies are now far more at ease with this process given the studies that have been conducted, which show how accurate it is in terms of its ability to identify those most at risk”.

People with lower safety awareness levels are at much higher risk for accidents and injuries as research overwhelmingly demonstrates. Workers with lower safety awareness can be unaware or unconcerned about hazardous environments, safety systems, the need for or acceptance of safety procedures training, or the potential consequences of unsafe behaviour.

Research in Australia, New Zealand and the US across many industries has overwhelmingly demonstrated the ability of the Accident Risk Management Profile to identify the third of the population responsible for, on average, 75 per cent of accidents and 85 per cent of lost time due to injuries.

The primary problem for the high risk group is not lack of training, systems failure or equipment defects, but attitude problems, summed up as unwillingness to take responsibility for the management of their lives. Many professional researchers believe, and studies show, that between 91-96 per cent of all accidents are caused by human error rather than unsafe mechanical or physical conditions.

Work At It’s training facilitator Robert Jamieson said, “People do not have accidents on purpose - an accident on purpose is no accident.”

Many human error accidents are caused or contribed to by stress, distraction and fatigue; unsafe work practices; not maintaining or using equipment correctly; unnecessary risk taking; being unaware of hazards. “Accidents are unintended events. Therefore, there is
nothing to be achieved through attributing blame for accidents. Research clearly shows that most human error accidents are unintentionally caused by lack of safety awareness.

Accident Risk Management Profile (ARM)
Psychologists in the US throughout the 1980s identified three primary and two supplementary attitudinal factors that contributed to most human error accidents and injuries. A questionnaire containing 117 questions is used to survey employee attitudes on 5 individual scales, to measure the way individuals think about safety and quality. The end result is a profile on these individuals measuring their attitudes to safety control; risk avoidance; stress tolerance; driver attitude; and quality orientation.

The ARM Profile is able to identify those personnel at higher and lower risk for accidents, injuries and related performance factors. Most signficantly, the results clearly demonstrate that the measured factors (safety awareness beliefs, attitudes and behavioural orientation comprising the ARM Profile) are a major causal component in accident and injury outcome.
In short, lower safety awareness by on average one-third of personnel within a work place promotes a culture of non-compliance, undermining traditional company safety procedures, systems, policies and skills-based training initiatives.

Work At It conducted a Company Accident Risk Management Survey (CARMS) to assess the company safety culture at Ebenezer and to determine training needs. The company is now providing training to a pilot group to develop and increase safety attitudes in these individuals.
The benefits are to improve performance of high-risk individuals in particular, through training designed to avoid high-risk behaviours.

“We show them, in a skills environment, risky elements of their behaviour. As a training facilitator, we present this information to them in a non-threatening environment. We take them through a program where they draw this information out for themselves, without losing face.”
The company also installed the ARM Profile to be used in the Ebenezer pre-employment system as a means to assess safety attitudes before employment takes place. It enables management to train a person if needs be.

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