Understanding Influences on Risks: A Four-Part Model

In “Understanding Influences on Risks: a Four-Part Model” by Terry L. Mathis and Shawn M. Galloway, the authors discuss a four-part model that effectively improves safety in organizations called the Risk Taking Influences Model. This model measures the influences of risk in the workplace that may cause hazards or injuries to workers.  By categorizing workers answers to “why” these risks are taking place, the model helps discover the reason for the risk.

The model suggests that there are four different influences on risk; perception, habit, obstacle and barriers. This is extremely helpful for companies when trying to prevent hazards and accidents from happening.  Supervisors can utilize this model by identifying the influence of risk and addressing the risk based on the influence. Rather than blaming a worker for the risk they are taking, supervisors can understand why the risk is taking place to take preventative actions in the future.  They can identify areas in their facilities where safety concerns with broken equipment, slippery flooring or dangerous work environments are causing workers to take risks.

One extremely effective use of the four-part model is for companies to understand the barriers or obstacles that workers may be facing and addressing these in order to prevent future incidents.  Barriers and obstacles are influences on risk that involve improper or broken machinery or hazardous areas in facilities.  Supervisors can take feedback from workers and use it to invest in safety features such as new machinery or products such as safety flooring or simply to provide reminders such as signs and risk training sessions for dangerous areas.

By utilizing the four-part model in their facilities, supervisors and safety leaders effectively communicate with their employees to understand safety risks within their facilities and can take preventative action to create a safe workplace environment.

Galloway, Shawn, M., & Mathis, Terry L. “Understanding Influences on Risks: a Four-Model.” EHS Today February 2010.

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