Campus Health and Safety
An Interim Report on Pre-occupancy Indoor Environmental Quality Survey for the Lee Shau Kee Business Building
Why Don't Safety Programs Work Well?
July 2013
Why Don't Safety Programs Work Well?

Many departments or offices have spent a lot of resources to improve safety, usually by controlling hazards, installing and implementing safety management programs. However, the effectiveness of the current safety management approach is in question!  This approach has brought some significant improvements in safety over the years but it seems hard to prevent similar accidents from recurring!

What are the reasons?

  1. The value of safety is not in mind! 
  2. There is not enough concern in individual attitude and behaviour towards safety.
  3. Poor safety culture in departments/offices.
  4. Extra money and manpower are usually needed to achieve safety so people just leave it.
How to improve safety performance in your departments/offices?

Safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management. [Successful Health and Safety Management (HSG65)]  At your place of work, cultivating a positive safety culture could help to change individual’s personal beliefs, attitude and behaviour towards safety in a positive way. 
Perception of risk influences individual behavior towards safety at work. Each individual behaves in accordance with the way how he/she perceives work situations, processes and fellow workers in the department/office. In reality, safety perception of those at management or supervisory level will definitely form the basis for the safety behavior of their colleagues, students and contractors.
Individual may have different level of risk perception which is mainly influenced by internal factors and external factors shown on the following diagram.

Source: Andrea Csontos, From Risk Perception to Safe Behaviour, Deloitte.
            June 2006, p.8. 




No matter you are working in the lab or non-lab workplace environment, you should be aware of the following that may affect the magnitude of perceived risk:

--  familiarity breeds complacency

--  lower perceived risk towards controllable hazards


  • Staff at management/supervisory level should focus more on the culture of safety and human behavioural issues at the workplaces. 
  • Put "safety" as a core VALUE! It should be equally important with other key factors in your operations. 
  • You should work closely with your partners in developing and maintaining the best safety management practice. 
  • Take a "self-regulatory” approach in managing safety at your workplaces. 
  • Appoint right people for the implementation of departmental safety programs.
  • Well define safety roles and responsibilities for stakeholders.
  • Cultivate a positive safety culture! 
  • Never hurry at work.