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Recidivist risk takers who work at height

posted on 24.05.2006, 11:18 by Victoria HainesVictoria Haines, David Hitchcock, Zaheer Osman, Edward Elton, Maxine Craven, Michael Hussey
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE, 2003) around 70 people a year are killed as a result of a fall from height at work and a further 4,000 are seriously injured. Whilst the risk is repeatedly recognised, the reduction of accidents is hampered by individuals who acknowledge that they know and comprehend best practice, but fail to apply it in real life. It is highly likely that the majority of accidents could be avoided if individuals followed the safety procedures laid down for their protection. However, some other, as yet concealed and overriding, influence appears to modify behaviour so as to reduce the level of safety accepted. If this is under the jurisdiction of the individual, it may be accepted voluntarily. The motivations for this are unclear as yet, but may prove to be the most important element in accident causation. It is suggested that the cause is related to the individual’s capacity to predict the likelihood of low probability events, especially those believed to be under their control. Because of their inability to accurately assess the probability and the consequence of an accident occurring to them, they are unable to take appropriate safety measures. However, it is hypothesised that this attitude would shift if an individual is exposed to an accident and becomes fully aware of the possibility of their own involvement and the consequences of an accident.



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