Nature and Nurture for Safety: Part 1

There is plenty of debate of the exact science, implications, and magnitude of nature and nurture.

To summarize for the sake to time and sanity, there are certain traits that people are born with that can hold some influence over who they are. Nurture comes in to whether or not a person chooses to go with or against their nature.

Nature is not a bad thing. Sometimes the traits we are born with are something we should nurture and use for the purpose of being better. Someone who is born with a naturally athletic build and then uses nurture to improve to become great at their talent should be encouraged.

For the discussion of safety, some may have a natural tendency to weigh risk and adapt a healthy approach to that risk. Or someone, may be completely prone to high risk taking with little thought. This is where  a robust safety attitude of an organization makes the impact.

Slide1

There are many ways safety of an organization and at a very personal level can make big differences. An organization should be aware of the implications of not having a consistent and positive safety system in place. Do not confuse positive safety system with “warm fuzzy.” A good safety system is a proper balance of rights, responsibilities, training, education, accountability, ownership, consistency, and compassion.

So in other words the simplistic terms of “positive” and “negative” are much more robust in connotation through this set of discussions. A negative aspect of someone’s nature in regards to safety does not necessarily mean they are blatantly dangerous nor does a negative safety nurture mean a company is trying to overtly hurt people. There are many nuances and variations that can be in play with this very complex topic (see first paragraphs). The goal is to simply look at a very high level the outcome of when nature and nurture come together in the evolution of an occupational safety schema.

I am simply going to define nature as the way someone is before they enter the workplace in regards to safety. Nurture will be defined as the safety environment of the organization.

Nature can only be positive or negative while nurture can be positive, negative, or non-existent. A non-existent nurture is simply an organization that neither has fully embraced a total safety culture nor has it completely ignored safety. It is organization safety purgatory which could also be defined as an organization that feels it is “good enough” and has no reason to make or seek improvement to safety systems or culture.

Now that the terms have been defined as much as can be for such a topic, here is what it will represent for the upcoming discussions:

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