Workplace Safety : the Preventive Role of Personality Assessments
Despite continuous efforts by industrials, companies and governments, workplace accidents persist across the European Union and workplace safety is still a big problem for most of the companies.
Perspective on Workplace Safety in Europe
Between 2010 and 2019, the European Union registered approximately 27,041 workplace fatalities. Current trends suggest that some countries, such as France and Spain, may never achieve a zero fatal accident goal. Moreover, accidents resulting in 4 or more days of work cessation remain common, with countries like Germany and France reporting 766,192 and 623,654 incidents respectively in 2020!
Analysis of Workplace Accident Trends
More surprising, the data does not show a constant decrease. For instance, Ireland experienced a rise in non-fatal accidents from 14,088 in 2016 to 22,125 in 2017, then a drop to 12,073 in 2020. These fluctuations indicate that current workplace safety approaches might not be sufficient or consistently applied. The context of the jobs in question and related industries certainly plays an important role: it is surprising not to see these figures decreasing steadily given the investments made by industrial companies in training, prevention, audits, etc. for many years.
Personality Assessment to Anticipate Risks
The statistics underline the need for proactive prevention and thorough evaluation of risk factors. Among these factors, the impact of personality on workplace safety is increasingly recognized. Evaluation tools such as the Hogan Safety Test can play a significant role in improving workplace safety.
In this context, the importance of personality assessment as a preventive factor comes into play. Tools such as the Hogan Safety Test evaluate six potentially risky behaviors that could lead to workplace accidents.
For example, the Safety report could highlight the profile of a coworker more likely to bypass safety rules, thinking they know better. Another individual might not take potential hazards seriously. This information can assist managers in identifying additional training areas or revising task distribution to minimize risks.
By identifying workers likely to take unnecessary risks or not comply with safety protocols, employers can implement targeted and proactive prevention strategies. This includes conducting additional training, carrying out regular safety inspections, and even reassigning certain tasks if necessary.
The Safety report is also increasingly used in selection processes: the best way to avoid risk is not to recruit someone who is unaware of the risk they pose to their colleagues, themselves, and their company.
Going Beyond: Anticipating Risks at All Levels
It’s crucial to understand that risks are not confined to certain positions or hierarchical levels. Individuals at all levels of the organization can contribute to a safer or riskier work environment, depending on their behavior. A comprehensive personality assessment could be undertaken at all levels of the organization, especially when it is faced with significant safety issues. This holistic approach can help create a stronger, more consistent safety culture throughout the company.
The Call to Action for Enhanced Workplace Safety
In the face of these challenges, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has issued a call to action. Their manifesto calls for an increase in health and safety training, more regular inspections, and appropriate sanctions for non-compliances. The emphasis is on the need to act rather than discuss – a call that should resonate in all organizations.
Workplace accidents remain a major concern across Europe, requiring proactive action to reverse current trends. Personality assessment tools, such as the Hogan Safety Test, offer a valuable means to anticipate risks and strengthen workplace safety. When paired with more in-depth training, regular inspections, and appropriate incentives, they can contribute to making EU workplaces safer environments for all.