Training Construct vs. Behavioral Construct

Discussion in 'Safety - General Safety Issues' started by Michael S Landa, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Michael S Landa

    Michael S Landa Industry Observer

    The NATE ‘Star Program’, like so many other programs, assumes training, or the lack thereof, is a determinant of safety outcomes. If you buy into that assumption you would have to also conclude that the plethora of third party training currently available has failed to curb the number of fatalities. Having demonstrated mastery of a safety procedure during training, it is only reasonable to conclude that the decision not to behavior the same on a job site must have been a conscious decision.

    Training is defined as the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies which result from the teaching of that knowledge and those skills and competencies. Training today largely consists of certification which has largely been driven by effort to minimize risk and reduce insurance costs. I do agree training serves a purpose in skill development but it does not improve safety. There is a second construct which more accurately explains falls from elevation; risky behavior. Risky behavior is any behavior where the worker knew or should have known, has been trained in, or a behavior is codified, regardless of authority and knowingly and willingly fails to comply.

    I have examined the available public domain data in the OSHA accident database on multiple occasions and conclude that 66 percent or more of all falls from elevation were a result of risky behavior. Where risky behavior was defined as elevated workers not utilizing available safety equipment or not using the safety equipment properly, not using approved anchor points, riding load lines with loads, riding synthetic rope and being hoisted on non-man rated winches including capstans or any other violation of generally accepted safety practices. In one study I found over ninety seven percent of all fatalities studied resulting from falls from elevation from communications towers can be traced to risky behavior, 68 percent were categorized as failure to maintain continuous tie-off.

    Even the popular press seems to recognize the importance of risky behavior, “The majority of fatalities are the result of climbers not being tied off to a safe anchorage point at all times or relying upon faulty personal protection equipment” (Lekutis, 2006).

    The NATE ‘Star Program’ initiative requirements may provide workers with additional skills but it will not measurably improving safety. Where there an occupational qualification record that followed workers around from employer to employer would permit the gaining employer to objectively evaluate the prospective employees’ skill level, certification levels and safety record.

    Lekutis, C. (2006, February 7). Can You Hear Me Now? Occupational Hazards. Retrieved February 6, 2010 from
  2. The Estimator Webmaster

    The Estimator Webmaster Administrator Staff Member

    We just did some site upgrades , including plotting our database of tower related fatalities that tracks the last 8 years. The comparison of job posting trends we see on the WirelessEstimator help wanted board vs annual fatality rates is quite interesting. The timeframes are slightly different due to fatality tracking started before the job board.

    For live views of charts in the image below:
    see US Tower Fatality Tracker
    see WiressEstimator Hiring Trends

    Job posting chart shown was last updated July 2011

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