www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/14060-research-analyzes-brain-centered-hazards
brain centered hazards

Photo: DEKRA Insight

Research analyzes ‘brain-centered hazards’

May 11, 2016

Oxnard, CA – Your brain could be a workplace hazard, according to a white paper from DEKRA Insight and its strategic partner, RoundTheClock Resources Inc.

Released May 10, “Brain-Centered Hazards: Risks & Remedies” states that by applying the lessons of neuroscience to human performance in the workplace, researchers have found that organizational structures do not always align with the way the human brain functions.

Author Susan L. Koen said brain-centered hazards usually are described as “human errors.” She said leaders should consider brain science when organizing or designing their worksites. Communication also plays a factor. For example, workers might interpret leaders’ urgent tones to mean that work needs to be finished quickly, no matter what. Koen advises leaders to use reliable messaging such as, “Take your time so you do the task right the first time,” which encourages workers to focus on a project’s high-quality execution rather than its speed.

“A great deal of progress in personal and process safety has been made through effective identification of hazards,” Koen said in a press release announcing the white paper. “But what if potential hazards are housed in the human brain? And, what if these brain-centered hazards are exacerbated by the fact that critical organizational elements – including work environments, technological interfaces, operating procedures, work schedules and even work cultures – are not aligned with how the human brain actually works?”

Organizations needed to adapt in order to best protect their workers, the white paper suggests.

“Companies cannot continue with operations-as-usual that leave brain-centered hazards unidentified or unaddressed,” Koen said in the release. “Instead, new brain-aligned operational and safety defenses must be instituted to reduce exposures to these hazards.”