Health & Safety Review Article

Making Safety Personal MSP™ – a new Irish-developed behavioural safety training programme

Behavioural safety is a buzz term in the OSH world, given that research by the UK Health and Safety Executive has found that human factors are a contributory cause in 80% of workplace accidents.

Over the years, HSR company profiles record that many of Ireland’s most successful businesses have adopted behavioural safety programmes. While there are Irish-developed behavioural safety programmes, many Irish OSH practitioners have spoken about the difficulty of finding a behavioural safety programme that meets their company’s needs.

Now two Irish health and safety professionals, who are convinced believers in the role of behavioural safety can play in improving safety performance, have developed a behavioural safety training programme, which they brought to the market early this year.

The two, Michael O’Connor and Alan Hardiman, drawing on years of experience as health and safety professionals, have over the past couple of years developed a programme, Making Safety Personal MSP™

The distinguishing factor in the Making Safety Personal MSP™ programme is the word ‘personal’. The aim is to influence and improve personal behaviours. Among the elements of the programme that focus the mind on safe behaviours are ‘work to live, ‘right first time’ and ‘pausing for safety’.

Other elements of the training programme are the wellness module and the link from poor quality, which means to work has to be done again. This, Michael O’Connor says, leads to the “two-minute task”, where safety and planning are not always top of the agenda.

Trainer’s message can fade

As an experienced health and safety professional, O’Connor says one of the problems with behavioural safety training programmes can be that while initially the message is delivered, then it fades when the trainer is gone.

O’Connor and Hardiman say the MSP™ programme offers a 12-month follow-up programme, which reinforces and embeds the key messages and concepts of MSP™, both in the company’s and the worker’s culture. This, both say, creates lasting effects leading to continuous improvement. It is not, O’Connor says about “policing people to work safely”. Behavioural safety is about giving individuals, “the mental equipment and purpose to think and act safely”.

If a company decides to undertake the MSP™ programme, it can be aligned to the company’s needs. The initial stage is that MSP™ is rolled out to management. The internal trainers are trained to deliver the programme. This, the developers say, ensures cost certainty. Then the monthly objectives and course content are agreed. The course can be delivered by the in-house trainers.

However, O’Connor and Hardiman stress they are not gone but are on hand provide advice and guidance. They stress this is a key element of the MSP™ programme. And if the company wants, they will come in and work directly with the company on the training and monthly modules.

The background to developing Making Safety Personal MSP™

As noted, both O’Connor and Hardiman are health and safety professionals. O’Connor, who comes from a civil engineering background and holds a MBS in Safety and Health at Work, has worked with some of the country’s leading construction sector businesses. He has been a behavioural-based safety training presenter for the last 12 years.

Hardiman has experience across a range of industrial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, bio pharmaceuticals, retail, healthcare and education. He has been a behavioural safety trainer for eight years.

Drawing on their experience across the different industrial sectors and their experience in delivering safety-based training programmes, they came to believe that there is a need to make behavioural safety personal to individuals, so that they buy-in to the concept.

Asked about the cost of the programme, O’Connor points out that this depends on a number of factors. But he makes the point that by stopping one accident and the costs associated with that accident, MSP™pays for itself.

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