Psychology, Risk and Safety: Factors Influencing Risk Perception of Ironworkers

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Psychology, Risk & Safety
In his article, Mr. Dominic Cooper highlights four important factors that influence the perception of risk. Risk perceptions are determined by people’s personality, behavior, attitude, and situations (Cooper, 2003). However, a person’s personality and the situation encountered directly influence risk perceptions while the other factors have a contributing role.
Personality, for instance, is considered by the author as one of the main factors influencing the way people perceive risk. There are several types of personalities and each has a way of dealing with situations. Personality types, in part, dictate people’s behavior and attitude. Risk perception is therefore heavily influenced by the way
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This type of behavior is triggered by a combination of a worker’s personality and his attitude towards safety. Some examples of this unwanted behavior are irresponsible underestimation of risk, acceptance of unnecessary risk, acceptance of the risk homeostasis theory (cost minimization theory), zero-risk theory, and poor attitude towards safe practices. According to Irizarry and Abraham (2006), the best approach for this safety system failure is to develop safety-training programs that enhance risk perception.
Worker experience is also a factor that influences risk perception according to the study. It was determined that workers injured during an accident at work have, indeed, a higher risk perception. However, risk perception is diminished when workers are involved in accidents without suffering any injuries (Irizarry & Abraham, 2006). Another finding shows that risk perception is higher among those workers that do not conduct a particular task as opposed to those that do. Generally, the more experience a worker has, the more likely he will be involved in an accident and consequently, injured.
Finally, the authors expose the importance of a robust safety management system in order to augment risk perception in the work place. According to them risk perception is reduced by a poor safety
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