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The Bradley Model

Bradley Model or Safety Journey

One of our clients in heavy engineering places a high value on safety training. The late John Duncan attended a presentation in which the Bradley Model was explained. Apparently this was developed by DuPont and is sometimes referred to as the Safety Journey. It can be applied in other cultural change situations too.

The model has three stages.

Control and supervision - In the first stage progress is made by the effective application of rules and procedures through control and supervision. If the management is strict, safety improves - but if the rules are relaxed safety deteriorates.

Self awareness - As the safety programme progresses, individuals become aware of their safety responsibilities and begin to make a personal commitment to safety; they set personal goals, taking personal responsibility and taking care of themselves. Management and supervision are less essential to the maintenance of safety levels.

Inter-dependence - The real goal, however, is the third stage in which individuals become inter-dependent. Teams make a commitment to safety; they set team goals and value each other. Team and individual identity becomes that of ‘my brother’s keeper’.

Here is a five step process for getting employees engaged in safety: -

  • Watch - get people’s attention, stop and talk with them

  • Give people some positive reinforcement

  • Ask people open questions such as

  • What are the consequences of what they are doing?

  • How can they affect the quality?

  • What could cause them to get hurt?

  • How do they ensure they don’t get hurt doing what they are doing?

  • Get the person’s agreement to continue to work safely or to agree to work differently

  • Thank them for talking to you.

  • This process seems simple to describe but is much harder in practice. Organisations that go through the process of introducing employee engagements into their business need to allow for people to be trained in the techniques and allow time for it to have an effect.

    The same concept can be applied to other cultural changes.

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