Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Symposium #79
Behavioral Safety: Applications to Ergonomics
Friday, November 30, 2001
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Carnelutti Hall
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Beth Ann L. Foate (Auburn University)
Discussant: Beth Sulzer-Azaroff (Browns Group)
Abstract: Organizational behavior managers have developed behavioral safety technologies that have been proven effective in reducing both the frequency and severity of traumatic injuries. However, there have been few applications of derivatives of the principles of behavior to ergonomic injuries. Such injuries are among the most prevalent in work world wide and they intimately involve behavior. This symposium will focus on ergonomic safety problems and illustrate ways in which behaviors that are important to ergonomic injuries can be pinpointed and controlled. Special emphases will be placed on common-place kinds of ergonomic injuries.
Science and Office Behavior: Using the Science of Human Behavior to Improve Ergonomics
JOHN AUSTIN (Western Michigan University), Alicia M. Alvero (Western Michigan University), Jennifer L. Madden (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: We will present the findings of two experiments of ergonomic behavior in a simulated office setting. Both studies measured the impact of various interventions on each of eight ergonomic behaviors (i.e., hand-wrist position when typing; posture; etc.). Both studies used multiple baseline designs across 2 sets of 4 behaviors each, counterbalanced between two groups of participants. Experiment I examined the effects of scoring the behavior of a confederate (shown on a 5-min video) on the ergonomic performance of participants when they performed the same office tasks as the confederate in the video. When compared to baseline safety and to a condition, in which participants were exposed to behavioral definitions of target behaviors, the results strongly suggest that observing video (using a detailed behavioral checklist) changes the behavior of the observer. Experiment II added a comparison condition under which participants were exposed to feedback (based on performance during the previous session) on the percent safe of the target behaviors at the start of each session. Results of Experiment II were equivocal: Both observing and receiving feedback seemed to have behavior change capacity. We speculate that the causal mechanisms differ between the conditions, however.
Behavioral Ergonomics in Italy
VINCENZO RUSSO (Libera Universita de Lingue e Comunicazione)
Abstract: Many ergonomic problems are thought to result from behaviors that involve massed repetitions of extreme deviations of joints against resistances. If these assumptions are correct, it should be possible to conduct task analyses for specific jobs to determine the tasks that require the suspect behaviors. Once the behaviors are identified, it should be possible to train workers and their supervisors to identify the targeted behaviors and engage in behaviors that reduce the hazards either by changing the tasks or the suspect behaviors. This approach, called behavioral ergonomics has been applied to sites with varying tasks and behaviors. Reliable data indicate that the target behaviors can be observed and changed with behavioral training and motivation methods.



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