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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #371
Behavioral Safety in the laboratory and in applied settings
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 221 AB
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: Injuries in the workplace result in human suffering and expenses to organizations and society at large. It is important that behavior analysts apply their techniques to this important problem. This symposium will be comprised of four data-based presentations. Two presentations will be delivered on intervention research, and one presentation will be delivered on how to develop and analyze injury data in the design phase of a behavioral safety process in a human services setting. The final presentation will be on the adaptation of delay discounting methodology to occupational risk taking.
A Behavior-Based Safety Approach to Tracking Injuries: Development of a Comprehensive Database
SAMANTHA HARDESTY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Ryan Schwerzmann (The Marcus Institute), Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: Health care workers are at increased risk of work-related injuries, with the leading cause of injury being physical assault by aggressive patients (Calabro & Baranuik, 2003). A behavior-based safety approach focusing on behavioral observation, formal review of data, setting improvement goals and reinforcement for attaining goals can aid in reducing occupational injuries (McSween, 1995). The current study describes the use of a Microsoft Access database to track and analyze staff injuries within a 16-bed inpatient unit for children (aged 3-21 years) hospitalized for the assessment and treatment of severe aggressive and destructive behavior. Injuries were described and entered into the database for approximately 150 clinical staff responsible for the daily care and safety of patients. Specifically, data were collected on the type, severity, and outcome of the injury. In addition, data were collected on patient characteristics (e.g., height, weight, age, diagnoses, etc.). Data will be presented on the relationship between injuries and variables such as patient physical characteristics, diagnosis, and the presence and absence of personal protective equipment. The construction of a comprehensive data tracking system represents an initial step directly in line with the goals of a behavior-based safety strategy, thus allowing for the identification of variables maintaining injuries. Future implications include the development of antecedent and reinforcement-based interventions to reduce injuries in healthcare settings.
The relationship between the number of peer safety observations and recordable incidents: Data revisited and expanded (2001-2008)
ANGELA R. LEBBON (Western Michigan University), Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Tarek Abousaleh (Western Michigan University), John Austin (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: During the course of a Behavior-Based Safety implementation in a food and drink industry site, data were collected on both the number of recordable incidents and peer observations. Employees were trained to discriminate between safe and unsafe behavior, conduct peer observations, and provide verbal feedback to peers. Two employees were selected each week to conduct safety observations on work surroundings and behavior that could potentially result in injury. Data collected from peer observations were utilized to deliver graphic feedback to employees on the percentage safe for work surroundings and behavior. Periodically, managers reviewed graphic feedback with employees, praised employees for conducting observations, and reminded employees to conduct observations. In addition to safety observations and feedback, a monthly lottery was conducted for employees that conducted safety observations. Visual analysis was utilized to examine the relationship between conducting peer observations and the number of recordable incidents. Additionally, a Pearson correlation between peer observations and incidents was -.68. Results suggest that when employees conduct peer observations more frequently, the number of recordable incidents decreases and furthermore, when managers do not support and encourage peer observations, maintaining employee involvement is difficult.
Using video feedback and self-monitoring to improve work posture in an applied setting
BRANDON RING (University of Maryland - Baltimore County), Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Mick J. Needham (Johns Hopkins University), James H. Boscoe (Johns Hopkins University), Kenneth Silverman (Johns Hopkins University)
Abstract: Musculo-skeletal disorders may result in human pain suffering, and come at a great expense to organizations. Improving posture at employee workstations can decrease the risk of musculo-skeletal disorders. Data were collected on posture of three participants at their own workstations. An intervention package consisting of 1) visual discrimination training of correct vs. incorrect target postures, 2) live video feedback of target posture, and 3) self monitoring of target posture at mock work station. While participants could reliably demonstrate correct posture at mock workstation, results suggested that intervention effects observed at participants’ own workstations were temporary in nature.
Applying a Delay Discounting Paradigm to Occupational Safety: Discounting Risk as a Function of Response Cost
SIGURDUR OLI SIGURDSSON (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Oliver Wirth (CDC/NIOSH)
Abstract: Delay discounting is said to occur when an organism prefers an immediate smaller reward over a delayed larger reward. High rates of discounting are said to reflect impulsive responding. Impulsivity and the delay-discounting paradigm have been linked conceptually to risk taking and safety in occupational settings, but these links have not been explored empirically. We hypothesized that an established delay-discounting procedure can be modified to obtain a measure of risk taking in an occupationally relevant scenario, and that this measure of risk taking is associated with impulsivity. Participants were exposed to a modified adjusting delay-discounting task in which they made a choice between two hypothetical scenarios over repeated trials. Participants were asked to choose the scenario in which they would be more likely to engage in a safe behavior (wearing a safety harness while working on a roof). Each scenario varied parametrically across trials in level of risk (distance between roof and ground) and response effort associated with the safe behavior (time required to prepare and don the safety harness). Depending on the participant’s choice on each trial, the level or risk was adjusted up or down to obtain an indifference point. Participants also completed an established general measure of impulsivity, the Balloon Analog Risk Task, for comparison. Results revealed that discounting of risk was correlated with impulsivity, but individual rates of discounting were mixed. Results show that this procedure is promising for identifying and studying factors that influence occupational risk-taking behavior. It also can be easily modified to study risks in different industries and workplace scenarios.



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