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Employee Risk Perception

Managing Risk Perceptions

Aton Webb

Columbia Southern University


In Vladimir Ivensky article “Managing Risk Perceptions” he attempts to address risk perceptions, this is becoming one of the major concerns in a safety professional work life.  We will look closely at employee risk perception effect on the evaluation of residual risk and the choice of controls used to control risk associated with a hazard, what some problems that can arise in a workplace related to implementing too stringent controls, what some problems that can arise in a workplace related to implementing too lenient controls, and my opinions about methods to use to bring risk perceptions at a facility in line with actual risk and the controls that you would implement to reduce those risks, and finally how I  believe a safety professional should evaluate and explain residual risk and acceptable levels of residual risk to workers. 

Employees Risk Perception 

     How an employee perceives a risk will affect the evaluation of the choice of control that is used to mitigate the risks associated with the hazards. If an employee does not perceive that there is any heightened risk, there is little further evaluation and minimum controls put in place. However should the employee perceive that there is a greater risk involved then an in-depth evaluation is done and controls are put in place to mitigate this risk. We find that today the people entering the workforce have a lower risk perception then the previous generations.  Their view of the risk / reward allows them to take higher risks, whether this is in the work place or in their private lives.  With this the controls put in place become more difficult to manage, they will be ether perceived as too strict for some and too lenient for others. 

However when we implement controls that are too lenient we find that there is an outcry from the workforce, they are ether fearful of outraged at the lack of controls and the lack of safety support. On the other hand if the controls are too stringent the workforce will become annoyed and will have little support for the safety program. 

Both of these scenarios will result in a possible increase in the incident and injury rate, the balancing act between too little and too much has plagued both management and safety for years. We find as new requirements are added to the safety realm education of the work force is very important, without this educational phase buy in of the workforce in almost impossible. 

We find that by involving not only management but the workforce as well that during evaluation of the risks involved in any work scope will bring a “happy medium” to the controls that need to be put in place. When evaluations are done ion a silo the outcome is often swayed to ether to lenient or to stringent. Fall protection is a good example of this, many employees believe that  it is unnecessary when you are only preforming a short term task such as painting a ten foot wall, a step ladder should be sufficient.  However when you present examples of both life threating injuries from a six foot level they become more aware of the risks involved.   

A safety professional needs to look closely at the risks in the workplace, common sense is also a requirement. The risks need to be evaluated on the possible outcome, what is the worst thing that can happen.  The use of spotters when equipment is moving through a crowded area is a control for a risk that could have dire consequences, however the use of a spotter walking with a piece of equipment that is way from both people and other equipment puts the spotter at risk as now they are the hazard and there is a possibility that they could be harmed.  As you can see from this example, the risk must be carefully weighted to ensure that too stringent of controls are not put in place.   

Too ensure that the workforce understands why controls are put in place a good training program needs to be in place.  By educating the workforce on the risks they will be more comfortable with the controls; however you will still have those that will ether state that they have been doing it their way for years and have never been injured. This is the group that has a very high risk tolerance. To engage this group it may be necessary to use examples of incidents and injures that have taken place utilizing the method they are familiar with.  However it is only through continual education that you will be able to engage the entire workforce. 




In the article entitled, “Managing Risk Perception” of Vladimir Ivensky, he aims to inscribe the risk perceptions, which has became one of the vital concerns in a safe and secure workplace. If the effects are viewed from the employee risk perception upon the assessment of the remaining risk and the prevention measures used to manage the hazard associated risks. Then, some of the workplace related problems may arise in the execution of mild or severe controls. There should be some methodologies used to conduct the risk perceptions at a provision level with few authentic risks and controls implemented to reduce them. Being a professional, I believe a safe workplace should assess and signify the residual risk and its sustainability to the workers.

Employee Risk Perception

It is very essential for an employee to identify a risk that may affect the assessment of the choice of power or control used to reduce the hazard associated risks. The employee must recognize the greater risk involved in the depth evaluation and whether the prevention measures are taken to reduce those risks. When the control kept in place becomes more difficult to manage and execute, they will be conscious as too lenient for some and too strict for others. However, when we examine that if the controls are too strict then the employees will be irritated and get less involved in the safety procedures. On the other hand, if the controls are too lenient, we find that there is an exclaimed protest from the employees, they are either scared of violation at the shortage of controls and the safety support. Both of these situations will lead to a definite rise in the injury and the incident rate, as the balance between much more and much less has afflicted the safety and the management.

Specific hazards may occur by some minor errors in risk perceptions that ultimately lead to the misallocation of the supply resources and the difference in the views or opinions among the members of the team project in an organization. Therefore, it is essential to achieve a correct and shared vision of required prevention measures and project hazards within a project team for an effective organization. In this way, there will remain a soothing and cooperative environment between the team members and the organization.

We find that new needs are included to the safe surface of the workforce is extremely necessary otherwise the educational point buy of the workforce would be impossible without this. We find that including not only the whole team but also the management during the risk assessment associated with any work scope will bring a “happy medium” to containment necessary to put in place. When an assessment is done on a silo the end result is often oscillated either to compliant one or to a rigid one. A good example of this is fall protection; a lot of workers think that a step ladder would be enough to paint a ten-foot wall which is a short term task. Although when you give examples of life-threatening damage from a six-foot level, they all become more alert to the risks involved.

Common sense is a necessary requirement that a safety professional needs to look deeply at the risks in an organization. All the possible hazards need to be assessed on the probable results such as worst thing that can occur. Use of spotter when equipment is making a move in a crowded area that could have ill consequences is a measure of risk, nonetheless use of a spotter moving with a piece of equipment that is from both the people and different other types of equipment puts the spotter at a threat because right now they are the threat and it may possibly get harmed. From this example, you can see that the threat needs to be closely weighted in order to ensure that extremely rigid controls are not properly placed.

A good training program is required to be in place as it is necessary to make the workers to understand. The workers need to be educated on the risks and hazards in order to make them more comfortable with the controls, but still, you will have such workers who will say that they have following their path for ages but they never got injured. This group is the one that has the highest risk tolerating capacity. It can become a necessity to use examples of accidents, incidents, and injuries which have taken place by using the way they are familiar with in order to employ this group. Nonetheless, you will only be able to employ the entire workforce through continual education.

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