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Safety research in the 20th century. Have we made a difference?
Resnick ML; Braun CC; Waters Deppa S; Greene BL; Dejoy DL; Hsiao H; Mortimer RG
Proceedings of the IEA 2000/HFES 2000 Congress, Vol. 4, San Diego, CA, July 30-August 4, 2000. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2000 Jul; 4:356-359
Safety has been recognized officially as an important concern for over 100 years. The Railway Safety Act was enacted in the US in 1893. In 1908, U.S. Steel began a corporate safety program (Hammer, 1989). In order to satisfy the safety needs of both the industrial worker and the public, researchers have evaluated and investigated the principles of safety. Many publications have suggested that safety can be improved by applying a particular method or design. However, there has been some question as to whether many of the results of safety research are applicable in applied settings. Post-modernist thinking suggests that research must be conducted in the particular environment of its intended application to be appropriate. This "systems approach" has long been recognized in the Human Factors profession (Meister, 1988) in general, but not always applied in practice. A discussion among safety professionals at the 1998 Safety Technical Group Business Meeting questioned whether safety research has provided much of use to the design community. For example, studies have reported that ANSI Z535.3 standard warning icons are often not well understood by users (Deppa and Martin, 1997; Martin and Deppa, 1997). This is not a new debate in Human Factors (Boff, 1988; Rouse, 1987) but is critical as we set a research agenda for the new millennium. This panel addresses the progress of safety research over the past one hundred years. Panelists present their views on the applicability of safety research in several application areas, including safety warnings, consumer products, industrial workplaces, and automotive systems. Panelists represent academia, government and consulting. Particular attention is placed on the applicability of existing research in practice.
Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Safety-climate; Human-factors-engineering; Work-practices; Work-environment
Proceedings of the IEA 2000/HFES 2000 Congress, Vol. 4, San Diego, CA, July 30-August 4, 2000
CA; WV; FL; ID; MD; IL; GA
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division