Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tweak the topic...or not

It’s been a day of reading and re-rereading studies, and paying close attention to the suggestions for future research.  These are gold nuggets to me right now or maybe like Jack’s magic beans.  I’m hoping an idea for a new dissertation topic grows before Friday.  

So, I will list some vocab words for me today.  Some of these I knew but they were used unusually, so I looked them up again to see if there were other meanings.

presage - omen; sense of something to come
propensity - tendency, proclivity
proximal - near
salient - noticeable; striking
conjunctive - connective
iatrogenic - caused by a doctor or medical treatment
devolution - delegating power or responsibility

One topic area that was interesting is in the area of auditing safety.  Safety auditing is important to perceptions of safety (safety culture creation and sustainance).  The big question in my mind is how to link auditing to information systems and technology.  Technology includes "know how".  The results of the audit will somehow be codified and hopefully used to improve the safety system.  Is all auditing part of some sort of management system?  Do we only audit what we plan to manage?  So, regarding safety audits - researchers think we need more research understanding how perceptions of audit procedures and practices influence safety climate.

Currently at work, I'm developing concepts for a near miss reporting system through research and discovery.  One group of researchers detailed a study about risk perceptions and their relationship with reporting injuries, first aids, and near misses.  They recommended for future researchers to repeat the study in a different geographic area, or focus on specific industries or occupations.  This is tempting, but again, how do I relate this to information systems and technology?  Does safety management count as technology?

One other idea - it does relate to information systems.  One researcher mentioned difficulty of near miss and safety systems because people under-report or do not report injuries and near misses because they don't want to be blamed, they fear they will lose their jobs, or they think management doesn't care.  In the case of near miss reporting, the researchers do not believe near misses should be reported anonymously.  It's important the reporter knows how and when the issue is addressed.  The researchers advocated using confidential reporting.  As an employee, how many of us trust our employer to keep things that are supposed to be confidential, confidential?  Is anything electronic truely anonymous?  Are comments submitted via handwritten paper or card going to result in more reports?  What about reports phoned in?  Maybe not so much - are pay phones too much of a thing of the past yet?  Surely somebody has done a study on this already!  This would apply to not only safety, but also ethics integrity.  The whistleblower law is ineffective because the whistleblower is forever marked and oftentimes can't find another job. 

Well, it's getting late.  I could be on this dang computer all night.  One more day off work tomorrow - last vacation day for the year.  Tomorrow, I will learn more.  MUCH MORE.  


Sarah Wood said...

Looks like you have a lot on your mind mommy.
It would be interesting to know how simply having a safety audit system in place affects actual safety, never mind what they do with the information.
Love you mommy!

KYLady said...

That would be interesting, but maybe not doable in this country. Any business that measures safety probably has good reasons to, and any business that has good reasons to is going to be subject to audits. It is very true that things are different just before and during an audit. Any business that may be subject to workman's comp claims is probably going to already be doing safety audits.