The title of this paper is the same as a new book/manual published by ASSE and coauthored by the author and his daughter, Krista S. Geller, Ph.D., who for a decade has worked as a safety professional for three organizations. Her real-world challenges at teaching and leading people-based safety informed the preparation of this book/manual. The label " book/manual" reflects the fact that this scholarship was designed to serve as a training manual for addressing the human dynamics of occupational safety. Seven critical lessons are explained and illustrated, accompanied by discussion questions and behavioral exercises with feedback opportunities. Here I review the seven life lessons on which our new book/manual is founded.
Suppose you were asked to define and explain the top seven lessons you have learned about the psychology of safety, whether from a course in introductory psychology or anything you've heard or read regarding the dynamics of human experience, including a behavior-based or people-based safety workshop. Don't choose the most memorable, important, or most researched lessons, rather choose those evidence-based lessons you believe should be taught and disseminated worldwide to benefit the human dynamics of safety, security, and quality of life. Which would you choose? Before reading further, it would be beneficial to ponder this question and derive your own list of seven life lessons. As you read, compare your list with those discussed here, noting similarities and discrepancies.
Obviously there's no universal answer to the question: " What are seven crucial life lessons from psychology that could benefit safety and human welfare on a large scale?" Answers will certainly be biased by personal experience, including idiosyncratic reading of diverse literature (including " pop psychology") and varied educational and/or research experiences at an educational or research institution and beyond. The seven life lessons presented here are derived from the author's intensive and extensive study of human dynamics–five years in graduate school and 48 years as a teacher and researcher of psychology at Virginia Tech (VT).
The first four lessons connect directly to applied behavioral science (ABS) and the remaining three life lessons reflect humanism, a realm of psychology considered by many to be opposite to behavioral science. In fact, some readers will consider the life lessons derived from humanism to be an overly " radical" departure from behaviorism. Yet, a primary aim of this presentation is to convince you that these life-lessons should be accepted and deemed important by everyone in a work culture, from safety professionals and CEO's to the line wage workers, regardless of bias toward a particular domain of psychological science.