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CISDOC database

Document ID (ISN)107979
CIS number 08-486
ISSN - Serial title 0041-1868 - Travail humain
Year 2007
Convention or series no.
Author(s) Kouabenan D.R.
Title Uncertainties, beliefs and safety management
Original title Incertitudes, croyances et management de la sÚcuritÚ [in French]
Bibliographic information Apr. 2007, Vol.70, No.3, p.271-287. Illus. 32 ref.
Abstract Risky situations are situations mostly characterized by uncertainty. This review article starts with a description of the link between the notions of risk and uncertainty by stressing the fact that uncertainty is an important component of risk appraisal, and shows that what is called risk is in fact a social construct. It then shows that risk appraisal and accident explanation are opportunities particularly favourable to the expression of beliefs and causal inferences. The role of such beliefs and inferences is to fill the gap in scientific knowledge regarding risky situations. In face of this gap, people tend to use heuristics in order to reduce the uncertainty and to facilitate risk assessment. But many factors (cognitive, motivational, affective) lead to distortions in risk perception and accident explanation. They are either linked to the characteristics of the risk itself or to the characteristics proper to the perceiver or the explainer. These factors create illusions and false certainties in risk perception and accident explanation, which may lead to unsafe behaviours. Investigating these beliefs could be useful to design preventive messages and to influence more efficiently individual behaviours in favour of safety.
Descriptors (primary) safety consciousness; subjective assessment; plant safety organization; hazard evaluation; human factors
Descriptors (secondary) analysis of accident causes; causes of accidents; unsafe acts; human behaviour
Document type D - Periodical articles
Country / State or ProvinceFrance
Subject(s) Generalities
Broad subject area(s) Stress, psychosocial factors
Browse category(ies) Risk evaluation
Safety culture and safety consciousness
Psychological factors