How psychometric screening contributes to safe cultures

Since 2008, SafeWork Australia has sought to improve workplace health and safety (WHS) in Australia through initiatives like National Safe Work Month.

While there has been a decline in the number of work-related fatalities and worker’s compensation claims, there is still room for improvement with more than 3600 work-related fatalities in Australia since 2003.

Not only that, work-related injury and disease is estimated to cost the Australian community $61.8 billion every year in lost productivity, revenue and compensation.

To prevent more work-related deaths and injuries from taking place, Safe Work Month encourages employers to engage in safety discussions with their employees to get them thinking about safety on a regular basis.

But while these discussions are a great way to help encourage safe behaviours, such as taking the time to recognise hazards in the workplace and find ways to manage them, many businesses are now taking a more proactive approach to their WHS culture by using pre-employment assessments as a way of measuring a potential employee’s safety disposition.

In recent years, HVTC has adapted its recruitment process to incorporate psychometric screening tools that help assess whether a candidate is suitable for the role at hand. One of these tools is the GeneSys Health and Safety Indicator (HSI) assessment, which is delivered in partnership with OPRA Consulting.

The HSI assesses a range of ability and personality characteristics, which have been shown to relate to safe behaviour in the workplace, to identify health and safety risk factors in potential candidates.

HVTC Manager Human Resources & Safety, Executive, Janet Lee said these screening measures are particularly important when recruiting apprentices and trainees, who often have no prior experience in the environment they are going to be working in.

“Many applicants for apprenticeships and traineeships are green, meaning they are commencing work in an industry they have little to no understanding of, including a lack of awareness of the potential safety hazards,” she said.

“It is therefore essential that we use tools like the HSI to identify potential unsafe behaviours before people are offered work in high risk environments.

“GeneSys measures things like an individual’s capacity to understand and listen to instructions, attention to detail, understanding of safety and attitude towards adhering to rules, willingness to accept guidance and feedback and how they perceive and respond to safety hazards in their workplace.

“This enables effective people management by providing insights into how they understand and approach safety.

“This information then becomes an important resource when assessing a candidate’s suitability for the role, in addition to helping improve safe behaviours among existing employees.”

Since GeneSys was implemented at HVTC in 2013, the Total Injury Frequency (TIF) rate has decreased by 15% while suspension rates have also improved. Ms Lee said this was proof of the effectiveness of the assessment as part of a more holistic recruitment process.

“GeneSys is only one recruitment tool – it is important that we interpret the results alongside the candidate’s application, prior experience, their performance during the interview and reference checks,” she said.

“It is not to say that we won’t recruit someone just because of their feedback from the assessment, but it means we will have an understanding of their behaviour before they commence employment. This ensures both the employee and their supervisor have a greater understanding of their natural work style and subsequent supervision and training can be adapted to the individual to keep them safe.”

Thinking about hiring an apprentice or trainee? Call 1800 247 864 now to find out how HVTC can help you source the right candidate.

Illustration of recruiter looking at job application through microscope