Safety Training With The "WHY" In Mind

All the Safety Systems are in place... So WHY are we Still having Incidents

At Alpheta Training our work takes us into construction sites, oil refinery's, utilities sites, nuclear power stations, call centers, schools and clients working in a host of other environments.

Common to all of them is that they have robust safety systems in place to keep the workforce safe, but they are "still having incidents" and at times, fatalities, which leads to the question "WHY".

As a training company specialising in behavioural, cognitive and social psychology we know incidents often occur because we have very little awareness of our conscious and subconscious mind, how they operate and WHY they can't be relied upon to keep us safe.

We believe that when we have an understanding of WHY our mind is unreliable and will let us down both at work and home, we can then bring in strategies to stack the safety odds in our favour.

What's in a session

Alpheta run bite size, full day or bespoke sessions that give an understanding of the conscious and subconscious mind and the reason "WHY" we still have incidents, even though we have the systems and procedures in place to keep us safe.

In the sessions we use easy to understand examples from the workplace and home environment, to highlight the vulnerabilities of the mind, so you are left thinking...  "that makes sense".

The feedback from the sessions is excellent as they are engaging and fun as we draw upon basic behavioural, cognitive and social psychology to explain the big question... WHY we still have incidents.

Once the WHY is understood and makes sense, we can then look at putting in place strategies to keep yourself, colleagues and family safe.

Get in touch for more details

Alpheta Training Sessions

All of our training and development solutions are driven by you and tailored around your specific requirements. From essential courses that help to develop core skill sets, to bespoke advanced courses crafted to suit particular training needs.

  • Byte Size Workshops

    Fast-paced engaging sessions give delegates a basic psychological understanding of why incidents happen in the workplace and leave with solutions to everyday challenges.

  • Bespoke Workshops

    Whatever your challenges, we’ll create a workshop tailored to your needs. Practical, motivational, and 100% relevant to your organisation.

  • Individual And Group Coaching

    If you want a deeper understanding of the psychological drivers that underpin individual behaviour and safety culture, together with coaching models to spread the word, then this workshop does just that.

Have you ever thought you were losing your memory?

Within the sessions we look at some of the day to day things we do, but don't know WHY they happen. Has anyone explained the reason WHY we forget where we put our keys or WHY we drive on autopilot.

How about names, it can be embarrassing, you walk into a meeting with clients or get introduced to a couple of new members of your team. Your attention is on other issues, then 30 seconds later you turn to the new member of your team and their name has gone and its just not coming back. Apologies follow and your new team member or client feels valued... NOT.

Happens to all of us, so here is a way out of feeling embarrassed... Just ask this question when you realise you have forgotten their name. Ask them "do you ever forget peoples names" and they WILL reply YES. Then say "well I have just forgotten yours" Takes away that awkwardness every time because we all do it.


Now everyone can relate to this no matter what age. I have delivered to thousands of people and seen them nodding to themselves in agreement time and time again.

It's like when you go into your bathroom positive you're finally going to clean your bath, only to walk out a few minutes later holding your mouthwash, ready to watch Netflix for the night — then find yourself feeling frustrated in the morning because lo and behold, your bath is still dirty.

You may think that you didn’t pay enough attention, or too much time passed, or it just wasn’t important enough. Even worse you may start having thoughts like "am I losing it".

There is a theory that says when we walk through a door, we experience a divide in our memory. We believe the reason is a lot more simpler than that because you can't rely on your conscious mind (short term memory) to remember a lot of information as it gets full very quickly.

These are just a couple of examples from everyday life to show that we can't fully rely on our conscious mind (short term memory). We could add forgetting where you put your keys, looking for your glasses when they are on your head, opening the top cupboard door when putting your shopping away then banging your head on that same door.

How your conscious mind can let you down

  • You see a hazard and convince yourself that you'll remember to move or clean it up.

    You have every intention to move or clean up the hazard, but decide to leave it till later.

  • Your phone goes and you're given a lot of information about another urgent job.

    Now your conscious mind has a lot more to remember, so in danger of forgetting about the hazard .

  • More info, your conscious mind is now full and you've forgotten all about the hazard.

    Someone slips or trips on the hazard and it’s now an incident with all the hassle.

It's not all bad as over 95% of the time we will remember to put things away after us, clean up, make areas safe. But incidents don't happen 95% of the time, they happen when we try and rely 100% on our memory.

What goes on in the subconscious?

The subconscious mind is the part of the mind which carries out all of the things you don’t think about consciously i.e. they happen automatically on autopilot without your conscious attention. Internal processes such as beliefs, emotions, habits and automatic behaviours are controlled by the subconscious mind. It's a large storehouse of information as it is where your long term memory resides, however it's not so clever... it just does what you tell it to do through repetition.

I'm guessing that if you drive then you will of experienced this phenomenon many times and just taken it for granted as "well it just happens".

You get into the car, start it up then the next thing you know, you're in a familiar car park, one that you have driven to time and time again.

You have arrived in the car park having navigated traffic lights, roundabouts, road signs and avoided knocking over any pedestrians.

Then you realise that you can't remember any of the journey, it was all done on autopilot driven from the subconscious. Now often that has happened without having any understanding of WHY and how you have dropped into that semi trance state which can be quite scary if you think about it.

That's the reason why there are rumble strips on the motorway... to wake drivers up.

How the driving route gets into the subconscious

  • You start a new job and have a 30 minute journey to travel.

    At first you may take a couple of wrong turns or even get lost, but get there in the end.

  • You then start to get used to the journey, but you still have to think about the route.

    Your now driving day after day and start transferring the route into your subconscious.

  • Now your on autopilot and realise that you are now driving to work without thinking.

    Through the process of repetition you have the journey embedded within your subconscious.

The subconscious can be helpful but can also trip us up

The subconscious part of the mind can be really helpful in doing day to day routine tasks in the workplace and at home, be it making a coffee, brushing your teeth or getting dressed.

Operating from the subconscious state can also be relaxing, a place where we can recharge ourselves. It's also know to be a very creative space and one where ideas can flourish.

However, we need to be aware that incidents happen because the subconscious can and does trip us up at times. This is because we enter a daydream type of trance state known as alpha (linked to brainwaves).

When in this day dreaming state we can do tasks without thinking, which can be a good thing. However, we can also walk onto a job and not realise or even see the dangers. Incidents like falling down holes, tripping up, bumping into objects, hitting fingers with hammers and doing unsafe tasks can all be put down to being in this mental state.

In the training sessions we make you aware of the subconscious and how it can catch us out, so that you can use some counter strategies to keep yourself and colleagues safe.

Safety conversations can be difficult

Many organisations that we work with believe they have a positive "walk over culture" and this is often highlighted within the induction video or talk that may take place when entering a site.

A walk over culture means that anybody can, will and does approach anyone on site and engage in a conversation about safety.

The conversation can be to intervene when they observe an unsafe act or to give positive feedback  to someone when they are doing a good safe job.

To some, as easy as this sounds it can be difficult to carry out and the research says it's even more difficult if the person you are looking to have a safety conversation with is a work mate.  So the truth of the matter is that through many anonymous surveys we have found that there are barriers to having safety conversations which we address in our positive communication sessions.

Why we feel the way we do when asked to attend a safety session

Having run countless safety sessions, the reality is that you don't come across many people who get excited when you mention the word "safety" and really want to be there, unless maybe its pouring with rain outside or they are missing out on a task they don't like doing.

The truth is that many people have an automatic anti-safety subconscious programme running, so when you mention the word safety it brings up a host of negative feelings.

These feelings are often deep rooted and have been re-enforced over time maybe with the way they have been treated in the workplace.

It's not uncommon when an incident has occurred for companies to move into a blame culture, there may be a fear around reporting near misses, feelings of being policed and spied upon unappreciated even patronised at times, which can all lead to these internal feelings.

Truth is though that we often take for granted the measures that have been put in place within the daily things we do to keep us safe, plane inspections, electrical checks, food standards and many more. So safety is actually a great thing although it may not feel that way.


Get in touch if you would like to have a chat about your specific requirements

Some of the many clients where our trainers have delivered sessions