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Safety Science Monitor

In 1987, Andrew Hale and I proposed a model of individual behaviour in the face of danger (Hale and Glendon 1987) - see figure 1. The model dealt with the sequence of events that we postulated occurred when an individual was faced with some sort of physical danger. Among other applications, the model has been used to analyse errors that resulted in occupational fatalities in agriculture (Glendon, Thomas and Booth 1997, Thomas 1997).

However, like many models, ours was based on the assumption that individuals behaved (more or less) rationally when confronted with danger - i.e. that they proceeded logically through a series of decisions and Safety in Action 25-28 February 1998 2 consequent actions. The model did not consider emotional aspects of risk taking, nor did it explicitly consider behaviour in respect of speculative risks - i.e. only pure risks were considered. While speculative risks (such as an investment) can have either (or both) positive and negative outcomes, pure risks (e.g. those associated with occupational hazards) can have only negative, or at best, neutral outcomes.

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