A project which has made a significant contribution to boosting safety levels in the workplace and preventing serious injures and fatalities has scooped top prize in the first-ever award for The Occupational Psychology Practitioner of the Year. The project, carried out by Ronny Lardner and Richard Scaife, of the Keil Centre, beat off the challenge of four other short-listed candidates in the inaugural competition, held by the Division of Occupational Psychology, British Psychological Society, in London last week at the Institute of Directors.
The companies commissioning the work, BP and Balfour Beatty Rail, were keen to look at ways of further increasing safety levels in hazardous industries and identifying improvements which could eliminate all incidents. Lardner and Scaife developed a practical set of human factors analysis tools (HFAT) which were rolled out worldwide via two-day training courses to accident investigators within both organisations. A year on from the training, investigators reported that HFAT had significantly enhanced their understanding of human behaviour and that they had been able to make better recommendations to prevent future accidents.
Presenting the award, Deutsche Bank Head of Learning & Development, Noel Hadden, said: "Occupational psychologists make a real and positive difference to the way our organisations operate. These awards make me optimistic about the direction in which the discipline is going and the quality of work and research that occupational psychologists are delivering."
Speaking on behalf of the Division of Occupational Psychology, David Towner said he believed the awards would help create a better public understanding and provide a great opportunity to showcase the work of occupational psychologists externally.
For the winners, Ronny Lardner told the audience at the IOD ceremony: "We are really encouraged by these awards, which we feel are a great idea to emphasise us as a practical profession who can bring real value to organisations." The awards event was sponsored by Reed Consulting and Kenexa.
Noel Hadden, Head of Learning & Development at Deutsche Bank (left), presents Ronny Lardner (centre) and Richard Scaife, of the Keil Centre, with the inaugural Occupational Psychology Practitioner of the Year award at the Institute of Directors in London on 21st September 2006.