The implementation of Occupational Health and Safety checks and inspections (henceforth OHS) is by definition an object of work of those who deal with the specific field, being an absolute necessity for every work function. After all, identifying and highlighting problems is the first step to solving them. From time to time, various tools are used for this purpose, significantly strengthening the “quiver” of safety officers – inspectors and all parties involved in this particular battle. Often, however, the relevant tools appear to be difficult to use, complex and ultimately unacceptable to those who are called to use them, rendering them inactive.
The innovative and essentially important element of Biosafety’s work is that, in the above-mentioned context, the company, in addition to developing the OSH Audit Tool, proceeded to investigate the intention of its use by its partners, Safety Officers, in order to determine its utilization potential . For this investigation, simple acceptance questionnaires were not used, but a widely accepted scientific theory for the acceptance of technological tools, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT).
The following brief describes both the OSH Audit Tool and the use of the UTAUT model to effectively consult with safety technicians and investigate its intent to use.
OSH AUDIT TOOL
The electronic tool was developed by the company’s Technical Department and includes the expression of controls both at the level of the HSE file and at the level of the scope of work.
It includes points of interest in terms of checking and inspecting their adequacy, their coding in type and numbering, the severity – priority of compliance and its flagging, the possibility of programming compliance actions, the recording of the level of compliance, the relevant legal requirements, the existing measures and the corrective actions proposed on a case-by-case basis at the level of removal of non-compliance or good practice.
It also includes performance indicators and breakdowns by category such as the total number of control points, the total percentage of control points under investigation relative to the aforementioned total, the total Severity – Requirement for Compliance Priority percentage, the total percentage of points that have been investigated and have found compliant in relation to the total number of checkpoints, the total score achieved by the non-compliant checkpoints according to the criticality panel.
INVESTIGATION OF INTENTION TO USE THROUGH THE UTAUT MODEL
The UTAUT model used in this case study was based on the theory of the same name, which is widely used in the field of information or other “intelligent” systems in order to investigate the intention of those addressed to use it.
According to the application model, the behavioral intention to use a technological tool depends on individual perspectives on that tool and may differ based on factors such as age, gender, experience using similar tools, and voluntary use.
The model construction parameters and independent variables are:
- Performance expectancy, i.e. the degree to which the tool is expected to help the performance of the work.
- The expected effort, i.e. the degree of perceived ease of use of the tool.
- The social influence, with the specific variable incorporating the preferences of the social environment
- The application infrastructures, i.e. the extent to which the infrastructure-equipment requirements to support the application are perceived
Only behavioral intention was used as an independent variable in agreement with other related models.
Taking into account that the research concerned the HSE field, the sample included 50 partners, who work as Safety Officers. Paper questionnaires were completed, via telephone, face-to-face or remote interview during September-October 2021. All participated voluntarily, with the right to stop the process at any time without any negative consequences, while informed consent was obtained.
82% of the sample were male and 18% female. 14% were in the 31-40 age range, 66% in the 41-50 age group and 20% in the 51+ age group. 56% of the sample had 7-9 years of experience as Security Technicians. 26% had more than 10 years of experience and 16% had 4-6 years of experience, with a high level of experience being particularly important for the purpose of the survey.
A total of 20 questions were formulated, of which 4 related to the variables age, gender, experience and voluntary use and 16 related to the independent variables listed above. A seven-point Likert scale was used to express agreement with specific statements.
According to the research results, the usefulness and dynamics of the proposed tool were supported in terms of intention to use.
The most important result from the intention-to-use research model was the high percentage of the perception of mandatory use of the proposed tool (92% – mostly or somewhat mandatory), which confirms the importance of its application in the field of HSE and supporting the services provided by a Safety Technician or an HSE Inspector.
At the same time, the following statistical analyzes were performed:
- Reliability analysis (Reliability analysis) carried out to establish the internal consistency of the elements of the model, where high reliability was obtained.
- Measurement of the correlation between the scale variables through the Pearson coefficient highlighting a statistically significant and positive correlation between the intention to use and the independent variables.
- Linear regression analysis to determine whether intention could be predicted by the independent variables of the model and independent variables with statistical significance of prediction emerged.
The OSH Audit tool in question is applied to a number of companies to which Biosafety provides Health & Safety Services from all of its 200 Safety Officers – partners. The benefits of the tool concern both the Security Technicians, as was shown by their response to the consultation through the UTAUT model, and the companies in which the audit is carried out.
In the context of audits, specific performance indicators are measured per inspection date, thus focusing on the progress of the results over time and allowing the inspector to more confidently highlight the deeds of his inspection in a safety meeting. Management on the other hand can see the progress of HSE issues as they arise each time.