Mum's the word in Bilfinger site safety campaign
German firm Bilfinger Berger has hit on a novel way to reduce site accidents – hanging pictures of employees’ mothers in the workplace.
Rather than pepper the workplace with bland health and safety posters, the company is using life-size pictures of mothers to hammer home the message. As a spokesperson told Construction Manager: “People usually listen to their mothers.”
Bilfinger claims the Love Mum campaign, launched by its Norwegian services subsidiary BIS Industrier, has helped cut accidents and accident-related absences and may be expanded to its other operations.
The photographs, placed in gilded frames around the workplace, carry messages such as “Think about everything that could happen, love Mum”.
Kirsti Gerhardsen, safety manager with BIS Industrier, who developed the campaign, said: “We want our employees to train themselves to think in terms of risk. We are passing on a mother’s heartfelt concern. These are our employees’ mothers – that really hits home.”
Karen Pine, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, said the scheme was likely to succeed because it was personal to staff.
She said: “We always advocate tackling people’s inertia. We can see how this approach would raise people’s awareness and, through emotional engagement, break them out of their habitual ways of behaving. A picture of one’s own mother is emotionally loaded and when individuals are engaged emotionally they are affected at a far deeper level than when confronted with general information.”
Much depends on the relationship between the employee and their mother, she added. “A person who is fond of their mother might be compelled to behave in ways that would make her happy. But if the relationship was difficult, they might feel motivated to do the opposite.”
A spokesperson for Bilfinger Berger confirmed the number of accidents reported had fallen. He said: “We haven’t got the precise figures yet but the number of accidents really went down.”