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Changing Public Health and Safety Behaviours

Governments, regulators, agencies and charities aim to effect positive changes in society. Whether it’s motivating businesses, consumers, passengers, residents, pedestrians, sports participants or car drivers, there is a frequent wish to change people’s attitudes and behaviours.

Whether relevant to the general population or targeted at specific audience groups, behaviour change strategies may seek to reduce an unhealthy/unsafe behaviour (e.g. smoking, poor diet, speeding, unsafe leisure activity) or prompt healthy/safe practices (e.g. exercise participation, positive mental health practices, business compliance with health and safety laws).

People’s behaviour is affected by a range of psychological, social, cultural, demographic and environmental influences. Hence, to evoke lasting behaviour change we must first understand behaviour of the target audience and their surrounding environment.

Safety behaviours

Successful behaviour change

There are many examples of successful interventions that have facilitated and sustained change in enduring behaviours. These share some common features, such as:

Behavioural change
  • Being targeted at those most at risk
  • Characterising the behaviours targeted for change
  • Persuasive messages that tackle misperceptions and challenge norms, raise awareness and motivate
  • Educating and empowering – increasing knowledge of hazards and how to behave in a safe and healthy way
  • Framing and illustration to ensure the target audience identifies with the message
  • Building confidence: self-confidence in ability to act and efficacy that making the change in behaviour will have the desired effect
  • Providing a call to action

By drawing on behaviour change theories and the psychology of communication, interventions can galvanise sustained change in attitudes and behaviours by addressing psychological root causes.

Our Services

We bring together expertise in psychology, social science and communications to develop, support and robustly evaluate innovative and effective behavioural interventions. Whether a regulatory, educational, communications or technology-based intervention, we can help develop and ensure effective strategies for promoting behavioural change.

Identifying people at risk

Interventions need to target those people most at risk of harm or ill-health. We help identify who is most at risk through assessment of socio-demographic, attitudinal and behaviour profiles of people involved in accidents, unhealthy lifestyles or at risk from environmental hazards such as flooding.

Understanding drivers of behaviour

The success of initiatives depends on understanding and addressing underlying attitudes and behaviours as well as practical barriers to behaviour change. We provide insight by conducting in-depth research, exploring personal experiences, motivations, perceptions, social dynamics, values and beliefs, and relating these to attitudes and behaviours.

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Supporting implementation

We help develop communication plans, associated messaging and educational materials for use in behavioural interventions.

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Developing & trialling behavioural interventions

We help you go from behaviour change theory to practice, translating principles into strategy and the design of programmes. This includes developing concepts, testing concepts and evaluating pilot schemes.

Evaluating behavioural interventions

We conduct process and outcome evaluations, feeding lessons learnt back into the next iteration of programmes.

What is special about Greenstreet Berman

We are an independent consultancy with a 20-year track record of successful delivery.

  • We can draw on experience from across a very wide range of public health and safety matters and safety critical / high hazard industries
  • We are Chartered Psychologists with applied expertise
  • We understand risk perception and risk communication
  • We can model risk related decision making, attitudes and behaviours
  • We have worked for a wide range of Government departments, agencies, regulators and charities
  • We offer evidence-based advice drawing on latest thinking
Safety while travelling

Examples of our work

Related case studies

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Improving team compliance through supervision
Greenstreet Berman developed a three day supervisor leadership training course, focused on equipping supervisors…

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Achieving Compliance Through People: A Workshop Based Approach To Creating A Compliance Culture
The aim of the Compliance Culture Workshops is to allow leaders to develop an understanding of compliance culture and determine…

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‘Supervision+’ – scoring high marks for compliance through supervisor non-technical skills
In response to a desire to further improve safety performance within a Licensee Facility, Greenstreet Berman developed…

Related Papers

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Organisational drift – A challenge for enduring safety performance
The paper presents some observations concerning the types of defence that could detect early signs of…

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A guide to enhancing process safety and plant efficiency through the competence of Control Room Operators (CROs)
Control Room Operator (CRO) skills are critical to avoiding errors that degrade plant performance and safety…

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Competence assessment and major accident prevention
Many duty holders base their safety case on the assumption that they have experienced and competent staff…

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Does the process map influence the outcome of quality improvement work? A comparison of a sequential flow diagram and a hierarchical task analysis diagram
This exploratory study examined whether the type of process map – sequential or hierarchical – affects healthcare practitioners’ judgements…