Vision zero: from accident prevention to the promotion of health, safety and well-being at work

Article related to the NIVA course on Safety Promotion – Research and Good Practice, 7th–9th of May 2019, Hanaholmen/Hanasaari, Espoo (Helsinki area), Finland

Gerard Zwetsloot (a), Stavroula Leka (a) and Pete Kines (b)

a) Centre for Organisational Health and Development, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK
b) National Research Centre for the working Environment, Division of Safety Research, Copenhagen, Denmark

There is growing attention in industry for the Vision Zero strategy, which in terms of work-related health and safety is often labelled as Zero Accident Vision or Zero Harm. The consequences of a genuine commitment to Vision Zero for addressing health, safety and well-being and their synergies are discussed. The Vision Zero for work-related health, safety and well-being is based on the assumption that all accidents, harm and work-related diseases are preventable. Vision Zero for health, safety and well-being is then the ambition and commitment to create and ensure safe and healthy work and to prevent all accidents, harm and work-related diseases in order to achieve excellence in health, safety and well-being. Implementation of Vision Zero is a process – rather than a target, and healthy organizations make use of a wide range of options to facilitate this process. There is sufficient evidence that fatigue, stress and work organization factors are important determinants of safety behaviour and safety performance. Even with a focus on preventing accidents these additional factors should also be addressed. A relevant challenge is the integration of the Vision Zero into broader business policy and practice. There is a continued need for more empirical research in this area.

Keywords: Zero accidents, Zero harm, Psychosocial factors, Safety culture, Prevention culture

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