The Psychological Fitness Index
A new standard in safety and accident prevention
Applying science to promote safety behaviour
The Afriforte Psychological Fitness Index (PFI) is a screening instrument that screens and monitors the psychological fitness of employees in order to promote safety behaviour and work performance. The instrument was developed following seven years of innovative work-related wellbeing research conducted by the WorkWell Research Unit, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa.
Psychological risks are as important as physical risks and competence
If one accepts that competence (knowledge and skill), and physical health and ability are important factors driving safety behaviour and compliance, productivity, and performance then one should also consider that psychological factors contributing to human failure or success are important and should in addition be addressed in order to promote due diligence in terms of Zero Harm.
Violation of Safety Regulations
Unsafe acts, specifically the violation of safety regulations, contribute to approximately 88% of safety incidents (Heinrich & Bird).
Deciding to Violate
Taking a decision to violate a safety regulation is often times a conscious act driven by two important factors, viz. the psychological desire of an employee to comply with regulations and the psychological energy available to obey the requirements of the safety regulation.
Psychological Energy and Psychological Desire
The level of psychological energy and psychological desire that employees experience provides an indication of the psychological fitness state of the employee.
Experiencing Psychological Unfitness
When an employee experiences psychological distress or unfitness, poor judgment, risky decision-making, lapses in concentration, taking shortcuts, working in “auto-mode”, mood swings, and irritability to mention a few become apparent; and if psychological fitness risks are not addressed proactively it might result in prolonged feelings of sadness or worthlessness, and risks for depression might become evident.
Purpose of the PFI
The purpose of the PFI is to screen individuals for psychological fitness risks. The recovery process plan for risk cases is the responsibility of the organisation and its internal support infrastructure.
Psychological Fitness Risks
The PFI applies advanced statistics to predict safety and work-related wellbeing risks based on the psychological fitness profile of an employee for proactive intervention. The PFI screens employees for the following psychological risks:
Psychological Distress Symptoms
The PFI generates three personal reports in real-time: a confidential Occupational Health and Safety report for the OHS professional; a confidential employer report, and a personal feedback report to the employee.
A real-time dashboard supports the PFI instrument for group reporting purposes.
Multi Language Support
In terms of the South African context, the PFI was validated and standardised for South African conditions, is cultural sensitive, and is available in all 11 official language groups of South Africa.
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