The Essence of Safety Needs in Work Environment
Safety needs relate to the need for stability and predictability in life, freedom from constant stressful situations, familiar surroundings, and provision for job security.— Douglass (1980)
- The safety needs include the need for freedom from threat caused by the environment, animals and people. It also includes the need for shelter, security and peace. At work level, this need can be met by providing private health insurance cover, attractive pension provisions, safe working conditions etc.
Hersey and Blanchard (1977) defined safety needs as involved with self-preservation. Protection from physical injury in the environment is a safety need.
A leader can conclude that a number of a system is at safety level of maturity:
- when the physical environment is potentially harmful,
- when the member’s position or status quo is threatened,
- when someone is new in a position,
- or when the problem involves a noticeable change from normal service.
Suppose that new cardiac monitors were installed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The goal is to orient the ICU staff to these new monitors. Even though the ICU staff members were mature in ICU nursing care, they would be at a safety level regarding the new monitors until they become proficient in running the new equipment.
A new graduate beginning a first position is at a safety level of maturity; so is a 20 year veteran taking a position in a new agency.
Given the goal of orienting new staff, the new graduate is most probably in a stressful state; not knowing the environment, the expectations others will have for the role, and whether the ability to fulfill the role is present.