We all know the safety regulations. How is it possible accidents still happen?
Deep in our hearts we know. We know the safety regulations and we know we should heed them. Still things go wrong. That’s why Expat Preventive trainings focus on behaviour instead of the rules themselves, says director Christiaan Oldenkamp:
“Every traveller knows: You should wear your seatbelts. You should take your malaria pills. You shouldn’t walk back to the hotel in the dark on your own. Still we do it, with incidents as a consequence.
In all those 20 years that I’ve been working in the safety business, I have hardly heard of incidents that occurred out of the blue. In hindsight almost every victim says: “I already had a feeling something was wrong.” The NGO-employee who was kidnapped in a taxi thought to himself: “There’s something fishy going on here, I ordered a taxi at another company than it says on this one.” But got in the cab anyway. The shipbuilder who was ambushed in the street already figured it strange that these two blokes were leaving at the same time as he did, but decided to walk on on his own anyway.
It is not our knowledge of the rules, it is our behaviour that gets us in trouble. That’s why in our trainings we do not focus on the safety protocols. You won’t find us clicking through endless PowerPoint-presentations with exhaustive lists of regulations and instructions. We take the participants’ experience as a starting point. For instance by letting them draw a map of the area where they work and travel and by having them indicate the spots that pose a risk to them. We then simulate situations using role-playing games, so that people can experience where they draw a line and so they can practise how to guard these limits.
You don’t teach someone something by lecturing them. You teach them something by training their behaviour, so that that which is learned is truly internalised.”