Psychometric Testing and Safety

Psychometric Testing and Safety

by George Robotham from

Having had some exposure to the area, some of the problems I see with psychometric testing include-

  • There is often a big gap between the test and the real world of work.
  • Behaviour is situational. Often in these tests you are given black and white scenarios to comment on and no allowance is made for intelligent and mature reasoning and adaptability.
  • Often it is easy to figure out what will be a good response from the sponsoring organisations perspective.
  • There was discussion about a particular commercial safety assessment instrument on LinkedIn OHS forums recently. I think it is fair to say the instrument was savaged by a number of experienced OHS people. Complaints were numerous and considerable. The organisation sponsoring the test instrument failed to supply credible justification when questioned.
  • I recently completed a safety test instrument and thought it was quite a joke.
  • It is very much rooted in an outdated behaviourist approach to safety which brings considerable limitations.
  • Questions are simplistic, given time my red cattle dog Rusty could answer the questions. You have to bear in mind Rusty is smarter than most people I know.
  • It makes no account for modern OHS practice.
  • Individuality and creativity are not valued.
  • With many questions it is easy to figure out what a desirable response will be eg. On a safety assessment do you really think people would admit to indulging in high risk behaviour?
  • It is all about compliance with narrow rules rather than questioning the status quo and practicing innovation.
  • It seems to be promoting the view that the desired employee is compliant, obedient and unthinking.
  • There was no focus on the important area of safety learning.
  • The focus was on the behaviour of individuals, obviously only part of what is required to manage safety.
  • One highly educated and experienced OHS professional in my circle commented the test is delusional and dangerous.
  • I suppose this test is a good way to separate the gullible from some large amounts of money.

Readers are advised to refer to Dr. Robert Long’s paper Safety Eugenics and the Engineering of Risk Aversion,, safety blog, 24 December, 2012.

Well there are my, admittedly fairly uneducated thoughts, on psychometric testing and safety. I t would not be hard to know more about the topic than me, your contributions are encouraged,

George can be contacted on, he welcomes debate on the above (it would be indeed a boring world if everybody agreed with George)

George Robotham, Cert. IV T.A.E.,. Dip. Training & Assessment Systems, Diploma in Frontline Management, Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education), (Queensland University of Technology), Graduate Certificate in Management of Organisational Change, (Charles Sturt University), Graduate Diploma of Occupational Hazard Management), (Ballarat University), Accredited Workplace Health & Safety Officer (Queensland),Justice of the Peace (Queensland), Australian Defence Medal, Brisbane, Australia,,,07-38021516, 0421860574, My passion is the reduction of permanently life altering (Class 1 ) personal damage

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