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Book by longtime psychology professor, daughter, focuses on manufacturing culture

July 6, 2017

E. Scott Geller and Krista Geller

Scott, Krista Geller
E. Scott Geller and Krista Geller

A new book released under the Actively Caring for People (AC4P) Movement led by E. Scott Geller, a longtime Virginia Tech professor of psychology, has a family connection.

"Actively Caring for People’s Safety: How to Cultivate a Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper Work Culture" is designed to instruct engineering and manufacturing leaders on how they can promote a culture of interdependency in which people look out for the safety and well-being of everyone in their work environment. The book is written by Geller and his daughter, Krista Geller, who earned a Ph.D. in human development and a certificate in gerontology from the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She now works as a leadership and development regional manager for Bechtel Corp.

Krista spent many years helping her dad with his research, gaining experience that helped shape her education and career path. The collaborations led Krista to introduce the idea of co-authoring a book with her father.

“It was so much fun writing the safety manual with my daughter; she brought real-world experience to the scholarship, which made the lessons most practical,” said E. Scott Geller, an Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science.

This book is the third in a series of six published this year under the AC4P banner. The first book was geared toward police officers, the second toward school personnel, with this newest book written for safety professionals, company managers, and CEOs. The fourth book was written for high-school and college-level students, with a forthcoming fifth book focusing on parenting, coauthored with another psychology alumna, Angela K. Fournier, now a professor of psychology at Bemidji University in Minnesota.

The third book can serve as a teaching/learning guidebook that provides discussion questions and practice exercises along with the research-based foundation principles, according to the Gellers. Scott Geller said it is significantly longer than the other books because of the amount of personal experience they were both able to incorporate.

“Our target audience is really the job-site worker, field engineer, superintendent, site manager, safety manager, boots-on-the-ground workers,” Krista Geller said, adding they collaborated to create a book that “addresses the fundamentals of a successful behavior-based safety program.”

The book answers such question as: What do you need to address the human dynamics of occupational safety? What best practices have been used; in other words, what works and what doesn’t work to increase the frequency of safety-related behavior and decrease occurrences of at-risk behavior? How do you get started and how do you maintain an effective injury-prevention process?

The Actively Caring for People Movement began more than 20 years ago within Geller’s Virginia Tech-based Center for Applied Behavior Systems, founded in 1987. The research center allows Virginia Tech students to gain hands-on research experience that encourages them to participate in an evidence-based worldwide effort to improve quality of life and universal human welfare, Scott Geller said.

Since its founding, the AC4P Movement has focused on applying psychology in practical ways to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

“The books within this series have all been created to promote procedures that people can use in their environments to care for those around them and nurture the benefits on both an individual and societal level,” Scott Geller said.

The book debuted at the recent American Society for Safety Engineers Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado, where it was used for a daylong workshop and a technical session. The book will be the focus of another workshop and two technical sessions at the  National Safety Council’s Conference and Expo, to be held in Indianapolis this September.

Written by Jessie Rogers, of Suffolk, Virginia, a senior in the Department of English, part of the College Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

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