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Leadership Practices Critical to Behavior-Based Safety

by Terry E McSween

Everyone agrees that leadership support is critical to the success of BBS or any other organizational initiative. In my experience, the two most important things that leaders can do to support BBS are (1) create alignment and integration with other management systems, and (2) reviewing the BBS process. When I have seen BBS initiatives fail, it is almost always a failure in one of these two areas. In this article, I will discuss each of these issues in greater detail.

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Basing Safety Recognition and Celebrations on Data

by Terry McSween

In our last issue I discussed the Steering Committee’s use of data for targeting safety improvements. In this article I would like to continue that theme and discuss another use of data by the Steering Committee – for planning recognition and celebrations. While recognition and celebrations are critical to a robust behavior-based safety (BBS) process, they are often conducted poorly or even ignored.

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Observation and Team-Management Processes

Terry E. McSween, Ph.D.

Today’s behavioral safety systems have two distinct elements: a behavioral observation process and a team-based management process. Both of these elements are critical. The observation process is an educational process that encourages employees to work more safely on the job. The team-based management process ensures the maintenance of the observation process and ensures that the process is adaptive to a changing workplace.

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Behavior-Based Safety Can Improve Safety Programs

Grainne A. Matthews, Ph.D. and Terry McSween, Ph.D.

Our problem in achieving further improvements in safety stems from our success. Most industries have good safety records as a result of decades of improvements in working conditions, regulations, and practices. Strictly based on chance, the average employee can work their entire life without experiencing a serious injury. This high level of safety creates a sense of complacency among both employees and management. Employees can often shortcut safety procedures and not get hurt. Management can attend to productivity and other issues while paying little attention to employees’ safe work habits. The probability of injury is often too low to maintain compliance with safety procedures, especially those that make the job more uncomfortable or less convenient.

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