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Creating A New Behavioral Safety Process

Ask an Expert: What is the Role of Management in a Behavioral Safety Process?

by Grainne A. Matthews, Ph.D., Vice President Construction and Utilities

The role of management in your behavioral safety process depends on what you are trying to achieve with that process. If you plan to use behavioral safety as part of your efforts to improve your safety culture, then members of your supervision and management teams will be equal partners with employees in the design, rollout, and maintenance of your process. They will not only need to do the same things that other employees do to make behavioral safety a success, they will also play a unique role that only supervisors and managers can play.  Like other employees, they will conduct observations, provide feedback, and serve as members of the steering team that analyzes the observation data to identify barriers to safe behavior.  In their special role as leaders, depending on their position, they may also do the following:

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The Heart of a Successful Behavior-Based Safety Process

The heart of a successful behavior based safety process.
by Jerry Pounds, President, International Division

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is a process that has been implemented by most major companies around the world. It has been in existence for almost 30 years and has significantly reduced injuries in every business and industry.

Many issues act as barriers to effectively integrating BBS into a company's safety management system. Yet, one primary mistake makes effective BBS impossible: a lack of sincerity and commitment on the part of management, something which I call the heart of BBS.

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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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Using Self-Monitoring for Drivers in a Behavior-Based Safety Process

By Don Nielsen, Ph.D.

Safe driving requires a number of simultaneous and often complex behaviors. The trend in accidents and injuries in many countries is increasing. Speeding and distractions are two of the many factors involved in accidents and injury.

Self-monitoring for drivers is an approach to change their behavior by manipulating antecedents, observing and recording target behaviors, and receiving feedback and consequences. There are basic elements to a self-monitoring approach. Drivers must have an understanding of the process and driver representatives need to be involved in the development of the process. Target behaviors are identified and a method for recording behaviors is developed. Once a baseline is established, attainable goals are identified along with behavior change strategies. As the process moves along, data is shared with employees.

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