An unsafe act is committed or an unsafe situation is created, in many cases, due to an oversight or lack of situational awareness. Employees are a company’s greatest assets. To protect these assets, it is beneficial to have as many sets of eyes in the workplace as possible. A Behavior Based Safety System, where employees look out for each other, provides this asset protection.
A Behavior-Based Safety message from our President and CEO Wayne LeBlanc
The Four Elements of a Behavior Based Safety System
There is a temptation to make programs too technical. Your Behavior Based Safety System should not be one of them. A successful BBS System needs to be easy to implement, easy to understand, easy to participant in, and easy to administer. There are four key elements to a BBS System:
1. Making a Behavior Based Safety Observation:
First of all, someone has to see (Observe) something. This step is vital as it starts the entire process. Observations are historically made by using what we refer to as a random process. Employees see what they happen to see by chance. The unfortunate consequence of this method is that it may produce random results.
Using a Targeted Approach to Observing
We recommend using a targeted approach to Observations. This will naturally produce better results, and the targeted list can be created from any method as long as it applies to your workers. You might refer to our “Ten Causes of Accidents” for a partial sample of our targeted list.
2. Having a Conversation - Correct the Situation:
It’s time for action once an Unsafe Act or Unsafe Condition is observed. Simply observing and walking by doesn’t correct the hazard.
Three steps to take for an Unsafe Act:
If an Unsafe Act is Observed there are three steps to be taken: 1. Remove the employee from the hazardous situation; 2. Have a conversation discussing the Unsafe Act Observed; 3. Secure an agreement from the person Observed to work safely going forward.
Example of an Unsafe Act:
A distracted employee walks under an overhead load, but it wasn’t done on purpose or because the employee had a bad attitude. Rather, it was a lack of situational awareness. In this instance, another employee could have observed the Unsafe Act, removed the observed employee from danger, explained what was happening, and then, finally, gotten an agreement from the Observed employee to remain alert throughout the day.
An Unsafe Condition:
When observing an Unsafe Condition, the observer needs to take action to render the situation safe. This may include cleaning up spilled liquid, clearing pathways, freeing up emergency exits, barricading an open hole, etc. Most noteworthy is that after an observation was made the observing employee took action!
3. Completing the Behavior Based Safety Documentation
You’ve heard it said that ‘nothing is finished until the paperwork is done!” This may be true, but we don’t have to make it burdensome. Let’s face it, most people don’t like paperwork. However, we do need to compile a catalogue of the observations made and the actions taken. Especially relevant is the fact that this is all done anonymously and without naming names!
The Observation Card:
4. Tracking and Trending of Behavior Based Safety Data
The first three steps of your Behavior Based Safety program are obviously vital. Finally, this fourth step of Tracking and Trending of the Data is equally important, but often overlooked. You’ve got all this information, so why not use it to your advantage? It appears that limited staffing and limited time are most often a barrier to execution.
We believe that this step is too vital to dismiss. Consequently, to accomplish this task we have created an add-on to our Behavior Based Safety System. Please refer to our Tracking, Trending and Reporting of the Data page for information. Spotting trends to become proactive and prevent accidents will be a snap!