The way company’s try reduces unsafe behaviours have varied and changed over the past 100 years. Although performing risk assessments and implementing controls is useful, ensuring our safety culture is at a high level will take our safety to the next level. From introducing this BBS program, we aim to have a “total safety culture”. This is a culture which:
- Workforce value the importance of safety and not just a requirement;
- Individuals taking responsibility for their co-workers and not just themselves;
- all level of employee is willing and able to act on their sense of responsibility – they can go ‘beyond the call of duty’
Before implanting a BBS program into an organisation, it is important management are aware of the importance of having a strong safety culture. If the safety culture is weak, the BBS will not be able to be implemented to full capacity. To have a strong safety culture, it is important:
- We get a strong commitment to management in terms of implementing this BBS program and continually improving our safety culture;
- Strong communication link between the employees and management to ensure there is a trust between the two;
- An open, feedback-rich so employees are continually learning;
- Strong emphasis put on unsafe behaviours and not just lagging indicators;
- Strong awareness among the staff of the BBS program ensuring their thought process around their actions is in line with the BBS programme.
The BBS program is often described as a bottom-up (frontline staff) approach with consistent top-down (management and safety staff) support. A BBS program is people based and involves interventions on peoples behaviours during their daily work activities. This can be done on a one to one basis or group observations. From observations, behaviours which are seen as “unsafe” are noted and goals are set to prevent these unsafe behaviours occurring. It is important the right methods are used to prevent these behaviours and a coaching techniques is used. Proactive methods are used and ensuring the workers are aware of their actions in relation to incident involvement and change their opinions on their responsibility in terms of incident prevention.
Implementing a BBS program into our company can have a huge impact in accidents occurring whether it be lost-time or minor incidents. The reduction in accident rates can have an impact financially. In 2016/2017, the HSE revealed that a combined cost of £15 billion to the UK economy due to workplace accidents and illnesses.
In 2016/2017, the HSE revealed that workplace accidents costs employers £5.2 billion. Although BBS programs continue to deliver results, it has been proven that BBS interventions are now the more effective than other safety interventions.
To demonstrate how much BBS programs can reduce accident rates, I will use a number of case studies:
1. LNG Trains
Two trains get shutdown every year for maintenance by LNG. This was scheduled for 30 days and involves over 3600 people. The injury rates for the shutdown were not necessarily high but LNG were adamant on lowering them.
Once the BBS program was implemented, safe behaviours were increased by 35% during the shutdown. The shutdown was completed two days ahead of schedule, with no time-loss injuries occurring with a 100% reduction. There was also a 70% reduction in first aid cases.
2. Shell, Bonny Island, Nigeria
The construction of the Shell structure was carried out by a number of different companies and with works from a range of nationalities. With concern of their safety, the company decided to implement a BBS program.
The loss-time incident rate dropped from 0.13 to 0.03 over 19.4 million man hours. There was also a decrease in the total recordable incident rate from 0.66 to 0.15. Over all there was a 70% increase in accident and incident rates.
3. Birds Eye, Grimsby
Within this company they experienced high levels time-loss injuries with a majority of these in relation to behaviour. With commitment from management, they decided to implement a BBS program.
With the introduction of the BBS program, there was a reduction of time-loss injuries of 65% in the first year. There was also a decrease in minor injuries which fell by 21%. 5 years later their rates further improved, time loss injuries were reduced by 85% and minor injuries were down to 40%.
Program Design – DOIT Process
After much consideration, I have decided to implement the DOIT process into our company. Many BBS programs take the top-down approach with management change first. I firmly believe a bottom-up approach will be more effective in our company and the DOIT process takes this approach. The DOIT process is split into four stages; Define, Observe, Intervene and Test. I will explain these steps individually.
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The first step of the DOIT process is to define the specific behaviours that need to be changed. Not only are we defining unsafe behaviours but also safe work practises that can be encouraged. To prevent unsafe behaviours occurring, these generally must be altered through the encouragement of safe behaviours. It is important we define the safe behaviours which can then replace the unsafe or risk behaviours. Safe behaviours are not complex, and examples may include ensuring workers are wearing there correct PPE or walking within the marked walkways. The safe behaviour can also be a safe work practise that is several safe behaviours combined to complete an action e.g. completing a lift of an object. To define a precise target, it should be done throughout the number of various general procedures that happen daily. From this, we develop a safe versus risk method for each of the individual work activities.
After observing people carrying out their daily work activities, you can then realise that many will perform at risk behaviours without them realising it. It is important to understand that the observe process is not finding faults in peoples behaviours but to find the facts. The person that is being observed has to agree and comfortable will the process. In Figure 2 there will be an example of a checklist that will be used. The person that is carrying out the observation should not have their name on the checklist, only the person observing. The process is used to see how groups work together and people’s attention to their work activities. From observing the % of each behaviour can be calculated. This process is used to allow for what interventions need to be made in the next stage of the DOIT process.
This stage involves the introduction of interventions to increase the likelihood of safe behaviours occurring. This will involve the change of external factors to decrease the likelihood of at risk behaviours occurring. The observing stage of the DOIT process will allow our workers to get feedback on what behaviours that need to be changed. During this feedback, we will instruct our workers on how exactly they will be able to increase their safe behaviour %. Along with the feedback process, there are a number of other ways in which the safe behaviours can be increased. These include:
- Safety slogans to encourage safe work behaviours;
- Near miss reporting;
- Individual and group goal setting;
- Coaching techniques;
- Reward cards for safe behaviour encouragement.
The test stage of the DOIT process will allow our team to change the intervention methods that may not be working. If a particular intervention method is not increasing safe behaviours, our team will analyse and refine these methods to improve our intervention. If the intervention methods are working on the behaviours, these methods can then be used on various other work activities. We also may decide to completely change our interventions if we decide to target a completely different approach.
5. Safety Coaching
This technique should be used to encourage our workers to perform more safe work behaviours. This should be used within the intervention stage of the DOIT process. Safety coaching can be implemented using the following methods:
- Ensure that the interactions with the works are a two-way conversation. Allow the worker to also to have an input of the conversation. Don’t make the conversation about the “coach”.
- Make sure there is a trust between the coach and the worker so that the worker will listen and take advice from the coach.
- Ensure you use the coaching techniques to avoid punishment of risk behaviours. Use encouragement to allow them to improve their safe behaviours. If you begin to use punishment methods, this will lead to more at risk behaviours occurring.
Program Implementation Plan
To carry out this BBS program implementation, we will need a number of staff from each of our working lines. We advise choosing a number of supervisors from each department that are willing to carry out the implementation. We are aiming to have at least one staff member from each department along with the current 2 (including myself) EHS officers.
Before the implementation, myself and my fellow EHS officer will have to carry out a training course over a 2-day period. I feel that this may not suit you but could be split into two evening sessions. This is all dependant on the supervisor’s co-operation also.
Overall, this should be a low costing process. The costs of the extra hours the supervisors will complete should be low costing. Apart from this, costs will be kept within the health and safety budget for the year.
3. Plan for rollout
We plan to begin this rollout in the new year at the start of the month of January. If all goes to plan with the supervisor’s co-operation, we plan to commence training on the 20th of January. From this weekly inspection sheets can be completed.
The implementation of this BBS program can most definitely benefit our organisation. The number of case studies that I used shows how well a BBS program can work if implemented properly. It is a known fact that the majority of accidents are due unsafe behaviours occurring. If we want this BBS program to work, we need full management support. We need you to realise the benefits of the program and how exactly how we are going to achieve this.
To reiterate again the benefits will include lowered accident rates, lowered costs due to accidents and increased productivity. Coming from a safe vs productivity point of view it will benefit both aspects. I hope you consider the implementation of the BBS program and feel that it will be worthwhile.
- hsa.ie. (2019). BEHAVIOUR BASED SAFETY GUIDE. [online] Available at: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Safety_and_Health_Management/behaviour_based_safety_guide.pdf [Accessed 21 Nov. 2019].
- iReportSource. (2019). 8 Critical Tips for Effective Safety Coaching - iReportSource. [online] Available at: https://ireportsource.com/8-critical-tips-for-effective-safety-coaching/ [Accessed 21 Nov. 2019].
- Geller, E. (2001). The psychology of safety handbook. Boca Raton, FL: Lewis Publishers.
- Geller, E. and Williams, J. (2001). Keys to behavior-based safety. Rockville, MD: ABS Consulting, Government Institutes.
- HSE (2009) Reducing error & influencing behaviour (HSG48)
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