Behavior based safety (BBS) programs are used in the workplace to encourage employees to practice safe behaviors and correct unsafe ones. These programs can help with improving a workplace's safety culture and are a key part of what EHS managers do for their organizations.
This article will go over how modern technology can offer improvements to a behavior based safety program and the data collection process.
The success of a behavior based safety program beings with its execution. You want your employees to be regularly conducting safety observations so that you're notified of unsafe behavior or conditions and can make adjustments accordingly.
Unfortunately, it's easy for employees to find an excuse to avoid these observations. Too often employees will claim these observations are intrusive to their "actual" work. They'll complain that observations take up valuable time, for a benefit that they don't immediately see. If employees aren't constantly reminded to conduct observations, your behavior based safety program will fall apart before it begins.
Technology offers ways to resolve this issue. With the right tools, you can avoid manually badgering employees and ensure observations are being done. Safety observation software has the ability to schedule recurring observations and send out email alerts when they are past due to keep the task fresh in employees' minds.
More importantly, such software could also make the observation process easier for employees. With just a few clicks of a button, observers can record their findings. Ideally, the software should include an observations mobile app, so employees can quickly record their findings from the comfort of their mobile device.
The easier it is for an employee to record an observation, the more accepting they will be of this new responsibility. Technology helps remove the excuses employees find to avoid conducting observations, thus allowing your behavior based safety program to flourish.
Ease of use isn't the only way technology makes conducting observations easier. Digital checklists not only streamline the way employees conduct observations but help to keep recorded data consistent.
The format of your observation checklist might be leaving too much room for mistakes and inconsistencies. Paper and pen checklists are subject to sloppy edits, inconsistencies, and can be hard to store and organize. This will result in "dirty" data that will render your behavior based safety program useless.
Technology can quickly alleviate these concerns. Digital checklists will record a history of who was conducting the observation. This will make it easy to track down who is responsible for mistakes or incomplete checklists. Digital forms are also stored in a single database, making it easy for you to find what you need.
If changes need to be made to the structure of your checklists, technology allows you to make broad edits. Plus, a digital database of safety observation checklists ensures the same versions of checklists are used across all locations.
One of the unfortunate cons of behavior based safety programs is that they tend to generate floods of data.
For example, observing 25 employees, once a week, for five behaviors can result in 500 records in just one month! In addition to these records, observers may also have included corrective actions for any unsafe behaviors.
Data of this range and depth can be too complex to analyze effectively without the assistance of technology. Luckily, safety management systems are able to organize these large amounts of data in an easy-to-read format.
The best management systems will simplify the process to create detailed reports on the data collected. Such reports should provide details on key safety metrics that will summarize the performance of your BBS program.
The easier it is to analyze behavior data, the sooner you’ll see where changes need to be made. You’ll also see whether or not your BBS program is collecting the data you need.
Once you've used technology to improve your behavior based safety program, you'll start to see areas to improve your safety program as a whole.
Analyzing observations will likely result in the need for corrective actions to resolve unsafe conditions or behaviors. If trends show similar unsafe behaviors for the same employees, you might even need to provide additional training.
It's important to know that technology can assist in managing these areas of your safety program. There are entire safety management software systems that assist in seeing how your findings impact other safety processes.
Vector EHS Management is one such system, offering ways to streamline and improve OSHA recordkeeping, EHS inspections, as well as behavior based safety. Sign up for a free demo of Vector EHS to learn more about how you can improve your safety program.