There are many positive 'value-added' outcomes that are within reach of those using an effective Behavioral Safety process. A well designed and executed Behavioral Safety process should lead to:
Improved levels of quantified safety behaviors: If the workforce have ‘bought-in’ to Behavioral Safety and are actively trying to improve their safety performance, logic again dictates that the levels of safe behavior will increase. This improvement should also be visible at the workface. For example, people are following procedures, and people are visibly engaging in safe behaviors.
Reduced numbers of accidents or incidents, near-misses and property damage: If the checklists are targeting incident causing behaviors, logic dictates that as those unsafe behaviors are bought under control there should be a corresponding decrease in the incidents and near-misses triggered by those unsafe behaviors.
Reduced incident costs: Logic again dictates that reductions in the number of incidents should also decrease the associated costs. These can be measured, for example, by reductions in insurance claims and premiums, reductions in penalties and sanctions imposed by the judiciary, reductions in the types and numbers of actual injuries, and less time spent recording and investigating incidents.
Increased reporting of defects, near misses, accidents, etc: The increased reporting of defects or unsafe conditions is an inevitable outcome of a good behavioral safety process, as the workplace observers will be noting these, or they will be bought to their attention by their colleagues, during their observation tours. People are also more likely to report accidents and near misses (hits?) as they learn to trust the process. However, if a ‘blame the victim’ culture exists, incidents and near-misses are unlikely to be reported as it has negative connotations for those who do.
Identification of related system issues: Effective Behavioral Safety processes identify and address other health & safety challenges (e.g. unsafe conditions, management system faults and technological defects).
Improved Corrective Action rate: This outcome refers to the effectiveness of follow up procedures for people’s improvement suggestions and for the completion of corrective actions. Indeed this feature is probably one of the most important elements for people to continue engaging in the process. No follow up action will rapidly lead to the rejection of the Behavioral Safety process by the workforce.
Improved people skills. Behavioral Safety training often includes elements on verbal and non-verbal communication and the use of positive reinforcement. These skills translate to many areas beyond Behavioral Safety.
Better Safety Leadership: Behavioral Safety often leads to managers consistently demonstrating their safety leadership, which has many positive 'spin-offs'. The leadership skills, again often translate into other operational areas (e.g. Quality, Production, etc.,).
The typical outcomes outlined above are dependent on people becoming actively involved in the process. How well people respond to the process will depend upon how well it is run, the quality of the observations undertaken, management’s ongoing support, and how corrective actions are progressed and pursued until completion. How often the company’s senior management team and safety committee take an interest in the results and integrate the Behavioral Safety process with all other aspects of the organisations functioning are other important features that help to determine people’s acceptance. If the system is rejected by most, it will almost certainly fail.
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