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Behavior Based Safety (with HOP)

(Behavioral Safety, Behavioral Based Safety, BBS)

What is behavior based safety?

Behavior based safety (a.k.a. an observation and feedback process) provides visibility and control over a key upstream indicator of safety performance -- safe and at-risk behaviors. Using simple but effective observation techniques, coworkers observe each other, identifying occurrences of safe and at-risk behaviors. Following the brief observation, the observer gives constructive one-on-one feedback to reinforce safe work behaviors and discuss alternatives for any observed at-risk behaviors. The data from the observations are collected and summarized, highlighting common safe and at-risk practices. This is done in anonymous and constructive way, never publicly identifying or blaming the observed employees. It uses the collected data for learning and continuous organizational improvement. As the BBS process takes hold, peer feedback becomes commonplace, occurring informally as well.

Many people believe a BBS process ends there. But it shouldn't.

Although peer feedback is a powerful motivator to reinforce safe behavior and discourage at-risk practices, feedback alone is far from sufficient. An individual's behavior is directly and indirectly influenced by the physical and social work environment. Thus, both systemic AND individual causes of the at-risk behavior should be carefully considered. That is, any observed at-risk behaviors should be viewed as potentially being a symptom of a problem lying deeper within the organization. At-risk behaviors must therefore be analyzed in order to identify weaknesses of the system which are negatively impacting behavior, either intentional risk taking or human error, so that those weaknesses can be addressed.

That is why, in addition to encouraging peer feedback/coaching, a behavior-based safety process involves analyzing any observed at-risk behavior in an effort to determine what within the system is influencing the less-than-optimal performance. This occurs is in two ways

  • Immediately following the observation, the coworker pair analyzes any observed at-risk behaviors to identify changes to the work or workplace that would help improve human performance.
  • The observation data is collected and more formally analyzed (often using SPS's RADAR data management software). Work teams then develop improvement strategies to eliminate error-likely situations and barriers/impediments to safe work practices.

To facilitate the in-depth analysis necessary, principles and tools from what has become popularly known as Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) are included in the 'traditional' BBS training. As a result, employees better understand and can address system problems which influence risky behaviors and human error. The resulting process is a more comprehensive, holistic, and effective tool for creating a workplace that optimizes human safety-related performance.

For more details, see this related article.

How can SPS help your organization?

SPS provides a range of services to meet your specific needs:

  1. New Process Design & Implementation (See description below)
  2. Evaluate and Enhance an Existing BBS Observation Process
  3. Behavior-Based Ergonomics (Using an observation process to target ergonomics)
  4. Human Error Reduction (Using an observation process to identify and eliminate human error.)
  5. Behavior-Based Incident Analysis

New Process Design & Implementation

SPS can help customize a behavior-based observation and feedback process to meet your organization's needs. We begin with a Standard Implementation Workplan and work with you to customize an approach that will best meet your needs. SPS offers a variety of levels of support to help implement the customized workplan:

  1. Full Implementation Support
    SPS provides onsite support throughout the planning and implementation of the observation process, including conducting all training sessions.
  2. Train-the-Trainer
    SPS provides onsite support throughout the planning and implementation of the observation process. However, rather than SPS conducting the training for wage employees, these workshops are led by internal personnel.
  3. Internal Consultant
    For organizations wishing to implement an observation process at multiple locations, SPS will certify internal personnel as Internal Consultants. The certification process involves an intensive training experience, followed by the shadowing of SPS personnel through one or more implementations, transitioning responsibility to the Internal Consultants with each successive implementation.
  4. DO-It-Yourself Model
    For those organizations desiring minimal external support, SPS provides an intensive training experience designed to prepare participants to return to their workplace and design and implement an observation process with little or no further support from SPS.

Related Links

SPS also offers various products to support a new or existing behavioral observation process:

  1. RADAR : Behavioral Data Analysis Software
  2. Safety Culture Assessment
  3. Safety Leadership Skills for Supervisors
  1. Safety Leadership Skills for Senior Leaders
  2. Improving Safety Communication
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