It is proposed that the remarkable act of being “ourselves” is hardwired in the form of behaviour. It is not just the humans but even animals and birds whose social structure and hierarchies are defined on the basis of behavior are tied to it, supposedly.
No marks for guessing then, that when Behaviour based safety was introduced it gained a mythical status. However, is behaviour based safety a myth, magic or the ultimate safety solution?
Like most good stories, let’s unwind this one from its heart that finds existence within behaviour itself.
‘Fix it’ approach begets bad rapport
In the pursuit of industrial compliance, we primarily apply the first tool known and available to us – problem solving. If we dig into the birth of environment, health and safety within industrial operations, hindsight emerges as a product of our facultative relationship. Our ‘fixes’ are meant to be in retrospect rather than originating from an introspection based safety insight.
This means that as a virtue of industrial production we have accepted a certain degree of harm as a necessary natural occurrence. For example, pollution towards the larger ecosystem present on the planet succeeded by adoption of a strategy that can mitigate this “natural” byproduct of progress. We have been stuck in a rut of spreading damage by understanding progress through the vitiating act of problem solving. Just because we might be good at something doesn’t necessarily make it a sustainable.
But what if we told you that EHS and behavior based safety has never been about problem solving. In their essence, au contraire, they are about providing us with safe work methods through thoughtful action even before the job at-hand has begun. Our behaviour may lead to unsafe situations at workplace and this domino effect cannot be checked via conventional safety and risk management strategies, every time. So why not replace the retrospective safety with a proactive one? Time versus speed debate doesn’t hold much water in today’s rapidly heating up manmade climate change driven world. Taking that crucial minute to fundamentally evaluate a key hazardous work decision can make all the difference.
Rise, appraise and prosper
BBS isn’t the magic wand that can be waved with wishful thinking and assume it will work at the workplace. Negative safety practices such as reporting quotas and overzealous monitoring of employees with little dialogue have rendered it nearly useless. Surging incidents and repeat injury rates will be a constant feature of the workplace.
Unless the underlying notion of safety and health quick fix can be purged from workplaces and the minds of people in position. BBS is a corrective methodology applied under constant improvisation and development as perceived by qualified EHS managers. This methodology ideally requires safety conscious workforce as well.
The only shortcut is to know and affirmatively believe in “no-shortcuts”. Stripping away the regressive approaches of being driven by “safety numbers” is the foundation of a good BBS program.
Progressive and shared vision of safety
Purpose-driven digital BBS solution are a comprehensive answer to address human bias and limiting ‘program based’ liabilities. The universal access and availability of such a digital platform can reinvigorate languishing EHS programs.
Step one lies in understanding that a digital BBS program is all about empowering the workforce. The real-time observations and citations can be effectively used by EHS managers. A democratic way of understanding safety challenges can start by asking the employees:
- What made them choose the unsafe way in first place?
- Or, what are some of the pervasive safety deficient work situations that they face regularly?
Step two lies in communicating these findings uniformly through the floor supervisors and facility managers. Grappling with the nuisance of petty yet potential hazard cases of slips, trips, and fall can be avoided by raising the awareness quotient. The key is to suggest and focus on corrective and preventive actions that seek to rectify unsafe behaviour rather than implementing overboard solutions.
Step three lies in elaborating and extending the reach of BBS turning it into an investigative arm of EHS. What the safety personnel fail to understand by chastising a worker employing incorrect approach is the basis of its fault –behaviour. But what a digital BBS solution will allow him to explore is why exactly the employee indulged in that behavior, in first place.
Find the cause of unsafe behaviour through a broader investigative approach and you can convince them to ditch it for good. A digital BBS solution has the ways and means of becoming an effective partner for such pursuits. Root cause identification, elimination or replacement is a better substitute than relying on human workers to risk their lives in ‘over-the-top’ hazardous situations. Even if they are “PPEed” from head to toe. Use of a digital platform also makes the spread and reach of program manageable.