The Right Kind of Feedback Fuels Behavior-Based Safety

By Grainne Matthews

If you are interested in improving performance (whether it be safety or any other dimension of workplace performance such as quality, productivity, or leadership), you probably think of feedback as one of the essential components of any program you plan to implement. For example, in behavioral safety, observation and feedback is often said to be the heart and soul of the process.

And, in leadership development, individual coaching that includes feedback on critical leadership practices is the basis for most programs. Efforts to improve quality or productivity, to reduce waste or downtime, or to enhance customer service typically all include feedback. Is this feedback really necessary?

Developing an Effective Steering Committee

by Terry McSween

One of the significant advances in Behavioral Safety (BBS) over the past ten years has been the documented improvement in how well companies are able to sustain such initiatives for many years. One of the keys to this success is establishing an effective Steering Committee to oversee and manage the process.

Another, perhaps less obvious factor contributing to long-term success of Behavioral Safety, is the identification of an employee to serve as the BBS “point of contact” (POC) on each crew or in each work group. A BBS POC is particularly important in organizations that are too large to have a representative from each work group on the Steering Committee. Generally, to be effective, a Steering Committee should have between eight and twelve members, with fifteen being the absolute maximum number. More than fifteen members may provide broad representation but severely compromises the effectiveness of the team for problem solving and decision-making. For such companies, identifying a POC for crews not represented on the Steering Committee is an important element for effective communication and support. Each crew or work group needs someone to serve as the POC for BBS. For example, an organization with 25 different crews will usually be better served by a Steering Committee with 12 members and 13 POC’s, rather than trying to have either a Steering Committee of 25 or Steering Committee members trying to represent crews they are not regularly part of.

When and How to Use Behavior-Based Safety with Contractors

by Terry McSween, Ph.D.

A common issue in designing a behavior-based safety process for many organizations is what to do about their contractors. Many companies, especially those in construction, marine fabrication, and drilling rely heavily on contract employees. The best approach to this issue is specific to the needs of the organization and not something that is one size fits all. One of the primary factors that determines the approach is the extent to which the organization depends on contract employees and the nature of their work. The following table outlines the most common options and some of the considerations appropriate for most organizations.

Leadership Practices Critical to Behavior-Based Safety

by Terry E McSween

Everyone agrees that leadership support is critical to the success of BBS or any other organizational initiative. In my experience, the two most important things that leaders can do to support BBS are (1) create alignment and integration with other management systems, and (2) reviewing the BBS process. When I have seen BBS initiatives fail, it is almost always a failure in one of these two areas. In this article, I will discuss each of these issues in greater detail.

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