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Safety Leadership

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.

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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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Behavior-Based Safety Can Improve Safety Programs

Grainne A. Matthews, Ph.D. and Terry McSween, Ph.D.

Our problem in achieving further improvements in safety stems from our success. Most industries have good safety records as a result of decades of improvements in working conditions, regulations, and practices. Strictly based on chance, the average employee can work their entire life without experiencing a serious injury. This high level of safety creates a sense of complacency among both employees and management. Employees can often shortcut safety procedures and not get hurt. Management can attend to productivity and other issues while paying little attention to employees’ safe work habits. The probability of injury is often too low to maintain compliance with safety procedures, especially those that make the job more uncomfortable or less convenient.

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Self-Observations in Behavior-Based Safety

by Terry E McSween

Many of today’s organizations have employees who work independently, either alone or in small crews. Examples of such positions include nurses involved with home health care or hospice, utility linemen, utility meter readers, gas company employees working pipeline, delivery drivers, and many others. In such organizations, a self-observation process is often a better fit and easier to sustain than peer observations.

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