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?

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.

Basing Safety Recognition and Celebrations on Data

by Terry McSween

In our last issue I discussed the Steering Committee’s use of data for targeting safety improvements. In this article I would like to continue that theme and discuss another use of data by the Steering Committee – for planning recognition and celebrations. While recognition and celebrations are critical to a robust behavior-based safety (BBS) process, they are often conducted poorly or even ignored.

Observation and Team-Management Processes

Terry E. McSween, Ph.D.

Today’s behavioral safety systems have two distinct elements: a behavioral observation process and a team-based management process. Both of these elements are critical. The observation process is an educational process that encourages employees to work more safely on the job. The team-based management process ensures the maintenance of the observation process and ensures that the process is adaptive to a changing workplace.

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