Appropriate coaching is critical to behavior-based safety (BBS). Behavior-based safety is a systematic way to promote safety in the workplace.
Goals of a Behavior-Based Safety Program
- Creating a process that clearly defines a set of safe behaviors and work practices that reduce employees’ injury risk.
- Providing a way to consistently identify and reinforce safe work practices.
- Reducing at-risk behaviors to a near-zero level.
- Recognizing favorable behaviors.
- Correcting unfavorable behaviors when needed.
- Problem solving to improve work practices.
Create a Coaching Program
Coaching is essential because maintaining the desired behaviors requires frequent, objective, and appropriate feedback. Observations provide the objective data that makes coaching uniquely effective. Once observation checklists (as noted in a previous “Being a Safety Coach” training short) are finalized, make good use of them by developing your coaching program.
Identify the Right Coaches
- The availability of employees.
- How much training is required for the coaches to understand the applicable roles.
- Whether eligibility extends only to supervisors and leads.
Determine Frequency of Observations and Coaching
Daily or weekly coaching is the best way to support lasting behavior change. To decide the ideal frequency, first determine the risks associated with the jobs being observed.
Provide Training to Coaches
Consider the existing skills and training needs of your possible coaches. For the Behavioral Safety process to be successful, coaches will need to be proficient in three areas.
- Observation skill training: Observation is foundational to evaluation; it is one of the most important skills a coach masters. Does every coach see the same things? Many processes, pre-conceptions and beliefs can interfere. Coaches must be as objective as possible, observing what occurs with nopreconceived notions, beliefs or judgments.
- Observation-based coaching training coaches must be able to:
- Give positive feedback.
- Have a constructive discussion about any observed safety concerns.
- Problem-solve regarding the safety concerns with the worker or workgroup
- Training for the role being observed: Coaches need to understand the basic skills and roles of the employees performing the work tasks being observed.