Behavior-based safety refers to the process of using a proactive approach to safety and health management. Behavior-based safety either focuses on at-risk behaviors that can lead to an injury, or on safe behaviors that can contribute to injury prevention. In other words, behavior-based safety is an injury prevention process. Workplace injury prevention is a continuing, evolving process. To reduce work-related injuries, and keep reducing them, an employer needs to involve employees in daily activities.
It is the attitudes of the employees that is at the core of how successful a behavior-based safety program will be. Some of the most important aspects include:
- Safety-related goals and objectives at the corporate level;
- Communicating these goals and objectives to all levels of the organization;
- Enabling each area of the organization to attain its own specific safety goals;
- Encouraging individual participation by all members of the organization;
- Empowering employees to set and achieve their own safety goals; and
- Fostering mutual respect and consideration at all levels of the organization.
There are various motivational influences in the workplace that can have dramatic effects on an employee's productivity and may ultimately determine whether an employee works in a safe manner or an unsafe manner. Some examples of motivational influences that can take precedence over safety can include:
- An individual's level of self-worth;
- A secure working environment;
- A desire for achievement;
- A desire for recognition; and
- How employees feel about their jobs in general.
Efforts to address these factors can have a significant effect on employee motivation and a significant impact on workplace safety. Behavior-based safety and employee motivation begins with effective communication. In order to foster good communication, an employer should:
- Provide employees with the information they need to do their jobs;
- Let them know their work has value;
- Provide regular feedback;
- Listen to complaints;
- Criticize behavior, not people;
- Establish easy-to-use channels of communication; and
- Personally congratulate employees for a job well done.
There are no related OSHA regulations for behavior-based safety; however, topics that discuss employee motivation may provide related information.
Train employees on the following:
- What behavior-based safety is;
- The steps necessary to implement a behavior-based safety process;
- The corporate safety culture;
- Critical behaviors and barriers to safety;
- The basic principles of behavior-based safety; and
- The benefits of behavior-based safety processes.