There are a few misunderstandings about Behavior Based Safety, due to some incorrect applications of the ideas behind it. We’re going to address those myths in the next three posts, and look at how companies can ensure they apply Behavior Based Safety correctly and effectively.
Myth 1: Behavior Based Safety does not address system causes of injuries/illnesses/accidents/
Some people worry that Behavior Based Safety isn’t process-oriented enough. But the philosophy states that anytime something happens, whether a near miss or actual accident/illness, management must look at the entire system and analyze to see where things went wrong. Having a process isn’t enough if the process isn’t examined when something goes wrong. Processes must be examined to see if there’s a hole in the process, or if the process was simply not followed.
Management should never jump to the conclusion that a process was not followed. If the first step is always examination of the process for holes, then employees will not be unfairly blamed.
Myth 2: Behavior Based Safety blames employees for accidents.
Only when employees fail to follow well-taught procedures should corrective action be taken with employees. And don’t stop with the most obvious problem. If an employee wasn’t wearing protective gear, that’s a problem. But if the accident occurred because there was defective equipment being used, then the accident will happen again if the equipment is not fixed, regardless of whether an employee is wearing protective gear.
Always strive to get to the root cause of a problem, continuing to dig until there is nowhere left to look.