January 2018 – Newsletter

2018 begins!

Who would believe we are already moving into the end of the first month for 2018!

As the new year rolls on, we always recommend to our clients that they “reflect” on what the previous year impacts had on their business.

In our area of risk management and compliance this is usually very “black and white” as figures are a key driver for any business owner or manager.

We have included some figures for you from Safe Work Australia.

As at 18th January 2018, there have been 8 Australian workers killed at work in 2018.

I found this figure astounding! 8 in 18 days!

I begin to then ask why? And what are we doing still to cause this issue?

2017 saw of the 12.5 million persons who had worked at some time in the last 12 months (2017), 4.3% first experienced their most recent work-related injury or illness during that same period. The majority (85%) of the 531,800 persons who experienced a work-related injury or illness continued to work in the job where their injury or illness occurred.

So, my challenge to us all is how we can reduce these figures and ensure we all go home from work safely.

I would like to start the discussion about the benefits of “Behavior-Based Safety”

What Is Behavior Based Safety?

Behavior-Based Safety is the application of behavioral psychology to promote safe behavior in the workplace using worker involvement. It involves initially identifying practices (behaviors) critical to reducing the risk of injury. These practices and behaviors are then compiled into a checklist that workers use to collect data on safe and unsafe practices within the business or organization. Then the workplace teams (probably the Safety Reps or HSC members) analyse data gained from observations to develop action plans that promote continuous improvement in safety.

So, we are now using everyone in the workplace to look after safety?

We engage all levels of the workplace to have some input, identifying of behaviors (not practices) that cause or have the potential to cause injury and incidents.

Initial ability for businesses to embrace this proactive process is:

  1. Employees (workers) must believe that management is committed to safety (not just lip service)
  2. Management demonstrates commitment by ensuring that facilities are properly designed and maintained.
  3. Employees (all workers) are willing to work with management to minimize risk of injury

Organizations and business can do two things to help pave the way for a behavior-based safety process.

First, ensure that managers and supervisors are providing effective leadership by developing working relationships with employees that foster open consultation and communication. The result is a managerial environment of trust that will help maximize the acceptance of behavior-based safety.

Second, senior top-level management needs to ensure that the organization aggressively addresses physical hazards and unsafe working conditions. The old “Walk The Talk” method of management.

I can hear you all saying now, this is easy, and this would “replace my existing “system.

Absolutely NOT, this enhances what you have and makes the controls and monitoring of the procedures and processes (documented controls) shared and more manageable.

By supporting safety practices and providing data that helps the business prioritize and address conditions and design factors that contribute to unsafe acts, all links to a safe work culture, behaviour based!

So how do you get your business to this favourable end! Developing a specific checklist forces identification of 20% of behaviour, triggering 80% of incidents. The 80/20 rule! The more specific the checklists for behaviours, the bigger the impact! In this way, each behavior is already ‘operationally defined’ making it very clear which behaviors are being targeted for change.

The components of an ideal process are:

  • Identify unsafe behaviors (obtained from injury and near-hit incident records).
  • Develop appropriate observation checklists (which feature behaviors implicated in injuries).
  • Educate everyone. Tell and sell to all, get “buy in” across the total business and train observers, facilitators, and champions.
  • Assess ongoing safety behavior by conducting behavioral observations.
  • Provide limitless feedback—verbal, graphical and written—on results

Looking at the statistics so far in the first month of a new year, behavior-based safety maybe worth considering?

Could be a “new year’s resolution” for 2018!

Maybe not “just safety” but also the other risk components for the business. Environment and Quality?

Hope we have started the discussion process.

Happy to assist and initiate.

Until next time. Stay safe and well.

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Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

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