Parsable Blog

Behavior-Based Safety Programs: Expert Advice

Anisha Padamshi

In our latest Connect & Learn episode, Parsable’s connected work expert and podcast host, Josh Santo, and global solutions consultant, Wolf-Ekkehard Hindrichs, discuss common inefficiencies that impact the performance of behavior-based safety (BBS) programs, and how mobile technology can help eliminate these inefficiencies to foster a culture of safety. 

Watch the full webinar here.

What is Behavior-Based Safety?

Let’s start off with a quick recap of what behavior-based safety is. It’s a method for improving health and safety in the workplace and is designed to influence employee actions toward safer outcomes – ideally preventing an accident or injury from occurring in the first place. Behavior-based safety is designed to minimize preventable injuries that are often caused by improper equipment, inadequate training or avoidable situations – the common solution here is properly training workers and providing them with the educational resources they need to reduce the risk of potential injuries. 

Common Inefficiencies Affecting Your Behavior-Based Safety Program

One of the most common problems in manufacturing is participation in behavior-based safety programs. Industry data demonstrates that employees who participate in behavior-based safety programs and coaching are less likely to sustain injuries. Despite this, companies still struggle to collect observations and drive participation for a couple of reasons:  

  • A lack of knowledge and/or the ability to do the observation itself. 
  • A lack of visibility for the observer as to how their organization is going to use the observations, or if they are using observations at all. Observers don’t want to invest their time in observations they think are going nowhere. 
  • Production pressure as safety often takes a back seat. While safety is incredibly important and something that teams need to address, the manufacturing floor can get hectic. Sometimes frontline workers are under pressure to focus solely on production, and safety gets pushed to the back. 
  • A lack of emphasis from leadership about the importance of behavior-based safety observation. 

Taking all of this into consideration, some of the most successful safety programs rely on a set number of observations coming from both leadership and designated observers. Companies should make the process less restrictive, by allowing all employees to submit an observation.

Required behavior-based safety observations and a lack of rewards recognition are factors that lead to low participation, which can affect the next common problem, accuracy and clarity. One such common problem is pencil whipping, which consistently pops up when a behavior-based safety observation is documented. Relying on someone to transcribe information onto a piece of a paper or into an Excel spreadsheet often leads to gaps in information and incomplete data captured. You guessed it, that leads safety managers to question the accuracy and clarity of the observation and data collected. 

If your manufacturing company has a safety program and insists that there are no behavior-based safety issues, you might want to take a closer look for any inefficiencies before it’s too late.

The Importance of Clean Data in Your Behavior-Based Safety Program

Learning from behavior problems relies on data collection, numbers-backed insights and meticulous tracking. If your manufacturing organization is still completing safety observations on paper or relying on an inefficient filing system, then you’re not helping create a culture of safety. 

Imagine the implications of not being able to read someone’s handwriting and trying to enter that information into Excel or your system of record. This can lead to poor data quality or perhaps no data gets recorded at all. 

Without accurate data, you can’t identify trends or leading indicators, which will impact how quickly your team can implement corrective actions. The longer it takes to get data, analyze it and derive insights from it, the longer it’s going to take to identify problems and take any potential corrective next steps. 

When activities require human workers to perform them, digital tools can help eliminate any loss in information, improve accuracy and clarity, and increase overall effectiveness and safety.

How Digital Tools Can Improve to Your Program

When you use modern technology, like a mobile app, to help with behavior-based safety programs that’s how you can really increase participation. Why is that? Because you’re able to eliminate some of the barriers of reporting the observation by giving your team technology in the palm of their hands, like digital forms, tablets or mobile phones.  

It’s not good enough to simply capture data points on what was reported, but what can you do with that data to take it to the next level. That’s where Connected Worker® by Parasable comes into play. It allows you to comprehensively document what was observed through rich media with photos and videos, so when you need to respond to an initiative or training program you have access to as much information as possible. 

Start collecting data in real-time. Connected Worker not only makes it easy to capture data, but it also allows you to share your data to dashboards that allow workers to react quickly to trending behaviors or you can send alerts to notify workers to immediately take action when an incident is reported. Digital tools can help strengthen your behavior-based safety programs by providing as much accurate information as possible, resulting in even fool-proof data.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Connected Worker by Parsable can help improve your behavior-based safety programs, check out our webinar for more detail.