It’s essential to avoid incidents in the workplace that put your employees at risk. Unsafe behaviors or decisions are usually contributing factors in incidents. If employees are not aware of the hazards or are not motivated to follow safe procedures, their behavior will expose them to hazards.
While employers must put engineering, administrative, and PPE controls into place to protect employees from hazards, it is also essential to promote safe behaviors and a safe environment.
7 Ways to Promote Safe Behavior
- Involve employees in the identification and correction of hazards. This includes having them participate in the development of job hazard analyses (JHAs), which should include critical behaviors as well as hazards.
- Periodically audit your operation to assure compliance with OSHA regulations and industry standards like ANSI by performing detailed walk-through surveys of your work area and, if possible, the entire plant.
- Perform safety observations to encourage safe behaviors. This can include supervisory observations or, ideally, peer-to-peer safety observations after employees have received training on how to perform them.
- Give recognition to employees who perform tasks safely and demonstrate proper behaviors.
- Assure that training is done to build an awareness of “critical behaviors” for each task and that the training is repeated frequently enough. Training should also be conducted immediately following any significant modifications to any job task. Perform refresher trainings at employee meetings to assure that all employees receive the same training.
- Make sure that appropriate controls are in place and operational. Periodic inspection and maintenance is critical.
- Investigate every incident and near miss for root causes, communicate the findings, and correct any deficiencies. If any safety procedure is difficult to follow, analyze and modify the procedure or task as needed so that employees will not be tempted to break the rules and work unsafely.
Job Hazard Analyses – An Important Part of Behavior Based Safety
"Behavior Based Safety" (BBS) can have positive results when done correctly. In a successful BBS approach, everyone must be on the same page with respect to what the safe behaviors are for all hazards present.
To assure everyone is truly aware of the hazards and respective controls for each task, a simple process can be employed… Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs).
JHAs provide a simple outline of the critical behaviors which need to be followed to assure safe performance. They outline the respective hazards for specific job tasks and the critical behaviors required to prevent an incident for those hazards. Developing JHAs is the first step in an effective BBS approach. Coupled with excellent training and observations, a true safety culture can be developed.
JHA development begins by performing hazard assessments. The JHA must identify both the hazards of the tasks, and the needed critical behaviors to prevent an unwanted outcome.
A Hazard Assessment Form can assist in evaluating tasks, hazards and needed controls. When using the form, look for any unsafe conditions, talk to and observe staff to see what critical behaviors are needed to prevent a mishap, as well as any situations that cause employees to make unsafe choices (e.g., locking out a piece of equipment is required but necessary supplies are not available in the area).
Protect Your Business Today
As you think about ways to keep your workplace safe, you might also want to think about other ways you can make your workplace simpler, safer, and stronger. GMS offers payroll, risk management, and human resources services to help keep your business running smoothly all through the year. Contact GMS today to talk with one of our experts about how you can ensure workplace safety at your organization.