Fully Utilize Your Behavior-Based Safety Program

Nearly all company leaders have their own behavior-based observation (BBO) programs as part of their safety management systems. But it’s what they do with this information that matters.

If your employees are filling out their cards and management is doing nothing about it, then there’s no point. Employees receive no feedback, which makes your BBO program go very stale very quickly.

First, you need to train your employees on how to use the cards and let them know why you’re using them. The main reason most employees think you have these programs is so they can tattle on their co-workers, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Most programs don’t even require employees to put their names on the cards.

Once you’ve trained employees to engage them in the program, it can come full circle. They put the cards in and, depending on the risks, your supervisors can deal with their concerns in a timely manner and report back to each person who put a card in. Enter all the cards into your tracking system, then develop charts and graphs and share the resulting information. Develop your focus audits to reflect lagging indicators from the week before. You can also discuss such topics in your toolbox talks or safety meetings.

At no point should you use these results against employees; use them for information purposes only.

It could take you a while to get this program into gear. You need to earn employee participation first and then review and respond to card quality. Card quality is much more important than quantity, and feedback is a very important part of this safety program element. As employees take time to write cards, supervisors must take time to read and act on information on the cards. If they don’t make this happen, you’ll soon receive no cards — or employees won’t include tangible information.

This program is very reliant on your supervisors and employees bringing communication full circle. Encourage them to provide information to one another. If not, the program is likely to die out then fail.