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Behavior Safety Strategies

Behavior Safety Strategies

I knew that one day my University degree in Psychology would come in handy. One of our insurance carrier partners recently sent out a great newsletter related to the behavioral effect of safety in the work place. Firms that specialize in Construction Management can utilize this powerful tool to increase safety of the work site on a daily basis.

The premise of this risk management is simple. If all a construction company does is to track the number of claims and payouts reported to Labor and Industry (workers compensation), it may be missing a great opportunity to create a safer work environment. For me- it’s kind of like the child who never gets caught doing the wrong thing even though they often do- they got lucky! That is not a good safety program. Instead what we can do is to create a list of potentially dangerous situations, actively observe and track if the desired - (or safe behavior) is being followed. In this way- we can track how safe the work place is- not just how lucky, or unlucky, the work place really is.

This strategy allows for great feedback to the employee regardless of the behavior observed. For example- if the desired behavior is to have a hard hat on when inside the construction zone- here are the possible outcomes:

  • The behavior is being met which may create an opportunity to give positive feedback for employees.
  • The behavior is NOT being met. This allows an opportunity to provide constructive feedback without having an accident or time lost. Both outcomes reinforce that everyday behavior matters and there is accountability in the work place.
  • Focus on the behaviors that have the most probability to result in employee injury is not followed.
  • Only list and track 5- 8 behaviors.
  • Communicate to all staff exactly what will be observed and how.

As a rule when creating the list of expected behavior- here are a couple of key elements:

Debbie Marcoulier, President of RSV Building Solutions shares with me, “At RSV we haven’t had a lost work day due to an injury in more than a decade. Why? We hire only the best employees and subs. RSV’s culture is based on total responsibility and taking pride in your work, but most importantly, it empowers every employee to stop any unsafe operation at any time.”

It is for this reason that an effective Behavior Observation Program can provide excellent results related to decreasing employee injuries and reinforcing the correct behavior. This strategy can be used in not only construction but many other industries as well.

Tony Johnson is an Accredited Advisor in Insurance and can be reached at Davidson Insurance, 360-514-9550 or Tony [at] Davidsoninsurance [dot] com


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