Articles, advices and tips for professionals in the United States of America


Behavior Based Safety

No matter how you look at it, safe workplaces are good for everyone. I know. I have been on both sides of the debate. I have been a boss, running one of the most profitable factories in the Northeast. When I began to manage the factory, it was one of the most dangerous ones in the region. It had received numerous OSHA violations. By the time I was done with it, however, it had been cited for excellence by the national office. On the other side, I have been a union organizer campaigning actively for safer workplaces. So you see, I know the issues from both sides. Trust me, a safety in the workplace is good for bosses and workers.

When I first heard about behavior based safety, I was skeptical to say the least. You see, I am always suspicious of neologisms. Behavioral based safety seemed like the newest trend. I figured it would be gone within a few years. It seemed like behavior based safety programs were just a way for management to try to save money by not dealing with the real problems.  It seemed like an attempt to avoid making systemic changes, and I was sure that it would never address the root causes of safety problems. It turns out my suspicions were wrong.

Behavior based safety, you see, has people watching themselves to make sure that they are not acting in a dangerous way. It is easy to become complacent when you have worked the same job for a number of years. You become comfortable with your routine, and start to neglect the little things. Usually, there is no negative consequence to this. It might actually even save you a little time. Every once in a while, however, lack of safety awareness in the workplace can lead to tragic accidents. This is where behavior based safety comes into play.

A lot of people think that the problem is human stupidity, but it is not. Even if you've done everything to ensure that your workplace is OSHA compliant, accidents still happen. It is natural for people to get comfortable with their surroundings and to start cutting corners. Behavior based safety is there to ensure that you don't take shortcuts that put you in danger. If you can save just one worker from a serious injury, it will be worth the economic expense to you, and worth the inconvenience of new safety training to your workers. Behavior based safety just makes sense!


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