Keynote VI – A Culture of Safety – The Behavioral Approach

Companies undoubtedly intend to comply with OSHA regulations for both their employees’ well being and for the increased productivity that comes with a healthy workforce. Despite robust safety protocols and extensive employee training, occupational injuries remain a serious problem. One out of every five workplace fatalities is a construction worker. Falls from elevation account for one-third of all deaths in construction. One in four “struck by vehicle” deaths involve construction workers, more than any other occupation. The fatality rate for excavation work is 112% higher than the rate for general construction. There was an average of 362 fatal falls each year according to OSHA statistics from 1995 to 1999. The problem is self-evident, but companies need a new approach to creating a safer workplace. The key to creating a culture of safety is supervisor and manager action. Actions may include:

  • An industrial engineer might conduct job safety analyses, breaking the work tasks down into small steps to identify how the work is done and concentrating particularly on how work can be done safely.
  • Workers might be encouraged to suggest critical incidents, events that if they are executed correctly, will keep the worker safe or, if they are executed incorrectly, will likely cause injury.
  • Workers might be encouraged to report near misses, instances in which someone came close to being injured. These might then be analyzed to identify what behaviors would avoid the near miss.
  • An ergonomics expert might be asked to examine how work is currently being done to identify ways in which cumulative trauma disorders are likely to occur.
  • Groups of workers might suggest safe ways to do specific jobs.
  • Injury/accident reports might be analyzed for ways in which specific behaviors may have contributed to injuries. Then, safe behaviors would be developed to replace each of the previously identified unsafe behaviors.

This keynote develops a behavioral safety mindset that enhances your ability to identify unsafe behaviors, builds appropriate observation checklists, and educates workers on how to assess and offer feedback on safety behavior. Implementation of an effective culture of safety depends on proactive supervisors and managers, and Mr. Davies explains the keys to empowering them. A workplace’s adoption of culture of safety is built upon attitude.  The first section of the presentation examines:

  • How our thoughts impact what we pay attention to
  • The limits of our perception
  • The essential driving forces of motivation
  • The way in which avoiding pain and seeking comfort leads to complacency, which is largely responsible for accidents

After helping the audience understand the nature of the problem, Mr. Davies presents his effective solution based on the importance of accountability. This section includes:

  • The role of participatory measurement in increasing focus
  • How to create habits of safety
  • How to use accountability to implement safety best practices.

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