Safety in the workplace is always important. A safe place of work is one that doesn’t have to worry about having its employees sidelined from the types of injuries that keep them off work for weeks or even months, which creates problems for both the worker and the company itself. This means establishing a solid workplace safety model is crucial for the success of any company.
There are many workplace safety models out there. One popular one is known as behavior-based safety (BBS). The BBS model makes use of safety observations, which have been shown to be effective in fostering safer work environments. Here’s some information about these techniques as well as safety observations examples to more thoroughly understand a BBS workplace model.
A Quick Definition of Behavior-Based Safety Observations
In the context of a behavior-based workplace safety model, safety observations are counts of how many safe and unsafe conditions or actions are identified in a specific work area for a set period of time.
Depending on your place of work’s specific workplace safety policies, safety observations can be tallied daily, weekly, or any other interval desired, and are usually recorded via checklists by safety managers. These checklists often have different sections for specific safety topics.
Safety Observation Examples
Safety observations examples are relatively what you would expect from a checklist of workplace safety goals. One example would be under the personal protective equipment (PPE) section of a checklist, which would record whether workers have proper PPE according to the job they’re conducting, whether they’re wearing that PPE correctly, and whether the PPE they do have are in good enough condition.
As a further example, safety observations also typically include a housekeeping section in order to ensure that work areas are being used for their proper purpose, are clear of any obstructions, have any work materials stored in a safe manner, and if proper disposal procedures are being followed. Other sections, such as those for specific procedures, personnel, and tools and equipment are also common.
The Key to Successful Safety Observations
It’s important to remember that, as a manager, safety observations can act as a powerful tool to identify areas of a worksite that need to be strengthened. However, it’s also important to remember that safety observations should be geared towards recording positive workplace safety aspects as well as negative ones. Doing so prevents safety observations from becoming just a list of what’s wrong (or who’s doing things wrong) while at work.
Calling out good safety behavior on the part of workers who consistently do the right thing strengthens workplace safety culture and morale and increases the likelihood that safe workplace behavior will continue.
This is, of course, the goal of a behavior-based workplace safety model – to make the workplace as injury-free as possible by reinforcing safe behaviors and discouraging unsafe ones, all while keeping workers engaged in the process.