In this blog series we will explore some of the questions, benefits, misconceptions, and methods of Behavioral Based Safety Programs (BBS). We have spoken with industry professionals Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy Company; John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation; and Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health to get an insider look on how to manage an effective Behavior Based Safety management program.
A lot of time and effort can be put into creating and maintaining a safety program – and with good cause, the quintessence of any safety program is to protect the employees, and this could mean saving lives. That is why you cannot lose sight of the big picture. How is this program protecting our workers, and where is it going wrong? In this blog we will look at some of the most common ways a safety program can fail, and how to avoid these common mistakes.
We have mentioned in a previous blog one of the main problems that can beset these types of programs is a lack of buy-in and participation by those it is supposed to help and protect.
John Peoples, Global EHS Manager at Huntsman Corporation says the most typical problem he sees is “a lack of buy-in and commitment from the senior managers”. These types of people may have the most experience, have been in the industry for the longest, and maybe more resistant to changing the way they do things.
Joseph Braun, EHS Manager at Ferrara Candy Company expresses a similar sentiment, emphasizing the importance of leadership “when there is no buy-in from the leadership team. If the leadership team is not 100% and pushing for the observations to be completed, the trickle-down shows that it doesn’t matter and is not a priority.” Looking at the big picture and keeping the goals of your safety project in mind are good steps towards maintaining focus on your BBS program.
As Chad Rasmussen, EHS Manager at Cardinal Health points out “top-level management commitment to programs like this is essential. If the program just lives in one department or the people at the top stop caring about/pushing these types of programs they will fail. It needs to stay relevant to the decision-makers and it needs to be seen as adding value.”
These suggestions demonstrate the importance of bringing your managerial/leadership/corporate team on board while maintaining the focus on the goals and positive outcomes of the program, necessary components if you really want to have any success with your BBS program.
Looking at the big picture and keeping the goals of your safety project in mind are good steps towards maintaining focus on your BBS program. With the proper strategy outlines, goals defined, and progress reported, you can convince buy-in from senior management and safety officials who may not be so friendly towards newfangled “Behavior” programs.
Lead and promote your Behavior Based Safety Program with patience, vision and leadership, and any other resources that you can find available.
Check out previous blogs in this series and stay tuned for more!