Term Paper: Fifteen Questions Used to Measure

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[. . .] Questions 12 and 13 are disturbing and indicate that social pressure may play a large part in the safety environment of the company. Only 16% would encourage a co-worker to change an unsafe habit and 73% said that they would not report an injury, in order to not jeopardize the chances of getting a safety bonus. This question reveals two things, the first is that a serious injury might go unattended or that a minor injury might turn severe due to lack of treatment. It also indicates that the safety incentive program is important to the workers and that it could be used as a tool to promote good safety practices.

An overwhelming percent felt that in safety did not need to be more adequately addressed within the department. 55% said that it did not need to be more adequately addressed. 28% were not sure.

61% did not feel that their department's safety goals coincided with those of individual groups or groups of employees.

After considering all data gathered, a number of key issues were identified. These issues were grouped under either Front Burner Issues, from which preventative strategies would be developed, or Back Burner Issues that warranted specific mention.

Front Burner Issues

1. Communication and interaction between management and employees

2. Safety Culture as reflected by behavior

3. Competency of those assigned to ensure and oversee compliance to safety standards

4. Provision and utilization of documented OSHA standards

5. Hazard identification and risk management;

6. Training and retraining

7. Role and function of the employee

Back Burner Issues

1. Technological advancements

2. Injury case management

3. Production pressure and incentive programs

4. Shift work and shift patterns.

The study showed that overall, there was sufficient evidence of a breakdown in the integration and implementation of safety systems and the deterioration of established safe working practices. While there were some positive reports, in which the safety and health management system was rated as effective at producing the desired result, there were many more examples, which demonstrated concern with safety management and ensuring compliance.

There was further evidence that risk-taking behavior, or adoption of unsafe practices, is sometimes encouraged both directly and indirectly within the work environment.

The trends revealed included the following:

The gap between training needs and resources is increasing.

Workers tend not to be adequately prepared for hazardous situations, partly because many of them are young and inexperienced. This includes managers who are green and may not have developed a safety culture.

Worker complacency towards safety has increased.

Injuries to young workers are high due to their lack of experience and their attitudes and behavior.

There is not always consistency in practices and attitudes towards safety.

The message about safety is inconsistent from one department to another and between groups. The standards of safety required of owners is high, but when owners' priorities are towards saving costs and meeting schedules, safety is seen as an expense. There is a gap between what is said at the top (by leadership) and what actually occurs in the workplace

Workers are often under high external or social pressures.

More effective communication and direct accountability for safety measures are emphatically needed.

The study found that overall, behavioral-based safety issues have not been adequately assessed or controlled, and management has been slow to implement the risk management principles required by both law and personal ethics. On the whole, work practices, the quality of supervision, the level of training and the degree to which consultation takes place were found to be inadequate. Standardized safety requirements and training were not adequately provided. Changes in management, demands of work, and a lack of appropriate planning meant that supervisors and management have less time in the field reinforcing safety.

Other barriers included a transient workforce, changing technology, no one assuming responsibility, a lack of money for safety and the worker not seeing the whole picture. Although there have been attempts to overcome these obstacles, these attempts are often thwarted by a resistance to change on the part of both employees and managers.


Chapter 5

The study's survey experiment and literature review evaluated the myths associated with behavior-based safety, and subsequently implement behavior-based safety as a tool for pervasive participation and widespread change. The study reviewed the relationship between attitudes, culture, systems and behavior clarified how behavior-based safety fits into the hierarchy of power within an organization.

The fundamental elements of performance management and analysis were also examined and applied to the comprehension of human behavior in relation to change. On the whole, the study provided a comprehensive perspective of how attitudes, cultures and systems influence or affect behavior, and how successful behavioral change efforts can make a substantial difference in the wide-ranging implementation of behavior-based safety programs.

The key components of a successful behavior-based safety program to be:

Management focus on behavior

Clearly communicated expectations

Employee support for the use and enforcement of safety rules.

Employees empowerment

Employee involvement in the key activities, including the ability to submit suggestions for improvements. This involvement leads to each employee having a vested interest in the change process, generating more favorable results.

An appropriately designed and administered recognition/award system to ensure uniformity and fairness. The same was determined not to encourage instances of under-reporting or hiding of injures.

Consistent application of the program elements by all managers and supervisors

Deficiencies reported are corrected in a timely manner.

In terms of cost, rewards/recognition, supervisory time, and employee involvement were found to be far less expensive than the dollars that could have be spent on a continuation of injuries, pain and suffering, and morale. The gain was improvement in morale, employee ownership in the safety program, and increased production. The same was accomplished solely by cultural change, and enforcement of established stated policy.


The change process clearly requires time, and is often laden with conflict. Change requires leadership and risk taking as well as conflict management skills, and must be diligently pursued. All levels of an organization must be initially primed for change, and equally positioned for the change to commence. Change for the sake of change is not acceptable. Planning must always focus on the desired end result.

The process of evolving towards a BBS program requires passion and commitment. The need to take action and admit that the problem and solution starts from within are paramount for a successful safety record. Successful managers recognize that their own attitude toward safety has a very strong influence on human behavior. This influence can affect the physical condition, attitudes and behavior of the employees, both individually and as a whole.

There are many supervisors who exert pressure to maximize production to the detriment of safety. This pressure is obviously unacceptable and must therefore be eliminated because of the negative impact it has on safety performance and the safety culture of the organization.

The primary revelation of this study was that because managers often feel like they are being forced to choose between reduced production or increased safety risks, they often wind up straddling the middle and generally accomplishing nothing. When production is made top priority, the employees who are exposed to the risks ultimately feel this pressure, and become more careless in an effort to meet quotas.

It was additionally determined that there is a range of bonus, incentive or piecework remuneration schemes in place in which employees' pay rates relate to achievement of certain goals, including production outcomes.

While there is some evidence that those companies that pay more or offer intangible incentives for meeting quotas have more incidents of injury hiding, much more commonly it was reported that these types of arrangements can have the effect of rewarding and encouraging safe behavior. When programs are properly implemented and attitudes towards safety are improved, incentives can have a positive effect in terms of improving the safety culture, by rewarding safe behavior, penalizing unsafe practices and motivating employees to improve their safety performance. The key is that the incentives are offered for safety compliance rather than production.

The study also revealed that only where strong safety culture existed within organizations (i.e. where the commitment of senior management was clearly evident to all levels of management and the workforce and employees were involved in the decision-making promise), will safety and health performance follow a continuous improvement pattern.


Obviously, management and supervisors must act to eliminate the circumstances and practices that lead to unsafe or risk-taking behavior if the desired safety culture is to be sustained. Furthermore, a program must be implemented to improve the safety culture, as reflected by behavior, that focuses on management commitment and personal aspects of safety awareness at all levels of the workforce.

It is also recommended that relevant guidance materials be developed and distributed in-house, to assist implementation of the principles of risk management and to achieve stronger compliance with legislation. All levels of the workforce… [END OF PREVIEW]

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