Monday, March 16, 2015

Behavioural Based Safety






Introduction
OHSAS18001:2007 – Clause number 4.3.1(e) specifies that the procedure for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) shall take into account human behavior, capabilities and other human factors. The importance of human behavior can be seen from the above.
While the word “Behavior” is defined by the free dictionary as below, 
·         as the action or reaction of something (as a machine or substance) under specified circumstances, or
·         the way a person behaves toward other people,
·         manner of acting or controlling yourself,
the implicit meaning as required by the standard is the attitude, which is defined as “a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways”
Hence, what is required to assess as a part of 4.3.1 (e) is the hazards and risks resulting from the attitude of the employees while working in operating processes using machines or carrying out manual operations. It should be noted that the attitude as defined above is a dynamic state and hence the hazards identified in an office, may not reflect the reality in the work area.   While carrying out HIRA, majority of the risks are measured based on the activities and invariably this aspect of behavior is grossly overlooked.
Measurement of human behavior/human factors
How do we measure the above dynamic nature of the risks attributed by the human behavior and other human factors? While the risk assessment identifies 2 major factors, namely- unsafe conditions and unsafe acts, statistics reveal that the significant causes of the workplace accidents are due to “unsafe acts”, putting the blame entirely on the employees. The question is whether there is a link between the “unsafe conditions” which is the responsibility of the employers and the “unsafe acts” which are related to the behavior of the employees while at work.
Examples of unsafe acts that can arise can be summarized into internal and external to the organisation.


Some of the internal issues that can lead to unsafe acts can be visualized as below
Sl. No.
Conditions
Actions
Result
Causes
1.        
Process /machine unsafe conditions
Unknown  to the process owner
Continues to operate –leads to unsafe act
Ignorant
2.        
Process /machine unsafe conditions known to the process owner
Informs the management, who ignores and does not correct
Leading to unsafe act
Behavior by management
3.        
Process/Machine in good condition
Operator flouts instructions, procedures, etc.,
Leading to unsafe act
Willful behavior by employee
4.        
Process/Machine in good condition
Operator given defective PPE's
Leading to unsafe act
Willful behavior by management
5.        
Process/Machine in good condition
Operator does not know correct operating conditions
Leading to unsafe act
Inadequate training- management
6.        
Machine in good condition
Operator acts independently beyond the limits of working
Leading to unsafe act
Willful behavior- unwarranted initiative by employee
7.        
Everything is fine. Operator is unhappy with the working conditions
Expresses resentment through unsafe acts
Leading to unsafe act
Willful behavior by employee
8.        
Everything is fine Operator unhappy with Management
Intentional unsafe act to catch the attention
Leading to unsafe act
Unwarranted behavior y employee
9.        
Everything is fine a group of bad elements  unhappy with Management
Intentional unsafe act to catch the attention
Leading to unsafe act
Unwarranted behavior by employees
Some of the external issues that can lead to unsafe acts can be visualized as below
Sl. No.
Conditions
Actions
Result
Causes
1
Unhappy at home, disturbed mind

Unintentional unsafe act
Leading to unsafe act
Human factor- employee
2
Unwell and physically disturbed
Unintentional unsafe act
Leading to unsafe act
Human factor- employee
3
Falls sick while at work
Unintentional unsafe act
Leading to unsafe act
Human factor- employee
4
External forces incite to create unsafe conditions inside the workplace  
Intentional unsafe act
Leading to unsafe act
Human factor- employee

Solutions
Remedies and solutions to prevent/minimize unsafe acts falling out of human behavior and human factors are given below:
·         Behavioral safety is the inclusion of behavioral approach in the traditional training programmes. Behavioral safety is the awareness and mindfulness of the hazards and risks in their workplace and use the knowledge and skills to prevent the incidents. 
·         Traditionally, significant reduction in work place accidents due to unsafe acts is done thro’ structured training programmes on the implementation of SOP’s, Safe Work Practices, etc., However, it is not enough. The following are some of the remedies and solutions that can be implemented.
·         Company needs a Leadership with personal accountability and responsibility. It is an everyday affair looking for warning signs, cultural clues and verifying “what could go wrong” on that particular day. The question is why a person chooses an unsafe behavior putting every one around him in an unsafe condition. The answer to this is the approach of “walk the talk”, looking at early warning signs, listening to the employees about their problems, to highlight the negative behavior, to discuss as to how it can harm the person and the work place and solving the problems proactively.  This is to be done on every day basis by the Safety Managers, Executives, and Shop floor managers.
·         During the above, some of the following actions will be helpful to identify  individuals who are likely to affect the safety culture of the company
o   Individual mentoring
o   Predict the likely mob behavior and implement solutions proactively
o   Providing engineering solutions as an alternate to use of PPE’s in a speedier manner
o   Active listening to identified problems during walk the talk
o   Initiating preventive health care, company wide
o   Prevention of monotony at the work place
o   Relying less on administrative controls
o   Initiating job enlargement/enrichment opportunities
Conclusions
Behavioral safety is a dynamic phenomenon and there is no standard solution to the unsafe acts falling out of human behavior and human factors. Solutions vary due to the company culture, products/services provided, level of unsafe conditions, type of leadership, etc.,

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