Why Zero Injuries Does NOT Always Mean Your Worksite is Safe

You Can Learn “A Lot From the First Storm” When You Practice Pure BBS

I just returned from my first experience at the Southeastern Regional Mine Safety and Health Conference. I send my sincere appreciation to all those who attended my talk on the Psychology of Safety Leadership. And, I want to thank the conference committee for inviting me to present.

I was quite impressed with the venue and the sessions I had the pleasure of attending. James Spann, meteorologist for Birmingham’s 33/40 ABC News, gave a particularly useful presentation on “preparedness”. Using the horrible rash of tornadoes that killed 252 people in the Birmingham area earlier this year as a backdrop, his message strongly applies to occupational safety. One thing he said really stood out to me. In describing the weather system he claimed, “you can tell a lot from the first storm.” Translated to occupational safety, I would suggest that “you can tell a lot from behavior.” That is, you don’t have to wait until an injury happens to take action. You can act “ahead of the major storm.”

It was also a pleasure to see a couple of presentations from companies who are pursuing the Behavior-Based approach to safety. I’ve been helping companies for 17 years to successfully use behavior as a leading indicator of safety. Behavior observation and feedback produces a great result. And, when done properly it doesn’t have to be too effortful or costly.

What we teach is Pure BBSTM. That is, we help everyone at your site to understand the fundamental principles of behavioral science and then apply these principles effectively to prevent injuries. With this approach you typically get a great result without “gimmicks” and the need to “incentivize” the process. Of course, we encourage you to have fun with your BBS process…just not at the expense of applying the principles that will produce and sustain a result over the long-term.

Having said that, I look forward to next year’s conference. In the meantime, please let me know how the Center for Behavioral Safety and I can assist you with your safety and leadership needs. In safety, I am, Thomas E. Boyce, Ph.D.

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