Why Zero Injuries Does NOT Always Mean Your Worksite is Safe

Case Study #4

Using Behavioral Science to Go Green

Description of Client and Facility

The client is an international company with over 20,000 employees in 150 locations worldwide. They provide industrial, defense, and workforce solutions to commercial and government consumers. The client’s challenge was to support an existing green initiative:  “making a difference through environmental responsibility” at one of its facilities located in the Western United States.   The site employed 300 employees at the time of our implementation.

General Implementation Procedure

We piggy backed a Behavior Based Environmental ™ (BBE) process onto an already successful Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) process (see Case Study #1 and Case Study #2 for descriptions of BBS processes set-up at different facilities).  Thus, the use of observation and feedback as a means of improving employee performance was already familiar and established at this site.  

To get started, we found it critical to get employees to first ask whether they were observing a safety or environmental issue. This activated the process of looking for environmental issues in addition to the safety issues which were already well established. To facilitate this, the BBS and BBE observation checklists (forms used for tracking safety-related and environmentally-friendly behaviors) were included on a single form separated only by perforation so they could be easily taken apart.  In this way, safety-related behaviors and environmentally-friendly behaviors could be recorded independently and tracked appropriately.   However, only a single already familiar and comfortable form needed to be carried by employees.

 Results and Concluding Comments

The BBE process initiated as an extension of a successful BBS process produced a savings of over $300,000 over the course of the first year.  A majority of the savings occurred as a result of decreased energy consumption by turning-off office lights when not in use, car pooling in company vehicles to save fuel, and recycling paper products. 

During the course of the process, the workforce stayed roughly the same size, approximately 300 employees.  Thus, the savings produced by the BBE implementation works out to be about $1,000 of savings per employee over the course of the year. A small portion of these savings were re-invested into the process and workforce to maintain enthusiasm and process success.