Behavior-Based Safety Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Fifteen questions used to measure willingness to AC were assembled into a questionnaire designed to examine the personality measures and items regarding employee response to various safety issues, adequacy of safety training, and attitudes toward other safety related issues. The most pertinent questions relating to AC were:

If I know a coworker is going to do a hazardous job, I am willing to remind him/her of the hazards (even if the employee is familiar with the job),

I am willing to warn my peers about working unsafely am willing to do whatever I can to improve safety, even confronting my peers about their unsafe acts.

The responses to these questions, measured on a 5-point Likert scale, were added to attain an AC score. The Likert technique presents a set of attitude statements. Subjects are asked to express agreement or disagreement of a five-point scale. Each degree of agreement is given a numerical value from one to five. Thus a total numerical value can be calculated from all the responses.

In addition, a space for respondent comments was included after every question, to allow the workers to expand upon the particular answer or issue in question.

Data Gathering Method

The method used was the survey questionnaire. The subjects were given the survey by their supervisors, and informed that it was a measure of the safety climate within their department. The questionnaire focused on these primary areas: Existing Safety Programs, Management and Employee Commitment, Technology and Data Sophistication, Organizational Alignment, and Feedback, Recognition, Incentive.

Database of the Study

The subjects were 65 hourly workers from one department of one division of a local manufacturing plant. The subjects ranged in age from early twenties to sixties with an average job tenure of 8 years. The plant operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and employs approximately 2000 workers, most of whom are production workers. Most of the hourly workers in the plant (approximately 1800) belong to the local union, which has been represented at the plant since it first opened.

SURVEY INSTRUMENT

1-Strongly agree, 2- agree, 3-not sure, 4-disagree, 5-strongly disagree

My department has an active safety management program which includes an active accident investigation program

Circle One)

Comments:

Safety controls exist but they are not always enforced.

Circle One)

Comments:

Accidents and injuries are caused more by deficiencies in equipment and training than by careless work habits or poor safety attitudes

Circle One)

Comments:

If I know a coworker is going to do a hazardous job, I am willing to remind him/her of the hazards (even if the employee is familiar with the job),

Circle One)

Comments:

Accidents are a primary concern of management

Circle One)

Comments:

My working environment is as safe as is humanly possible.

Circle One)

Comments:

I am willing to warn my peers about working unsafely

Circle One)

Comments:

My company has the resources to devote an employee/management committee of at least six people to meet approximately two hours per week to oversee a behavioral safety process

Circle One)

Comments:

Every full-time employee should be allowed a minimum of 10 minutes per week to conduct observations

Circle One)

Comments:

10. I am willing to do whatever I can to improve safety.

Circle One)

Comments:

11. Even confronting my peers about their unsafe acts.

Circle One)

Comments:

12. I would personally be willing to encourage others to change an at- risk behavior that they don't want to change or won't change

Circle One)

Comments:

13. I would consider hiding an injury in order not to jeopardize my chances at a safety incentive bonus

Circle One)

Comments:

14. I believe that safety needs to be more adequately addressed in my department.

Circle One)

Comments:

My department's safety performance objectives for managers and supervisors coincide with the safety performance objectives for individual employees or groups of employees

Circle One)

Comments:

Validity and Limitations

The validity of the study was limited in the sense that the sample was not truly random in that it was likely biased toward the behavioral approach. In other words, most of those who took the time to answer the questions are probably more knowledgeable and confident about behavioral strategies than those who did not. Still, answers revealed some important findings.

In addition, the sampling pool represents only 3% of the hourly worker population. Due to time constraints and budget limitations, it was not feasible at the time of the survey to include a larger sampling pool. Due to the scope of this project, results are only valid for the shifts and department in which the subjects worked. It would be expected that results for different workers and different shifts would give different responses.

These results may be subject to certain sampling biases. As the supervisors were in control of administering the survey, it is not known if there may be sampling bias. The supervisors were given the option of how to choose the subjects, therefore it cannot be known if the supervisors either consciously or unconsciously chose subjects who would give positive results.

The subjects were not asked to provide demographic information as that may have the effect of biasing the answers. Demographic information may have created a fear of retribution for unfavorable answers. The lack of demographic information makes it difficult to determine if the survey encompassed a random sampling of subjects. It is also not known if answers would have been different for various shifts and longevity with the plant. Although demographic information can provide valuable information, it was not used in this case for fear of further bias to the results.

Summary of Chapter 3

The questionnaire was designed to determine whether focusing on safety behavior through actively caring will bring about the desired changes. The research has shown that social approval and encouragement can bring about positive changes in safety norms, and that the employees are the best people to redefine their safety norms, as they control their own behavior. It follows, therefore, that any safety improvement initiative which relies almost exclusively on management-dictated efforts, is less likely to be as successful as one that empowers and enables the workforce itself.

Data Analysis

Chapter 4

There were a number of issues that were made clearer from the surveys, both from the Likert scale questions and the additional comments. These primarily related to training levels; consultation; management's level of interest in safe working practices and standards vs. productivity; level of understanding of occupational safety and health issues; and level of employee input.

Analysis of Raw Data

Question number1 asked if the department had an active safety management program, which included an active accident investigation program. 69% of the respondents did not feel that they had an active safety management program, If one does indeed exist, the workers do not know about it. It is clear that a safety program in the plant needs more visibility to be effective.

Question number 2 asked if safety controls exist but are not enforced. An overwhelming 75% of the respondents answered yes. This indicates a clear need to enforce OSHA and NIOSH Safety rules at the worksite. Both education and enforcement are needed.

Question 3 pointed to a clear need to improve in the area of safe equipment. 79% of the respondent s reported a need to improve in this area.

Question number 4 reflects a felling for the social climate at the company. 54% said that they would not inform or remind a co-worker if they were going to be committing a hazardous act. 35% were not sure if they would or not, This question measures the social attitudes about safety at the plant. This question may be closely tied to number five, which asked if workers felt that accidents were of primary concern for management. 88% of the workers surveyed felt that safety was not a primary concern for management. This may indicate that the workers are being pushed to work faster, which creates an unsafe environment.

Question number 6 indicated that the environment was not as safe as it could be with 84% responding that they agree that the work environment was not as safe as it could be.

Question 7 again reiterated that workers were unwilling to warn their peers about working unsafely.

Question 8 indicated that workers were not sure if management would be able to meet for a short time each week to oversee a behavioral safety process.

Question 9 shows an extreme lack of concern for personal safety as most responded that they should not be allowed 10 minutes per week to conduct safety observations. It is not known what factors may have influenced these answers, but it is clear that priorities are elsewhere, other than on safety.

Question 10 is interesting in light of question 9. 77% said that they would do all that they can to improve safety, but according to questions 9 and 7, they are unwilling to take even a minimal amount of time from their day to accomplish this.

Question 11 again re-iterated the…

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