How to Automate Behavior-Based Safety with EHS Management Software

[fa icon="calendar"] Thu, Feb 05, 2015 / by Rachel Beavins Tracy

How can the EHS System improve behavior-based safety To reduce incidents and create a culture of safety in the workplace, many leading companies have adopted behavior-based safety (BBS) programs that encourage personal responsibility for safety.                          

What is BBS? It’s is a scientific approach to raising safety awareness, using observation and feedback to identify safe and unsafe conditions in the workplace. Ideally, it’s an employee-driven process, based on the idea that individuals taking ownership of safety is most effective at achieving lasting cultural change.

Whether or not your company uses a formal BBS process, you probably incorporate several of its methods, such as:

  • Tracking hazards and corrective actions
  • Creating open dialogue between supervisors and employees
  • A focus on improving procedures

Reaching safety goals is a process, perhaps a long one depending on your starting point. After all, workplace safety culture is a large ship, one that takes time to turn around.

To address this, many organizations find an EHS management system helps achieve faster gains with fewer incidents, providing a standardized method for effecting behavioral change in employees.

Let’s look at the tools that help you do it.

Centralized Training: Given the demands of the workplace, it’s understandable why training sometimes falls by the wayside. Supervisors are busy, new employees are needed on the floor—it can take months before employees are caught up, during which time incidents can occur due to training gaps.

Standardizing Employee Training is the only way to make sure your employees know how to perform their jobs safely. EHS management software makes it easy to do this, ensuring workers receive essential training at the right time. It streamlines the process by allowing you to assign required trainings by role or facility, as well as by providing automatic notifications for scheduled and overdue trainings.

Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA): Every employer needs a system to follow up on hazards and incidents in the workplace. It’s why Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) are a central element of any BBS approach, allowing you to correct problems and ensure those corrections are applied to other related procedures.

EHS Software automates the process, providing an efficient strategy for routing any CAPA through review, root cause analysis, corrective action taken and verification. Automated CAPA tools are a key part of not just correcting problems, but also sharing observations and feedback with the entire organization so others can learn from incidents.

Safety Audits: Whether you’re working on OHSAS 18001 certification,  ISO 14001 for EHS management systems, or simply conducting an internal safety audit, having tools to standardize your audits will help you get the most from the process.

Not only do these certifications help employees internalize safe behavior, the audit journey itself is a process that can heighten safety awareness. Look for EHS management system that streamlines Audits & Surveys, with automatic scheduling, custom survey building tools and integrated risk assessment to inform your decisions. You should also look for software that links up with the CAPA system, allowing you to issue corrective action requests as you go.

Collaborative Tools: Again, sharing your findings with the organization is a key part of BBS programs. That’s because achieving a true culture of safety requires leveraging each and every safety lesson learned. An important thing to remember when sharing your findings is that it’s not about shaming or blaming individuals, but improving the process.

EHS software provides automated routes for sharing these lessons. Key capabilities to look for include:

  • Meeting Management so you can not only plan and schedule meetings, but also distribute resources and assign and track corrective action requests.
  • Document Control software to ensure your message is consistent across all documents, from work procedures and test methods to product specifications and employee manuals. It’s important updated documents are available when you need them, instead of having to search through old files or emails.
  • Centralized Reporting software gives you visibility into the results of your safety campaigns, helping you quickly track your progress and identify other trends that need attention.
  • A central location for Material Safety Data Sheets so workers can easily reference important information on handling dangerous substances.

The success of any BBS program ultimately relies on individuals making a commitment to safety. While the human element does introduce some level of uncertainty, there are tools that can standardize the process and help employees make safety a top priority in the workplace.

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Topics: EHS Management

Rachel Beavins Tracy

Written by Rachel Beavins Tracy

Rachel Tracy is a writer for ETQ with expertise in environmental, healthcare and technology topics. She has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and has been writing for businesses since 2008.

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