PO BOX 199 SHEFFIELD S1 4YL ENGLAND WWW.HAZARDS.ORG
BS ALERT: BEHAVIOURAL SAFETY SCHEMES WARNING
Behavioural safety is a flop - official
An HSE-backed evaluation of a print industry safety project conducted between April 1998 and March 2001 found it cut deaths and serious injuries by over a quarter (27 per cent) and led to a marked improvement in health and safety in the UK's paper mills. It also found that while the project overall was a success, behavioural safety initiatives had been a near total flop that had been ditched by almost all the companies trying them.
The report notes: "Behavioural safety had been attempted by the majority of the mills and had been abandoned in all but one. Reasons for their failure included a poor culture, lack of management backing, a blame culture etc."
It adds: "At one of the mills their 'Behaviour based safety' scheme had been labelled: 'Big Brother Spying', and was seen as management abdicating responsibility for managing safety."
Comments from workers included: "It's a joke here, half -cocked"; and "It was implemented wrong, and is used as a 'catch-people-out' scheme. The culture is not right; people are defensive and have their backs up."
The authors say: "The overall conclusion on behaviour based safety is that it is not an appropriate mechanism to improve safety culture until basic levels of safety management and safety culture have been achieved. There needs to be high levels of trust and a common understanding between management and the workforce concerning the purpose of such initiatives."
The report says that elements of the Initiative recognised
as important and cited as being particularly effective were:
Cooperation, networking and collaboration increased across the industry, and provided opportunities for benchmarking on injury rates;
Partnerships improved, and resulted in better relationships between trade unions and employers; and
Consistency of approach by HSE inspectors.
The research was initiated after print union GPMU identified wide disparities in the safety performance of different mills.
Download the full report [pdf format]
HAZARDS MAGAZINE WORKERS' HEALTH INTERNATIONAL NEWS