Fewer Accidents Thanks to Sustainable Safety Culture

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 1/17/2023, Location: Europe

An estimated 85 percent of all workplace accidents are behaviour-related. Even companies with a high organizational and technical occupational safety standard are facing this challenge. As longer accident-related downtimes are generally difficult to compensate personnel-wise, “Vision Zero“ is increasingly becoming more important for companies. To achieve the goal of zero accidents, TÜV Rheinland, a globally active testing company with over 20,000 employees worldwide, now offers companies in the UK behaviour-based occupational safety in addition to classic, formal occupational safety measures. “Our behaviour-based safety solutions are designed to measure and improve an organization’s safety culture, so that world class safety performance can be achieved in a sustainable way over time,“ says George Bradley, Occupational Safety Expert at TÜV Rheinland UK.

Winning the hearts and minds of the workforce
Behaviour-based safety (BBS) looks at the employee behaviour and identifies the root causes to behaviour, which is often a result of workforce attitudes to, and perceptions of, the organization’s safety message. ”A common factor for bypassing safety rules is time pressure: For example, employees don't take the time to get a ladder, but instead climb on their office chair to get something from the top of a cabinet,” explains George Bradley. If this unsafe behaviour is paired with praise for the speedy completion of the task, this unsafe behavior is reinforced and might be copied by other co-workers. The aggregate of habits shapes a company’s safety culture.

Managers and employees share the responsibility
”A sustainable improvement in the safety culture means replacing bad habits with good ones. Managers play an important role in this process, because they act as role models and represent the corporate philosophy,” stresses Bradley. Managers should therefore always comply with the applicable occupational safety rules, even – or especially – under time pressure. In addition, they must effectively lead good safety practices with employees in a motivating, rather than accusatory manner. "Positive reinforcement instead of blame is a core element of effectively leading a sustainable safety culture,” says Bradley.

Specially trained TÜV Rheinland industrial and organizational psychology experts train managers to improve their communication skills and leadership ability in this domain. However, a sustainable safety culture is not a top-down strategy. Instead, it should encourage all employees to become actively involved.

Wanted: Professional implementation with a 360° view
Behaviour-based occupational safety leads to significant safety culture improvements and consequently to a sustainable return on investment. Expertise in all aspects of occupational safety and a profound understanding of the interactions between technology, organization and people are essential prerequisites. “Our experts tailor the measures to be taken individually to a specific company while making sure to include already existing tools. Behaviour-based occupational safety is not a one-off intervention with an immediate effect, but rather a process," explains occupational safety expert George Bradley.

In the field of sustainable safety culture, TÜV Rheinland cooperates exclusively with SeaChange. The Irish company specializes in behaviour-based occupational safety and has already achieved an average accident reduction of up to 50 percent in a wide range of client companies using this methodical and evidence-based approach.

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