Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #380
CE Offered: BACB
A Review of Management Practices That Produce Results in Behavioral Safety
Monday, May 28, 2012
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
604 (Convention Center)
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: Cloyd Hyten (ADI)
CE Instructor: Timothy D. Ludwig, Ph.D.

Behavioral Safety has been a success story of the successful application of behavior analytic principles in the workplace. This symposium focuses discussion on the management practices associated with behavioral safety programs that achieve reductions in at-risk behaviors that lead to injury through data-based reviews of case studies and expert evaluations. The first presentation by Grainne Matthews, a consultant with extensive experience implementing behavioral safety programs, will present a case study on two companies who had large differences in management involvement. The second presentation by Timothy Ludwig reviews a case study based on his work with the non-profit Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Commission on Behavioral Safety Accreditation. In this case, he will describe a behavioral safety program managed by the very employees the program targets. The final presentation will be delivered by Judy Komaki whose seminal work on operant approaches to leadership will inform her review of management practices in safety programs for this symposium. The discussant, Cloyd Hyten spent many years as a researcher in Organizational Behavior Management before becoming a behavioral safety consultant.


Management Practices That Influence the Success of Behavioral Safety: A Comparison of Company Process and Outcome Measures

GRAINNE A. MATTHEWS (Quality Safety Edge)

This paper will compare the results of Behavioral Safety in two companies in the effect of management behavior on the success of their process in reducing injuries. The two companies, a municipal utility and a surface mine, followed the same steps to implement Behavioral Safety: (a) assess status of current safety management system to identify missing or ineffective components of a performance management system, (b) lead a peer-nominated team of employees through the process of planning Behavioral Safety, (c) train all employees and management to conduct observations and provide feedback, (d) train employee-led teams to maintain the new process, and (e) train all management in their role in supporting the Behavioral Safety process. Both companies significantly reduced the frequency and severity of injuries to employees. The utility fell from an average of ten Occupational Safety and Health Authority recordable incidents per year in the four years prior to implementation to less than three in the two years following implementation. The rate of Occupational Safety and Health Authority recordable incidents at the mine fell from 6.0 per 200,000 hours worked in the five years before implementation to 2.5 in the five following years. However, there were important differences in the rate at which the rate reductions occurred which may be a result of the degree of involvement of management at the two companies. The involvement of management will be described and its impact on a measure of the process health, voluntary participation in conducting observations and providing feedback, will be explored.


Turning Ownership Over to the Employees: A Management "Practice" That Yielded Results

TIMOTHY D. LUDWIG (Appalachian State University), John Austin (Western Michigan University)

This talk will present a data-based case study of one of the world-class behavioral safety programs accredited by the Cambridge Center for Behavior Studies. This petrochemical refinery has substantially decreased their injury rates to levels significantly below industry average associated with the maturity of their Behavior-Based Safety program called the Circle of Safety (C.O.S). What makes this facilitys BBS program a best-practice is the fact that the C.O.S. process is completely managed by trained hourly union employees. This group not only promotes C.O.S. observations and peer-to-peer feedback but also own the resulting data which they use for action planning and communication. They run contractor meetings to share lessons from the data and have a voting seat at management safety meetings. The success of this approach is demonstrated not only in their substantial reduction in injuries but also in a 91% increase in voluntary employee observers.


If Only We Would Craft Programs for Managers as Well as We Do for Workers

JUDITH L. KOMAKI (Baruch College)

Thirty plus years ago, I set up motivational programs to improve such critical but difficult-to-detect tasks as preventive maintenance, customer service, and safety. But I quickly learned that without the proper management support, the program, no matter how well designed, would be doomed to failure. Hence, I began listening aboard racing sailboats and in executive suites to the nimble, back-and-forth exchanges of those in charge. What effective managers actually said and did was my focus (Komaki, 1998). In looking from a leadership perspective at the behavioral safety literature, I see experiment after experiment resulting in dramatic improvements in employee safety performance and subsequent reductions in injuries. With few exceptions, however, the emphasis is on the worker. When behavior analysts identify desired middle and upper level management practices, some but not all of the steps are included. To illustrate, we will practice analyzing safety practices introduced in a manufacturing plant in Mexico by Hermann, Ibarra, and Hopkins (2010). Using the 3 steps as our guide, we will assess such practices as safety performance objectives for superintendents and supervisors and weekly safety reviews in which superintendents and selected managers meet to review statistics (lost-time accidents) by department and shift. Perhaps just as important, we will discuss how these common practices can be bolstered to include the 3 critical steps of specifying, measuring, and reinforcing desired performance.




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