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Safety Excellence with BeHOP Case Study

Safety Excellence with BeHOP®: Case Study

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

In late 2021, we began working with a leading chemical manufacturing company to revamp their behavior-based safety (BBS) program. This organization has a strong safety culture and emphasizes safety as a core value. However, their BBS program had grown stale. This was due to an overly long checklist and overemphasis on quotas which led to “pencil whipping” cards and very negative perceptions of the program. Recognizing these limitations, we worked with EHS leaders to create an entirely new BeHOP® process which combined the best elements of both Behavior-Based Safety and Human and Organizational Performance.

One of the early steps in program creation was to work with their steering team to create a new, shorter, conversation-based card to replace their old, lengthy checklist. This new guide focused on simple questions for leaders (and hourly employees) to use during observations with ample room for comments, including:

There were also guidelines on the card for promoting active caring, interactive discussions, actively listening, being open, and showing appreciation. The front of the card also had the tagline “Meaningful Conversations to Keep Everyone Safe” as a reminder for everyone about the purpose of the process. Once the guide and the logistics for its use (who/when/where) were finalized, BeHOP® training materials were customized and delivered (virtually) to key stakeholders.

The results of the program exceeded expectations. Participation rates immediately climbed (including hourly employee observations), and the quality and specificity of submissions improved. This was largely due to the efforts and creativity of the EHS personnel who did the following:

With ongoing executive coaching, leaders are sharing that EHS is viewed even more favorably after the program kickoff and that participation rates have remained high more than 2 years after implementation. This is no small task with any type of safety observation program. This reflects the efforts, talents, and vigilance of the EHS personnel managing it. It also shows that people are getting something out of the program. Safety conversations are more common and effective. Hazards have been reduced dramatically because swift actions are being taken when risks are identified. There have been no recordable incidents since the program began.

Safety Excellence with BeHOP®

This case study demonstrates the power of BeHOP® and similar efforts to improve the quality and quantity of safety conversations along with more effectively addressing identified system gaps. There is a lesson learned, too, for those with BBS programs. Be careful with overly long checklists and quotas. Focus on people over paper and conversations over card completion. When done properly, employees recognize the benefits of the program, and quotas or incentives won’t be needed.  

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