Talking Safety with John Dyer
Part 2 in our series
Measuring Behavioral Based Safety
One of the primary tasks of every EH&S manager is implementing new ways of improving safety. Behavioral Based Safety is just one such way Veolia is leading the industry, by developing new safety techniques and processes that help employees prevent injury to themselves as well as coworkers and customers. BBS was developed to help companies be proactive, rather than reactive, with anything related to safety. Traditionally, an injury must occur before the system can react, and safety is measured based on lagging indicators, such as accident rates. BBS is proactive, encouraging employees to stop a job whenever they spot potentially unsafe conditions. This approach rewards employees for being safe, rather than focusing on punishing them after an accident occurs.
“Even though this is a leading indicator program, it is actually measured against lagging indicators, including severity rate, lost time, and recordable injury rates. As the program develops, you should see your lagging indicators drop. Before we rolled out the program, we were averaging about 4-6 recordables a year in the Mid Atlantic branch, and now we’re down to about 1 or 2 . It takes time to get it done and takes a lot of commitment from both management and employees, but we’ve seen clear and positive results. In fact, the initiative has been so successful that we’ve started to mentor other companies within OSHA’s VPP program on our BBS methodology.
“The feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive as well. We’ve had several say that the safety culture and the observations that Veolia employees are making on their sites takes a little bit of stress away from them, because we’re picking up on safety issues at their facilities. It’s another set of eyes performing an observation or a safety inspection for that customer. What customers might not notice is being picked up by our employees on a routine basis and corrected or pointed out to them. Our Veolia team notices things like emergency gear—emergency shower or emergency eyewash, for instance—either not working or being blocked by equipment, making them inaccessible to employees. We point out things like that to our customers and correct them.”
- John Dyer, Director of Health and Safety for Veolia North America
Mid-Atlantic branch safety results before and after BBS implementation
Year Recordable Injuries Recordable Rate Severity Rate Lost Time Rate
2012 5 3.60 15.8 0.72
2016 1 0.68 0.00 0.00
Increase in the number of BBS submitted and participation by employees
2013 243 total BBS events submitted with 54 “good jobs” awarded to employees
2015 976 total BBS events submitted with 605 “good jobs” awarded to employees
Training classes led by employees
In 2016, a total of 47 of the 120 employees (39%) conducted and led a training class for fellow employees in the Mid-Atlantic branch