Safety programs based on changing employee behavior can help companies reduce the rate of accidents in the workplace – while slashing the frequency and severity of Workers Compensation Claims.
That’s the word from behavioral psychologist Daniel J. Moran, Senior Vice President of Quality Safety Edge (Joliet, IL), at a recent joint meeting of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. and the American Society of Safety Engineers.
Moran noted that data from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and Mercer L.L.C. show that businesses can save $3 to $6 in Workers Comp claim costs for every $1 they spend on behavior-based safety programs. He cited claims data from a major refinery, an energy firm, and a logging company that enjoyed significant reductions in lost-time Comp claims after they implemented behavior-based safety processes.
According to Moran, employees tend to engage in unsafe behaviors because improper shortcuts often have benefits, while accidents are rare. “If you’re not wearing your hard hat, you’re a lot more comfortable,” he said. “If you cut a few corners to make deadline, you… make that money.”
Moran advised companies to encourage safer behavior by rewarding workers who follow proper procedures. This includes pinpointing work procedures that help make them safer, measuring the use of safe workplace behaviors, giving positive feedback to workers who follow procedures, reinforcing good behaviors with individual and group rewards and social recognition, and conducting regular evaluations to see how safety can be improved.
Sounds like sound advice.