Safetip #69: Summarize and Analyze Observational Data
A BBS Process Includes Many Steps
An effective Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) program is composed of many steps that are defined even before a single behavior is observed. A best practice document from the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) outlines a step-by-step BBS process that organizations can adopt or use as a model to create their own BBS process. The first step of COAA’s BBS process consists of identifying behaviors needed to achieve the required safety performance. The second step consists of communicating those behaviors to workers, while the third step is about observing the workforce, collecting observations, and giving positive reinforcement when safe behaviors are observed. After all observations are collected and reported, it is time to initiate the crucial step of summarizing and analyzing the observational data.
Focus on Safe Behaviors Not Being Performed & At-Risk Behaviors Being Performed
COAA’s best practice document makes the following good point: Reporting the results of observations in an electronic system, rather than a manual one, is better because an electronic system can also give the ability to analyze the observational data.
Observational data should be summarized in a format that will make it easy to interpret and allow a more effective extraction of behavior performance data, COAA says. The quality and consistency of the observational data should be reviewed in order to prevent invalid or inaccurate data. COAA suggests the following types of summaries:
- Overall “acceptable” percentage for all behaviors
- “Acceptable” percentage for each separate behavior
- Trend chart showing overall “acceptable” percentage for all behaviors plotted over time
- Trend charts showing “Acceptable” percentages for each separate behavior plotted over time
- Observation and intervention activity data, e.g. number of observations performed for each behavior
- Charts showing correlations between behaviors and incidents
Once the data is summarized, an analysis of safe behaviors not being performed and at-risk behaviors being performed should take place. As part of the analysis, suggestions can be made to change the antecedents, activators or prompts that initiate the behavior(s), or the consequences that either encourage or discourage repetition of the behavior(s).
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