Behavior Based Safety Observations -- worth the paper they're recorded on?


#1

Some time ago we received a survey asking for our opinions on and data on how we use our behavior based safety observation program. We were assured that the safety department wanted our honest opinions and suggestions. I think I hurt the author’s feelings … he hasn’t talked to me since.

My concerns then, and now: 1.) By setting a quota of the number of cards submitted, it is likely that folks will just make stuff up to meet the quota, thus corrupting the data and invalidating any trends or conclusions that the office folks might draw from the aggregate observations; 2.) For crew members who participate in the JSA and pre-job planning process and have good attitudes and want to work safely, the sorts of things we are invited to identify as “at-risk” behaviors just don’t happen that much; 3.) The observation cards are primarily geared toward licensed officers observing unlicensed deck or engine room personnel and identifying behaviors that may result in hand or eye injuries, slips or falls, that sort of thing; nowhere is there space/context/invitation to observe officers in the decision-making, planning, execution of voyages or vessel moves that may result in incidents costliest to the company. 4.) What I said then was that a much greater emphasis on no-comeback reporting of near misses and better root cause analysis of actual incidents would better serve safety.

Questions: 1.) Why are we still using mid-20th century technology to identify and correct risky behaviors? Isn’t there a better way by now? 2.) Is this driven by ISM, the customers, insurance … what? 3.) Does anyone have experience of better methodologies?


#2

Setting a quota for near misses can work. At first it seems like BS but when an experenced crew member, that the crew respects, reports an error that can get the ball rolling. The BS to real ratio can switch quickly once the crew understands it not a blame game.

I’ve seen good data from ships. There is an very striking relationship between high number of reported near misses and low number of actual incidents.

It starts at the top, management errors usually manifests themselves on deck or elsewhere. We take operations that don’t go well into account in planning.

I look to aviatiion safety. The underlying principles that have reduced avaition incidents can be seen in Safety management systems.


#3

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;160612]Setting a quota for near misses can work. At first it seems like BS but when an experenced crew member, that the crew respects, reports an error that can get the ball rolling. The BS to real ratio can switch quickly once the crew understands it not a blame game.

I’ve seen good data from ships. There is an very striking relationship between high number of reported near misses and low number of actual incidents.

It starts at the top, management errors usually manifests themselves on deck or elsewhere. We take operations that don’t go well into account in planning.

I look to aviatiion safety. The underlying principles that have reduced avaition incidents can be seen in Safety management systems.[/QUOTE]

KC, I agree about near misses. The big barrier, especially in this market, appears to be convincing people that they won’t lose their jobs for honestly reporting a near miss.

What’s your take on planned and random “observations” – the cards?


#4

I used to think it was BS as well when it all started but over the years have embraced the change and am honest with the crew about it being a number’s game. Look at the number of unsafe acts that could have hurt a shipmate or worse, and document it so we all can learn onboard. A year ago we would pat ourselves on the back when we hit 60% participation, but are now coming up on 2 months with 100% participation on a rig with a POB fluctuating between 150-200. Our incidents have gone way down only 2 minor first aids in that time frame. We have utilized those cards to improve our systems and our behavior has improved tremendously. Yes, there are still naysayers onboard and that is a shame as it is apparent we have come a long way in the past year. Sure there is the occassional BS card but they are far outweighed by the number of good, honest cards that are helping us all perform at much higher levels. The pyramid thought process is true. And forcing guys to write them or demanding all participate did not work. Positive re-inforcement and buy-in from management works. I keep with me an older STOP card from another rig where the crew wrote their morale sucked because I was always harping on them about this and that so I have taken a new approach and am impressed with not only the quality of what we are seeing, but how it has advanced us all as a crew.


#5

We deal with near misses within the crew, maybe with the opposite crew, and rarely with the office. The office has the mentality that near-misses are usually still incidents and to cover their ass want it documented as such. We’re all set admitting to an incident that was not an incident. No damage, no injury, no pollution does not make an incident. If I want a sterile environment I would go sell homeowners insurance.

I feel near miss reporting is very useful and a critical part of developing and maintaining safe operations, but the system at least for my vessel needs tweaking.

Wasn’t there dialogue a while ago that the CG would possibly investigate near-misses with the possibility of penalties?


#6

[QUOTE=txh2oman;160615]KC, I agree about near misses. The big barrier, especially in this market, appears to be convincing people that they won’t lose their jobs for honestly reporting a near miss.

What’s your take on planned and random “observations” – the cards?[/QUOTE]

I think there is formal system and a real one. Senior officers need to work on closing the gap. If the formal system is too BS it needs to be changed or modified.

As to the real system, you have to use what you’ve got. In my case I don’t usually confess at the meetings etc, but the watch AB overhears the discussions I have with the mates on the bridge, they gossip to the rest of the crew. And I have a great C/E but sometimes the whole crew hears/sees our discussions (!) but also sees the mutual respect and support.

Mind the gap.


#7

[QUOTE=txh2oman;160608]Some time ago we received a survey asking for our opinions on and data on how we use our behavior based safety observation program. We were assured that the safety department wanted our honest opinions and suggestions. I think I hurt the author’s feelings … he hasn’t talked to me since.

My concerns then, and now: 1.) By setting a quota of the number of cards submitted, it is likely that folks will just make stuff up to meet the quota, thus corrupting the data and invalidating any trends or conclusions that the office folks might draw from the aggregate observations; 2.) For crew members who participate in the JSA and pre-job planning process and have good attitudes and want to work safely, the sorts of things we are invited to identify as “at-risk” behaviors just don’t happen that much; 3.) The observation cards are primarily geared toward licensed officers observing unlicensed deck or engine room personnel and identifying behaviors that may result in hand or eye injuries, slips or falls, that sort of thing; nowhere is there space/context/invitation to observe officers in the decision-making, planning, execution of voyages or vessel moves that may result in incidents costliest to the company. 4.) What I said then was that a much greater emphasis on no-comeback reporting of near misses and better root cause analysis of actual incidents would better serve safety.

Questions: 1.) Why are we still using mid-20th century technology to identify and correct risky behaviors? Isn’t there a better way by now? 2.) Is this driven by ISM, the customers, insurance … what? 3.) Does anyone have experience of better methodologies?[/QUOTE]

We have the rat cards too. (That’s what they’ve come to be called) Rarely get used. Have to be routed through the ship’s “xo” (Chief mate equivalent) so there’s no anonymity. Most of the time they are not prominently located and hard to find. I don’t think many people use them. May as well write in cuneiform on clay tablets.

If I see an unsafe act I will bring it up with the person…hey you need to tag that out…have you checked this…did you know…etc because the card novelty wore off and it’s kind of a joke.


#8

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL SAFETY: HOW STAGES OF CHANGE INFLUENCE SAFETY BEHAVIORS