The Safety Improvement Team (SIT) Primer is designed to assist work groups who are ready to establish a Safety Improvement Team, and it provides guidance for an SIT to function as an integral part of the Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) process at the local level. It assumes that the workgroup has received the appropriate BBS training.
Each SIT plays a pivotal role in the successful implementation and growth of the BBS process. Cooperating with each other, working through differences, functioning as a team, communicating within your organization, networking with other SITs, and working with the company BBS Lead are vital to individual organizational successes and the success of BBS at your location.
We hope that you will find this Primer useful in your endeavor to improve safety by reducing at-risk behaviors, thereby preventing injuries.
A well-functioning SIT is critical to the implementation and growth of the BBS process in an organization. To ensure the SIT members have the necessary skills to support success, the initial SIT should be carefully selected from a group of trained BBS observers. SITs may be established for departments, work groups, buildings, etc as determined necessary to ensure proper participation and involvement with personnel.
A BBS Coordinator, along with a Management Champion, should be identified at the outset of your BBS implementation. The Coordinator and Management champion should make recommendations to Senior Management as to the initial assignments of an SIT. The SIT Charter (Section 4) should clearly define the initial period of assignment and the method for subsequent rotation of members.
(Note: The coordinator typically does not become involved in an SIT. The Coordinator may serve as a resource of information and as a liaison with company or Company BBS Lead.)
The BBS Process is most successful when the entire organization (observee through senior management) participates by supporting their particular roles. It is also important to have a representative composite of employees of the workgroups on the SIT. Membership should include a diverse cross-section of the organization and the team should be comprised of employees who are respected by their peers, display leadership qualities, and are forward thinkers.
The exact number of team members on an SIT can vary depending on the size and function of a particular workgroup, and should be defined in the Charter. Clearly defined and communicated roles and responsibilities for everyone are essential. Consideration may be given to establishing more than one SIT depending on organizational needs.
The SIT should take action, as soon as possible, to assign or elect SIT leaders. Until that action is complete, the Management Champion may designate a Chairperson and a Recording Secretary. The Management Champion should not serve as an officer.
The SIT is encouraged to create a unique identity. This unique name or acronym, logo, motto or slogan can serve as a unifier for the team.
The functions listed below are vital if an SIT is to guide the organization through successful implementation and support long term sustainability. Responsibilities of each function and the desired characteristics or abilities needed to carry out those functions are provided. The expected time factor (TF) and the level of involvement (High, Medium, and Low) are also shown. (NOTE: Functions may be combined, based on the number of team members available, as well as the capabilities of those individuals. Also, as the SIT matures, rotation of these roles will help prevent SIT stagnation.)
BBS Process Subject Matter Expert (SME) - The BBS process SME is strong supporter of BBS and very knowledgeable of the process. This person is an energetic leader who ensures that everyone in a workgroup understands and is involved in the BBS process. One BBS process SME may provide services to several SITs. Functions include: working closely with the management team and the SIT, coordinating action plans, providing training, monitoring observation performance assisting in motivating or coaching to continuously improve the process.
Due to the importance of this role, strong consideration should be given to this being a full-time position (Guideline: One SME per 300-400 persons in the workgroup). (TF = High)
Meeting Facilitator - The facilitator is not necessarily a member of the SIT. The primary function is to facilitate the SIT meetings in a way that consistently keeps the team on track and on time. This person must enforce set discussion times tactfully. The facilitator encourages pre-plan meetings with the SIT Chair to ensure the meetings are both efficient and effective and works with the person recording the minutes to ensure the dissemination of accurate and timely meeting minutes. The facilitator assists the SIT in developing the next agenda at the end of each meeting and encourages the team to determine appropriate discussion time for each agenda item. (TF = Medium)Chair - The Chair of an SIT should be a natural leader who other team members respect. Functions include:
Access Administrator - Access to the BBS database (Section 6) should be password controlled. The Access Administrator is given database authority to administer. This function does not require a significant amount of time but does require computer experience. (TF = Low)
Form Administrator - Each SIT should construct a unique observation checklist. The Form Administrator is given authority to use a form generator tool (typically a computer application, Section 7) to assemble and control the observation checklist for the SIT. Computer experience is beneficial in performing this function. This function could be combined with that of the Access Administrator. (TF = Low)
Data Entry Person - If an SIT chooses to have one person enter all the observation data, the Data Entry Person is given database authority to input the data from all completed observation checklists into the database. This function requires good typing skills and a flexible schedule. It is also beneficial if this person is a trained BBS observer so that the person is familiar with the BBS terminology, philosophies, etc. (TF = High)
Data Manager - Data gathered through observations must be reviewed and interpreted for the SIT to provide positive feedback to employees for safe behaviors and develop solutions for trends that need action. The function of data management is to analyze the data in the BBS Database, produce appropriate reports/graphs, and prepare data packages for SIT review. Graphical information should be shared with employees. Some ways to accomplish this are to post information on bulletin boards, show graphs in Safety Meetings, or put information in newsletters. It is of particular help if the person(s) carrying out this function can contact a statistical analysis SME to help the SIT interpret data. (TF = Medium)
Recording Secretary - The recording secretary should be assigned either permanently or on a rotating basis to record SIT meeting minutes and to prepare and distribute smooth meeting minutes to all SIT members. This person works with the facilitator and the Chair to develop upcoming agendas prior to SIT meetings. The timely issuance of the meeting minutes is very important and requires a person with good organizational skills to consistently provide a quick turnaround. (TF = Medium)
Timekeeper - This function may be served by a strong facilitator. However, the SIT may choose to have an individual less involved in the leadership of the meeting assigned to ensure that the meetings stay on time. (TF = Low)
Management Champion - The Management Champion serves as an enabler and resource for the SIT. The selection of this individual is very important. The Management Champion should be a high-ranking, respected member of management with a devotion to the BBS process. The Management Champion must be willing to accept the neutral role as Champion of the SIT, and must avoid the temptation to manage the team. (TF = High)
Communicator - Experience in BBS implementation has determined that communication plays a pivotal role in the involvement of every person in the workgroup in the observation process and the continuing education of all employees. This function provides for release of information from the SIT to the organization. Desirable qualities of an individual filling this function are creativity, flexibility, computer skills and good oral and written communication abilities. One recommendation is to involve the Company, Division, or Department Communicator. (TF = Medium)
Safety Professional - If your organization employees a Safety Professional as an integral part of the Safety Program, the SIT may ask that individual to play a part in the BBS process. The Safety Professional should be trained as BBS observers and involved in your BBS process. An SIT may choose to include a Safety Engineer on the team. When this is not practical, the Safety Engineer should be recognized as a valuable resource for specific safety resolutions.
Critical behaviors are those behaviors that most often place personnel in a particular organization at-risk for injury. It is very important for the SIT to identify these critical behaviors as a first step in making the process unique to the organization and most effective in improving safety locally. By analyzing the organizational history and ensuring that these critical behaviors are in fact "critical" (i.e. statistically valid vs. just "gut feel") observations will be focused on specific areas of concern. Experts agree that several methods may be used by an SIT to develop its first set of critical behaviors. They include:
Should the SIT need to add a new critical behavior to the library, submit it to the company BBS Lead for consideration. Each new behavior must be clearly defined when submitted for inclusion in the library. This is necessary to ensure consistent use of a particular behavior within your company. Consideration should be given to writing the Critical Behaviors as short action statements describing behavior (Protecting Hands, Aware of/Avoiding Pinch Points, etc.)
An SIT should review the critical behaviors annually to determine if changes need to be made in the specific observation checklist based on the data analysis.
Data from the observation checklists is collected and entered into the BBS database. Key parameters to analyze are:
Other parameters may be selected for analysis by the SIT. These become the leading indicators of safety performance for the work group.
Once the data is analyzed, the SIT determines which at-risk behaviors are trending toward an injury. The SIT influences the trend from at-risk to safe by identifying the best approach for changing a behavior and communicating it to the workgroup. As action plans unfold, additional observations are performed to determine action plan effectiveness. A good action plan equates to an increase in safe behaviors. There may be a simple solution such as making sure Personal Protective Equipment is always available. However, an issue may be complex and the best solution may be for the SIT to develop an action plan with specific objectives identified, tracked and completed to ensure the solution is appropriate.
The BBS philosophy and process must spread beyond the SIT and the BBS observers. Communications is a key function and responsibility for an SIT. Develop a newsletter, issue bulletins, use bulletin boards, etc., to communicate details about the process to the company.
Although these tools as well as graphics, such as posters and charts have some impact, it is the face-to-face communication that pays off long-term. It is vital to communicate with everyone.
Manager and leader - The SIT has the ability to influence management and leadership in several ways:
Observers - The SIT has numerous opportunities to reinforce observers:
Observees - Positively reinforce their willingness to be observed and keep the pulse of the process:
SIT - The SIT should be the hub of communication:
Experienced SITs have learned that it is very effective for seasoned observers to communicate and share their observation skills with peers. It is also evident that new observers enjoy learning from their peers. By encouraging BBS observers to participate in training new observers, the process is greatly improved.
Regular attendance is necessary in order to keep the pulse of the process, to be made aware of areas in which individual members can support the process, and to stay abreast of the improvements which the workgroup is making in safety.
Observers volunteered to be involved in the BBS process because they are interested in promoting a safer work place. From time to time, observers may lose their original zeal. It is incumbent on the SIT to support those observers by providing them with positive feedback, letting them know that they are vital to the process, etc. (NOTE: This is a key role for line management also.)
SIT members should encourage all employees to be observed. Sometimes it becomes necessary for an SIT to visit other SITs or network with other work groups to infuse vitality into a BBS process that becomes stagnant. SITs should be very willing to assist others in coaching and mentoring techniques that are effective in revitalizing a process. Networking is a key to our success.
Positively reinforce co-workers when they support your job in your absence. At times, SIT responsibilities will require you to leave your "normal job". During these times, if someone covers for you, you should remember to give your coworker positive reinforcement for supporting you in this way.
Remember, too, that an SIT member must be a model for reduction of at-risk behaviors and conditions. As in many things, BBS is communicated by what members do at least as much as by what they say.
The charter provides an outline of the structure and objectives of the SIT and also captures the philosophy of the work group. It is a living document and can be modified as the process matures. See the appendix for examples. Brainstorming is an excellent tool to use in the initial development of the charter content. In brainstorming everything is captured, and discussions of each item follow once the brainstorming is completed.Charter Elements
There are going to be ups and downs in the performance of your SIT, especially at the beginning. Be honest about what is happening and how the team is managing itself. An honest self-assessment is vital if the team is at-risk for failure. See appendix 4.0 for sample assessment criteria Do not allow the SIT to fall into the trap of conducting mini-critiques as the observation data is analyzed. Just as observations focus on the positives, so should the SIT. During the first year, you should schedule a six-month self-assessment to help keep the SIT on track.
The SIT should have an annual assessment. The assessment should be based on a list of Critical Behaviors for SITs that provides a good guide for assessment. Sample Criteria may be found in the Appendix of this Primer.
Honesty is the best policy. Find facts, not faults. Some guidelines for the assessment meeting are to:
For the SIT to effectively increase safe behaviors, it must be able to view and analyze the data being gathered by observations. A computer application is necessary to ensure timely collection and analysis of observation data. This data should be entered into a database that allows for the generation of graphical reports on selected parameters. A good database will allow multiple functions to be performed. The following information is provided as an example of such a database developed by Westinghouse Savannah River Company for use with its BBS process.
The program Data Acquisition in Real Time (DART) has been developed as a multi-functional tool to collect, store and analyze information of various types. The DART BBS application contains two modules. Its purpose is to:
The data collected by the observation process is entered into DART. The DART Report Generating Module can analyze and correlate the data and produce report graphics for use by the SIT. By using the reports generated by DART, the SIT can review key parameters such as:
The report function of DART also provides the text fields of each completed observation. This helps the SIT interpret the data. The comments supplied during observations help put substance to the numbers. The comments enable the SIT to take a trend that shows, for example, an increase in at-risk behavior for hand safety and helps them see what the real issues are behind the trend.
Access to the various modules in the database is based on different security levels. Most often these individuals will be members of the SIT. The company may designate Module Administrators who have access to provide additional support for the SIT.
Each SIT determines the content of its observer form because of the variety of activities that take place on site and the resulting variety of behaviors.
As mentioned earlier in this document, the SIT should assign the function of Form Administrator to an SIT member. This individual will be given the proper authority to build the form using the selected software or to initiate form production by a graphics support group.
The Observation form is the single most important piece of paper involved in the BBS process. It is used to collect the observation data and results in data entry into the BBS database or DART (Section 6).
Once the SIT has determined the critical behaviors for your organization, you are ready to begin the construction of your form. To encourage use and allow time for the process to mature, the form should be initially designed to be easy for the observer to use and for the Data Entry Person to translate into the BBS database or DART.
To help in this task, a computer application should be selected to ease the building of the form. This allows the SIT to build a form that is specific for the organization. Experience has determined that several fields need to be mandatory.Mandatory Header Fields:
The SIT determines if other fields to be identified in the header. Fields may be added later as the organization matures in the process and the SIT determines a need for more detailed information. The header may also contain space for the SIT Logo, Slogan, Identifier or other graphics or text which can be used to customize your form. Graphics should be in a standard format such as the GIF or JPEG file format.Body Fields: The body of the form will be composed of two Major Columns:
In the Critical Behaviors Column list the initial Critical Behaviors to be observed for the first year. Add the following mandatory fields:Mandatory Critical Behavior Fields:
This field is a follow-up field to indicate those observations which should be examined closely for more specific action.Footer Fields
A multipurpose text field can be placed in the footer. This text field can be used as determined by the SIT to document: Best/Good practices observed, an overall summary of the "flavor" of the observation, a summary of any safety commitments obtained etc. The footer may also be used to provide a list of obstacles, critical behavior definitions or guidance, etc.Entering Observations
Two methods of data entry may be used:
Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. The SIT will have to decide what procedures work best for its workgroup. At least initially the SIT will need to monitor its data entry process closely to determine if adjustments or changes are needed. Regardless of the method chosen, it is important that after the data is entered, any physical observation form is discarded or shredded.
One of the biggest issues for observee participation is the fear of determining who was observed. Therefore, observation forms shall never be shared individually. Reports generated should have a minimum number of data sheets (e.g. > 10) included so that individual observees cannot be determined from information publicized. Additionally, the SIT can design the reports generated so that all of the information obtained on the observation form (e.g. time of day, title of the job observed) is not disseminated outside of the SIT.
The SIT is to use leading indicators to understand and reduce at-risk behavior and the resultant injuries. Leading indicators are trends identified from the observation data that indicate an increase in at-risk behavior prior to an accident occurring. The analysis of the leading indicators will point the SIT (thereby the workgroup) in the right direction. This is the greatest task of the SIT. Second is the formation of solutions that are needed to change at-risk trends.
The SIT can provide solutions in several ways:
Observer involvement is essential to successful BBS implementation. Observers must continuously see that there is value from management, the SIT, and fellow employees for the observations they are performing. The SIT must actively encourage observer involvement to keep all observers engaged. Several suggestions for engaging the observers include:
The SIT, in conjunction with the company steering committee or lead, is responsible for the growth of the process in the organization. Considerations are:
Workgroups implementing BBS should be cautioned not to place the success of BBS on any single entity. Often people assume that the most important person in BBS is the observer. Without these valuable volunteers, observations (therefore the process) would fail. However, it could also be argued that the SIT members are most critical. Without data analysis, long-term solutions cannot be determined which would improve the overall culture of an organization. Another view could be that everything hinges on the observee. If they don't volunteer to be observed, then the process would never get started. First and second line managers need to allow time for observations. Without their support the process could not succeed. Lastly, it is realized that when it's all said and done, senior management has to provide resources so that improvements determined can be funded and on-going training can be attended.
Behavior based safety involves every member of the team. All of these people and functions are critical to a successful BBS process. Each person, from the observee to the senior manager, has a crucial role to support the success and long-term sustainability of BBS. When each person gives strong individual support, the process will be most effective and succeed.
Source: DOE- Savannah River. Note: The SIT is actually called the Local Safety Improvement Team (LSIT) in the original Primer produced by Savannah River.
Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).