Behavior-Based Safety on Construction Sites: A Case StudyAuthor/Presenter: Choudhry, Rafiq M.
This work presents the results of a case study and describes an important area within the field of construction safety management, namely behavior-based safety (BBS). This paper adopts and develops a management approach for safety improvements in construction site environments. A rigorous behavioral safety system and its intervention program was implemented and deployed on target construction sites. After taking a few weeks of safety behavior measurements, the project management team implemented the designed intervention and measurements were taken. Goal-setting sessions were arranged on-site with workers’ participation to set realistic and attainable targets of performance. Safety performance measurements continued and the levels of performance and the targets were presented on feedback charts. Supervisors were asked to give workers recognition and praise when they acted safely or improved critical behaviors. Observers were requested to have discussions with workers, visit the site, distribute training materials to workers, and provide feedback to crews and display charts. They were required to talk to operatives in the presence of line managers. It was necessary to develop awareness and understanding of what was being measured. In the process, operatives learned how to act safely when conducting site tasks using the designed checklists. Current weekly scores were discussed in the weekly safety meetings and other operational site meetings with emphasis on how to achieve set targets. The reliability of the safety performance measures taken by the company’s observers was monitored. A clear increase in safety performance level was achieved across all categories: personal protective equipment; housekeeping; access to heights; plant and equipment, and scaffolding. The research reveals that scores of safety performance at one project improved from 86% (at the end of 3rd week) to 92.9% during the 9th week. The results of intervention demonstrated large decreases in unsafe behaviors and significant increases in safe behaviors. The results of this case study showed that an approach based on goal setting, feedback, and an effective measure of safety behavior if properly applied by committed management, can improve safety performance significantly in construction site environments. The results proved that the BBS management technique can be applied to any country’s culture, showing that it would be a good approach for improving the safety of front-line workers and that it has industry wide application for ongoing construction projects.