The aim of this paper is to identify issues associated with implementation of behavior based safety in large organizations. Using Milliken & Company as a case study, the authors will explore key elements of success as well as implementation challenges arising from culture, geography, and operational diversity.

Geography, language, local culture, transfer of information, and disparity of sophistication between facilities are among the more obvious obstacles to large scale installation of behavior based safety. Oddly enough, the corporate climate that demands mitigation of physical hazards through engineering, training, and programming can, itself, create unique challenges. A bias for addressing virtually everything has been the recipe for success traditionally. Since behavior based safety depends on continuous achievement and process renewal, a bias toward focus, data collection, intervention, and re-evaluation is called for. Thecorrelation between speed of behavior change and focus on fewer critical behaviors is well documented.

Even without the Milliken Quality Safety Process, their behavior based safety initiative, Milliken & Company enjoys an enviable position as an innovator. Not only an industry leader in textiles and related technologies, associate safety and health achievements are virtually unparalleled. In many facilities, loss history is so meager that it fails to contribute in even a cursory manner to the direction of safety efforts. For Milliken & Company, behavior based safety was the logical, if not only, opportunity for continuous improvement.

Using best practices identified, and lessons learned, from Milliken & Company, the discussion that follows a brief overview of the BBS process will address:

  • Considerations for the organization to accept the challenges, changes, and rewards, of behavior based safety,

  • Strategizing for successful implementation on a large scale,

  • The essential role of associate skill development in successful large scale BBS installation,

  • Sources, and effective utilization of, support networks,

  • Measuring progress throughout the organization without stifling individual ownership,

  • Celebrating achievements at local and global levels,

  • A small sampling of paradigms and philosophies that will likely be reshaped as behavior based safety takes hold in large organizations.

BBS: A Brief Overview

Behavior based safety is the process in which an organization draws on a broad spectrum of resources to facilitate a continuously increasing frequency of specific safe behaviors by providing consequences that reinforce those behaviors.

As a process, BBS is a series of interdependent inputs and outputs. Each step builds on the ones before it and supports the ones after it. Itdoes not produce binders that go on a shelfsomething is going on constantly. To be successful, BBS must be viewed as a daily endeavor. A healthy BBS process is in a continuous state of flux and renewal.

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