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Behaviour based safety programmes reduces risk of accidents with dangerous goods

Behaviour based safety programmes reduces risk of accidents with dangerous goods. Human error accounts for 88% of industrial accidents, which means that modifying human behaviour is one of the most effective ways of improving workplace safety. In terms of the transport of dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals, behaviour-based safety (BBS) programmes can contribute towards significantly reducing the risk of accidents.
The Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) recently held Responsible Care workshops in Durban and Johannesburg on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, covering issues such as driver safety and compliance with legislation.
Speaking at the workshop, safety specialist Garth Jooste presented a case study on the behaviour-based performance programme at Safripol, which has attained a Days Away from Work Case (DAWC) rate of zero for the last four years.
Jooste says Safripol has a work force of 450 including contractors and has seen a consistent reduction in injuries since implementation of an effective behaviour-based environmental health and safety programme.
He says behaviour-based safety programmes are based on the ABC principle of Antecedent factors that trigger Behaviour, followed by Consequences. Antecedents are the key factors that influence behaviour before it takes place, and should encompass company safety requirements. Behaviour is repeated, or reinforced, when the consequences are favourable. The ultimate goal of BBS is to turn required behaviours into habits.
Jooste emphasises that BBS is only effective where there is total buy-in and commitment throughout the hierarchy, from management to dispatchers, trainers, drivers and contractors. “There must be integration of the systems and requirements into everyday activities, as well as ownership at all levels for the BBS and its supporting processes,” he says.
For example, it is important that management and operational staff fully understand how their role and expectations may directly affect the behaviour of the driver, such as avoiding double shifts and unrealistic delivery times.
In terms of transport, the BBS implementation process may incorporate (but is not limited to) the following tools and processes:
  • A vehicle condition and maintenance programme;
  • Learning experiences reported (LERs) or alerts (immediate hazards currently present);
  • Route analysis;
  • Antecedent Behaviour Consequence (ABC) evaluation;
  • Driver training;
  • Fatigue management; and
  • Knowledge of the transport of dangerous goods SANS requirements.
One of the key tools for Safripol’s BBS system is the Safety Task Analysis Card (STAC). Jooste says key expectations of STAC are that all staff use task analysis on every job; are able to recognise hazards, eliminations and controls; have a firm understanding of the process and accountability; and are able to train and coach others. A similar approach can be implemented in the transport industry, by means of a Route Analysis Card which could serve the same purpose as the STAC.
“Pre-task analysis reinforces positive behaviour towards habit strength, especially when it is combined with the ‘buddy’ system. Drivers get regular feedback showing areas requiring improvement,” he says.
The CAIA Responsible Care Management Practice Standard that focuses on the storage and transport of dangerous goods supports the principles of BBS. “BBS is a programme of continuous improvement that increases safety during road freight transport by positively influencing the behaviour of drivers, through observation, coaching and feedback,” says Responsible Care manager, Louise Lindeque.
“The chemical industry considers safe transportation of its products as an integral part of the Responsible Care initiative,” says Lindeque. “Continuous efforts to improve road transport safety are therefore part of our overall aim to improve the safety performance of both the chemical industry and its allies in the transport industry.”
For more information visit CAIA.

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