Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #505
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Safety Across Industries
Sunday, May 26, 2024
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Trey Ximenez, M.A.

In 2021, more than 40% of the 2.6 million reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses by private industries resulted in the worker missing at least one day of work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). Workplace injuries not only have significant human and social consequences but also impose substantial costs on both the worker and the organization (Ludwig & Laske, 2023). Behavioral Safety, also known as Behavior-Based Safety, is a systematic approach to promoting behavior supportive of injury prevention through direct observation of behaviors and conditions. It has proven to be effective across a wide range of industries, relying on evidence-based methods to encourage safe behaviors, ultimately leading to a reduction of incidents or injuries (Cooper 2009; Sulzer-Azaroff & Austin 2000). This symposium aims to present the latest research findings focused on both direct and indirect safe behaviors, with the goal of enhancing safety culture across various industries. These developments have the potential to enhance the identification and management of safe behaviors and facilitate their application in diverse settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavior-based safety, behavioral safety, injury reduction, safety management
Target Audience:

Target audience includes advanced graduate students (those studying in ABA and OBM programs), professionals within the field of ABA/OBM, leadership teams, BCBAs, BCBA-Ds. The prerequisites include a Basic understanding of Organizational Behavior Management and familiarity with research methodologies and behavior analytic interventions.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) Describe effective research-based Behavioral Safety applications and their components to increase safe behaviors in the healthcare sector. (2) Describe the impact of peer observations and feedback on reducing injuries at an oil refinery and chemical manufacturing company. (3) Describe the effects of leadership meeting checklists and comparative feedback on safety leadership performance in safety meetings.
Current State of Behavioral Safety in Healthcare
TREY XIMENEZ (Western Michigan University), Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: In 2009, the healthcare sector surpassed the manufacturing industry by reporting the second-highest number of nonfatal work-related injury and illness cases, a trend that continues to the most recent report (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). The growing need to protect the safety of healthcare workers and patients provides an opportunity for Organizational Behavior Management to apply evidenced-based practices to reduce unsafe behaviors while enhancing the quality of care (Kelley & Gravina, 2018). Behavioral safety applies behavioral technology to reduce incidents triggered by unsafe or at-risk behaviors through observing the behavior(s), applying behavior-change strategies, and adjusting as needed to achieve desired performance (Cunningham & Austin 2007). This review compiles prior research on behavioral safety programs within healthcare sector and assesses various elements, including how safety is measured, the components of interventions, the context in which they are applied, and the resulting outcomes. These advancements have the potential to improve the identification of safe behaviors, adaptation to different healthcare settings, and provide a valuable framework for implementing safety measures in healthcare.

Strategies for Tracking and Monitoring Staff Injuries: Insights From the Neurobehavioral Unit

SAMANTHA HARDESTY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Shelby Lynne Quigley (Kennedy Krieger Institute, Amigo Care ABA, Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis), Brittney Nicole Workman (Kennedy Krieger Institute; Amigo Care ABA), Christopher M Dillon (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)

Health care and human service providers are likely to be injured on the job (BLS, 2021) and those who work with individuals who display severe forms of challenging behavior may be at particularly high risk of injury. Despite governmental requirements to track and monitor workplace hazards (CDC, 2015), there is little research on how organizations can best collect and summarize these data. Identification of key variables associated with risk of injury; as well the development of effective monitoring systems is integral to the prevention and reduction in severity of staff injuries. The purpose of this study is to describe a behavior-based safety approach to reporting and monitoring staff injuries, as well as to share different strategies to visually depict staff injuries including the use of body images to denote injury locations, cumulative records of injury by frequency and severity, as well as categorizing the various behaviors that lead to injury. Case examples will be reviewed demonstrating how injuries were minimized through different levels of intervention including increasing compliance with utilization of staff protective equipment, as well as modification of medications and/or behavioral plan recommendations.


Analytics Replication and Cross Validation: Behavioral Observations Reduce the Probability of Injury for a Week

TIMOTHY D. LUDWIG (Appalachian State University), Firzana Syazania (Appalachian State University), Jacob Leslie (Appalachian State University), Taylor Brynds (Appalachian State University), Drew Sipe (Appalachian State University)

Behavioral observations in Behavioral Safety involve direct peer observations to identify specific at-risk behaviors in a work environment. Peer observations, along with feedback has been shown to decrease injuries year over year (Ludwig & Laske, 2023), however, little is known of the impact on the work crew in the days directly following a behavioral observation. Previous analytics on three years of safety data from a chemical manufacturing company suggested injury probability decreased between 15 to 25% over the three days following a peer behavioral observation (Granowsky et al., 2023; Sant et al., 2022). The current research sought to replicate and cross-validate this finding using the subsequent three years of safety data from the same divisions within the chemical manufacturing company as well as three years of safety data from an oil refinery confirmed the validity of the statistical model and predictive results. Changes in R2 were noted along with potential contamination of variance from industry differences and historical events like the covid pandemic.


Improving Safety Leadership Performance: An Evaluation of Behavior-Based Leadership Checklists and Group Comparisons on Safety Meetings Performance

LUCA GIANI (BEHAVIOR FACTORY), Gianluca Aldo Ghezzi (Behavior Factory), Davide Mazzola (Behavior Factory), Matthew M Laske (University of Kansas)

In behavioral safety projects, a reoccurring safety meeting allows a leader to update the team about their latest performance but also encourages participation, proactive discussion, and problem-solving related to safety. Literature in behavioral safety generally recommends involving workers in active discussion about observations data during meetings but provides fewer details about how leaders do that (Ludwig & Laske, 2022; McSween, 2003; Krause, 1996). In this study, we evaluated the effects of a leadership meeting checklist, targeting critical leader behaviors, and individual or comparative feedback on leadership performance in safety meetings. Fourteen leaders were randomly assigned into two groups. Leaders in the first group were provided vocal-verbal feedback and an aggregate score representative of their performance (i.e., score-only condition). Leaders in the second group were provided with vocal-verbal feedback and their scores in comparison to other leaders’ scores (i.e., comparison condition). Preliminary findings show that leaders who saw their score in relation to other leaders (i.e., comparison) improved their performance and maintained performance over time more than their peers who only received their score with no comparative feedback (i.e., score-only). Implications of these findings will be discussed and recommendations for targeting leadership performance will be provided.




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