This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Behavior-based Safety Techniques on Behavior Variation, Targeted and Non-Targeted Safe Behaviors, and Productivity and Quality in Manufacturing Facilities




Godbey, Jessie

Type of Degree



Industrial and Systems Engineering


In the field of occupational safety and health, worker behavior is often associated with the immediate cause of workplace accidents and injuries. As a result an understanding of worker behavior is a major area of concern and is necessary to reduce the cost of workplace accidents. Recent efforts to improve workplace safety have included programs based on applied behavioral research. These efforts are often referred to as behavior-based safety programs. There are a wide variety of behavior-based safety programs using different methods and techniques. Researchers have identified four fundamental behavior-based safety requirements essential to improving the specific behaviors targeted by the program. Questions however, remain concerning the impact ofthese fundamental techniques on other non-targeted behaviors and their effect on other organizational variables such as productivity and quality. A multiple-baseline study across four groups was conducted at two manufacturing facilities in the southeast United States. The four groups consisted of 40, 26, 71, and 47 hourly workers in two different production departments at each of the two manufacturing facilities. The fundamental techniques of behavior-based safety were implemented across a staggered timeline within the four groups. Direct observation was used to measure targeted behaviors, those directly included in the intervention. At the same time direct observation was used to measure critical behaviors not included in the intervention or non-targeted behaviors. Concurrent data were collected on the organizational variables of productivity and quality. The application of fundamental behavior-based safety techniques resulted in significant improvement of targeted behaviors. The effects of this targeted behavior variation on non-targeted behaviors and productivity and quality data were investigated using statistical process control techniques. The performance of non-targeted behaviors increased substantially suggesting that behaviors may belong to conceptual classes resulting in positive covariation as a result of the implementation of behavior-based safety techniques. There was no apparent change in productivity and quality, suggesting that improved performance of targeted behaviors has no adverse effect on these organizational measures. This study provides additional information and aids in the understanding of the effects of behavior variation that may assist in reducing workplace accidents and injuries.