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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #564
Recent Advances in Behavioral Safety
Monday, May 30, 2022
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 153B
Area: OBM/CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: Nicole Gravina (University of Florida)

Behavioral safety is one of the most mature and efficacious applications of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) in industrial workplaces. Built on the foundation of behavior analysis, behavioral safety attempts to prevent harm and reduce human suffering by targeting risk and intervening upon environmental factors related to safe behaviors. This symposium will report on recent advances in behavioral safety that discover and analyze at-risk behavior in workplaces in the petroleum, chemical and human services industries. The first presentation presents a data-based case study of an established behavioral safety program changing their process to garner more participation in their workforce by better identifying behavioral risk in the workplace and. The second study reviews another data-based case study examining a behavioral safety implementation in the human services industry (during a pandemic). The third presentation introduces a behavioral analytic approach to workplace incident analyses to better understand the causal variables associated with the events surrounding an injury. The final presentation outlines the limitations of current pinpointing methods in behavioral safety offering specific criterion to develop discriminant pinpoints more capable of finding risk. Our discussant is Dr. Nicole Gravina whose career features decades of research and practice in behavioral safety.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavioral Safety, Discriminant Pinpointing, Incident Investigation

The Next Generation of Behavior-Based Safety: Identifying Risk

ANDRESSA SLEIMAN (Univeristy of Florida ), Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)

We will present a case study of MESA's employee-led behavior-based safety (BBS) program. MESA established its BBS program in 1997. Since then, they have continuously evolved their program to increase safe behaviors and decrease injuries. The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, a not-for-profit organization that provides its seal of approval to world-class BBS programs, has accredited MESA's program since 2015. Despite its efficacy over the years, MESA has pivoted its BBS program to emphasize identifying risks relevant to each workgroup rather than using a static generic observation card. This presentation will provide an overview of the BBS process, introduce MESA, and showcase their new program.


Human Services in the Age of a Pandemic: Using Behavioral Safety Programs to Protect Essential Workers and Students

BYRON J. WINE (The Faison Center; University of Virginia), Trang Doan (Faison Center)

Human services organizations fall under what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls “health care and social assistance”. In 2018, OSHA reported 5.6 injuries for every 100 full-time employees in healthcare and social assistance jobs—a higher rate than the average of 4.2 injuries for workers across all private industries. Now, many human service organizations, already dealing with significant injuries, have had to operate consistently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many human service settings necessitate close contact with clients, many of whom may be resistant to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This presentation highlights an organization-wide behavioral safety program in a private school that serves students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. During the behavioral safety program there were a variable but continuous number of safety observations. The percent of safe behavior in the classrooms approached 100 percent at the conclusion of data collection. More importantly, there were no documented COVID-19 infections traced to the school.


Exploring the Benefits of a Behavior-Based Incident Analysis: The Behavior Incident Analysis in Action

NICHOLAS MATEY (University of Florida )

Incident analyses typically follow workplace accidents and injuries, and many times are even required by law. These analyses include summarizing the accident and creating a plan for how to avoid similar mistakes in the future. This talk will describe the traditional approach to incident analyses and introduce a behavior analytic version (i.e., the Behavioral Incident Analysis [BIA]) that we believe can result in higher quality outcomes. The BIA is a guided process that walks practitioners through an incident analysis by asking questions that may not come up in traditional analyses. We will discuss how the BIA creates a better understanding of the causal variables associated with the incident, as well as suggests effective behavioral solutions that will prevent similar incidents in the future.


Contrasting Response Class and Discriminant Behavioral Pinpoints: Building Criteria to Better Find and Analyze Risk

TIMOTHY D. LUDWIG (Appalachian State University), Matthew M Laske (University of Kansas)

The process of pinpointing has been widely applied to reduce employee injuries in industry by targeting safe and at-risk work behaviors within behavioral safety processes based on the science of behavior analysis and OBM methods. The core components of behavioral safety include (a) risk analysis and pinpointing, (b) direct observation, (c) performance feedback, (d) trending and functional analysis, (e) behavior change interventions, and (f) evaluation of effects. In each of these components, accurate and clear pinpoints are essential for the process to discriminate the behaviors and systems related to risk and injury. This presentation will compare and contrast general pinpointing identifying broader response classes vs. pinpointing that discriminate more specific operants in the context of their environment. We will propose criteria based on the behavior analytic literature for discriminant pinpoints and provide data showing efficacy in helping observers find risk.




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