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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #233
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis Approaches to Process Safety: A Response to an Industrys Call
Monday, May 30, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
St. Gallen, Swissotel
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: Von Meeks (Marathon Petroleum)
CE Instructor: Timothy D. Ludwig, Ph.D.

The efficacious impact of behavioral approaches to reduce injury in industrial settings has been well documented. In light of this success, industry leaders have called on the behavioral science community to provide the same rigor and expertise to understanding and impacting behaviors related to catastrophic incidents that kill, maim, and effect communities; an area called Process Safety (Bogart, Ludwig, Staats, & Kretshmer, 2015). Specifically behavior analytic community has been challenged to a) research the behavioral root causes leading to variation threatening process safety, b) create and evaluate behavioral interventions to mitigate this variation, and c) identify the system factors that would influence the behaviors necessary to promote process safety. This symposium presents four papers responding to this call. These papers consider behavior analytic principles within the Process Safety domain while offering both direction for behavioral research on the emerging topics and offering various programmatic interventions targeting the reduction of Process Safety incidents in heavy industries.

Keyword(s): Avoidance Behaviors, Behavioral Safety, Process Safety

Complacency in Process Safety: The Problem of Maintaining Avoidance Behavior

TIMOTHY D. LUDWIG (Appalachian State University), Cloyd Hyten (ADI)

This paper seeks to take a first step to identify the behavioral components active in process safety toward the ultimate goal of providing a scientific framework to generate applied efforts to build interventions and systems that contribute to process safety. Toward this effort we will first attempt to outline the different classes of behavior that contribute to process safety. We then will offer a behavioral definition of complacency by describing it as an operant problem akin to avoidance behavior. Behavioral variance related to complacency will then be discussed in the context of behavioral operations such as acquisition, training, rule governance and extinction. We will conclude with potential approaches to reduce complacency in process safety that consider pinpointing, competing contingencies, verbal behavior, and shaping situational awareness.


Integrating Human Factors and OBM to Improve Process Safety

MANUEL RODRIGUEZ (ABA Technologies, Inc.)

Behavior is involved in all aspects of work, from customer service, operating equipment, to leading the board of director. In the realm of safety, the importance of understanding human factors can aid in reducing and ultimately avoiding accidents and personal injury. According to the Health and Safety Executive of the United Kingdom, Human factors refers to environmental, organizational, and human factors which influence behavior at work in a way which can affect health and safety." In other words, human factors is concerned with what people are being asked to do (behavior), who is doing it (the individual and their role) and where they are working (the environmental conditions and under what organizational direction). This sounds like a job for OBM right? This presentation will provide a brief overview of human factors, the various topics that provide insight into the management of human factors in the area of process safety and conceptual and applied work integrating Organizational Behavior Management along the various topics.


Establishing "Safe and Reliable Operations" One Perfect Day at a Time

LAURA L. METHOT (CLG, Inc.), Amy Durgin (Continuous Learning Group), Brian J. Crowley-Koch (Western Michigan University)

Process Safety is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing catastrophic accidents, particularly explosions, fires, and toxic releases, associated with the use of chemicals and petroleum products. Incidents are typically the result of multiple failures (e.g., single-point equipment failures, management inadequacies, knowledge deficiencies) and while process and technology contributes to failures, the biggest single root cause for failures is the human element. That is, behavior at the front and mid-lines, executive behaviors and decisions. At CLG weve done field research on the contributions of leadership behaviors to front-line safety performance and can demonstrate just how much leadership behavior matters. We havent teased apart the personal from process safety components, but we will make the argument that safety, both personal and process, to be most effectively managed as part of the safe reliable operations triptych. Furthermore, to pull safety out as a separate entity from operations fabricates a forced choice, often not consciously, by front line employees resulting in employees prioritizing behaviors that will maximize productivity while neglecting or inhibiting safety related performance. To support this position, we will present work from oil sands front-line supervisors through CLGs proprietary DCOM framework.


A Look Behind the Curtain of Behavior-Based Safety: A True Story About Observations, Behavior Change, and Incident Reductions

MARLIES HAGGE (Western Michigan University), Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University), Kelsey Haverkamp (Western Michigan University)

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) applies various types of safety observation to improve occupational safety in business. The purpose of the following study is to examine and compare different observation foci: peer observation, self-monitoring and a combination of both options as well as supervisor information. In addition, data were collected by experimental observers to shed light on behavior change processes in applied settings. Participants were unionized employees of the facilities management department at a Midwestern University. Target behaviors included safe lifting and vacuuming. The dependent variables were incident numbers and safety performance percentages based on participant observations and objective observations. Discrepancies in reporting and relationships between the variables were investigated as well. The different observational methods were investigated via a multiple baseline design across groups. The results show that (a) regardless of checklist type the first condition after baseline and supervisor intervention were most effective at increasing safe behavior. (b) That participants over report their own safety performance in comparison to objective observations. (c) That the BBS process yielded incident decreases and modest safety improvements of 9%. Implications of these findings on importance of accuracy, training and culture




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