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A behavioural gap analysis can nip workplace safety issues in the bud

Fergal Bell
August04/ 2014

One of the ways your business can protect itself is by undertaking a behavioural gap analysis on your operations. This examines how the business is being run at the moment and allows management to compare it with how they would like the organisation to run, particularly where working practices are concerned. This can be an incredibly useful tool when assessing risk and identifying the changes you need to make in order to get the business to where you want it to be.

All too often senior people in an organisation are unaware of how the business is operating in key areas and often only when accidents occur is attention properly focused. In many cases safety begins slipping long before incidents take place but by the time management becomes aware of an issue the damage has already been done.

Signs that you need to pay more attention to workplace safety

  • The frequency of accidents or near misses is higher in one area than another
  • The levels of absence or staff departures are on the rise
  • You cant remember the last time you carried out an evacuation drill
  • There is constantly a tense environment in particular areas

Once you have identified a potential issue in the workplace, a behavioural gap analysis can be conducted by either you or a qualified professional. This will investigate problems thoroughly, enabling you to put a plan of action in place to address dangers effectively.

When conducting a behavioural gap analysis, management or other professionals will firstly set out the health and safety standards that the company wishes to implement (if these are not in place already). Business operations can then be assessed to identify whether these standards are being met in practice. Often organisations use a check sheet with four columns, such as:

  1. Required standard
  2. Current practice
  3. Action required
  4. Additional information

In this way the business can cover all relevant areas, identifying not just the original items of concern but also others that may have gone under the radar up until then. A behavioural gap analysis can also be incredibly effective in helping an organisation to focus its resources in the right areas. For example, if there are slippages happening in one location because of water collecting, a team member can be tasked with mopping up on a daily basis. The analysis can allow an organisation to put a practical action plan into place with realistic timeframes, which should bring the business up to the desired standards.

Of course, creating a plan will do nothing on its own. Once the action plan has been devised management must communicate this to employees. In this way workers are made fully aware of the changes that need to take place and the standards of behaviour that are expected. Having done, this one or more individuals (depending on the size of the company), must be appointed to oversee the implementation of action points. Without doing this the changes will remain as a paper exercise with no changes to how things are done every happening.

GoSBS.IT provides bespoke health and safety training, auditing and consultancy services. Our expert mystery shopper service is designed to provide businesses with vital information on how their business is operating. We can provide you with the real life data you need to ensure your company is running the way it should.

Fergal Bell