STOP & GO – An Operational Tool to Change Safety Behavior
Blog | October 13th, 2022

STOP & GO – An Operational Tool to Change Safety Behavior

Organizations implement Health & Safety (H&S) programs to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatal accidents. Overall, a robust H&S program reduces the resultant suffering and financial hardship caused to the workers, their families, and employers. However, often they use a reactive approach to safety management that focuses on solving problems after they occur. While this is an important part of safety management, this is not enough and will not help the organizational goal of progressing toward zero incidents.

OSHA recommends a proactive approach to improving workplace safety and health by determining and correcting hazards before they cause injury or illness. It emphasizes establishing a culture of safety where safety and health are not the responsibility of the safety team alone but also facilitates employees to participate wholeheartedly in making their workplace safe through continuous contribution.

According to OSHA, safety should not just be a key improvement initiative but become a core value, fully embedded in the organization, across functions.

Empowering Employees to Participate in EHS

To be able to embed safety in all operational areas of an organization, it is essential to engage the employees in actively aligning their activities with the safety SOPs and policies. It requires every worker to be given the means to intervene and encourage reporting issues, major or minor, to improve safety.

In his book, Industrial Accident Prevention, A Scientific Approach, Herbert W Heinrich enunciates Heinrich’s Law. According to the law, “For every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.” Addressing the 29 minor injuries and 300 accidents with no injuries will effectively reduce incidents and increase workplace safety and health.

One of the ways to do this is by heightening shared vigilance and encouraging everyone to step in while operations are in progress. This can be made effective using Stop and Go cards to help change safety behavior and empower employees with tools to engage proactively in workplace health and safety. This can help them take a participatory approach to identify situations in which the rules are not being followed. If they feel that an action or situation is unsafe or could lead to an accident, the Stop & Go card is a tool that gives them the authority to step in and stop the ongoing work.

The program involves a physical card signed by the unit’s manager and co-signed by the contractor’s local managers for their employees. (But of course, we can organize a digital one on the app).

Five Key Success Factors for Effective Stop & Go Cards

The cards in themselves are not enough to ensure the success of the Stop & Go in achieving the purpose for which they have been issued. The five key success factors identified based on operational experience and internal and external benchmarking, including input from contractors, include –

Success Factor #1-Role of Managers: Managers and leaders must lead by example. They must be fully involved, take reports seriously, engage proactively, and legitimize the program. Operational managers must encourage people to report situations in which the rules are not being followed.

Success Factor #2-Take Action: What happens after a report has been made is also important for the Stop & Go cards to be used effectively. The reports must be taken seriously and efforts to resolve the situation must be supported through a participatory process.

Success Factor #3-Involve Workers: Involve contractor managers in the program as soon as it is deployed, take their inputs, and finetune the program for greater effectiveness. Highlight the importance of recognizing and resolving problems raised. Make it easier for the originator and contractors to address safety issues together.

Success Factor #4-Keep it Simple: Provide employees with simple, positive, practical information so that they feel comfortable using the card. Assure them that there are no penalties for using the card.

Success Factor #5-Embed the Card Across Operations: Integrate the Stop & Go card with existing processes and showcase and applaud its use by recognizing safe behavior.

By implementing these five factors, organizations can ensure a cascading deployment of the program by managers, carried out jointly with contractors. This results in

  • Proving the commitment of the managers to safety and legitimizing the system.
  • Driving the process and encouraging effective Stop Card adoption.
  • Demonstrating a joint initiative with contractors.

This ensures a complete buy-in by the local team and contractor managers. Soon, safety will be so ingrained that even without a Stop & Go card, workers will be vigilant and intervene whenever there is evidence of unsafe behavior. This encourages the development of a local recognition system and encourages employees to be proactive in participating in the safety management process.

ComplianceQuest EHS to Support Stop & Go Implementation

The Stop & Go can help with improving workplace safety and health. However, it also can fail when there is a lot of manual entry of observations and near misses. In a rush to meet deadlines, employees and workers may hesitate to spare time for this purpose.

In an automated system where safety is integrated with the functional workflow, implementing the Stop & Go system becomes easier. ComplianceQuest’s EHS solution has features such as Observations that enable employees to record and report unsafe behaviors and track progress. It automates document management and provides insights into areas where workers need the training to improve safe behavior.

Permit-to-Work (PTW) workflow management ensures hazardous work is performed only by skilled workers after the necessary preparations and precautions.

CQ’s PTW System also provides checklists and other supporting documents that help with the effective implementation of Stop & Go.

To know more about how ComplianceQuest can help you with improving workplace safety using Stop & Go cards, contact us:

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