What happens when the results from your safety program start to plateau – when injury rates flatline, employees are unmotivated and uninspired and safety culture suffers?
One thing we did was to use the S.T.A.R.S. program.
It was originally a self-check tool to prepare for certain tasks developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and explained in their 2009 Human Performance Improvement Handbook.
We adapted it and used it a little differently.
Finding and fixing hazards
S.T.A.R.S. stands for:
- Review, and
This is how the S.T.A.R.S. program worked for us:
An employee finds something that doesn’t look or seem right (Stop). Then they Think about what the next step should be. Then they come up with a solution and implement it (Act). They think about what had gone wrong and how to keep it from happening again (Review). Then they Share the fix with other employees.
Safety culture boost
This is where we added out own twist to the DOE program.
We gave each employee who completed S.T.A.R.S. a gold star to stick on their hardhat.
It was our way of recognizing them for their safety achievement of finding and mitigating a hazard.
We asked employees who earned a star to present what they did to other employees.
Also, the star travels with the employee on their hard hat. This means other employees who might not have heard about the safety fix could ask them about it (“What did you get the gold star for?”).
So sharing the solution continues.
Some people got competitive about the stars, trying to get more of them than other workers. And that’s a good thing, as long as they truly fulfill the steps in S.T.A.R.S.
We even had subcontractors ask how to get them.
This program motivated employees to find and fix hazards, rewarded them for doing so (without a lot of cost), promoted sharing safety solutions with other workers and improved our safety culture.
(Based on a presentation by Melissa Layfield, Program Safety Manager, Parsons Corp., New Jersey, at the National Safety Council’s Virtual Congress 202One)