The Observation Definition Gap In Safety: What Is It And How To Fix It

As a manager, you know the importance of safety and what it means to your work. You must ensure that your employees follow safety protocols and procedures to avoid accidents and injuries.

But what happens when there is a gap between how your company defines safety and how your employees see it? This is what we call the Observation Definition Gap in Safety.

In this article, we will discuss the gap and how to fix it.

What Is the Observation Definition Gap?

The Observation Definition Gap in Safety is the difference between how companies define observations and how employees see them.

Observations are an important part of any safety program. They provide a way for employees to give feedback on safety and identify potential hazards. However, there is a gap between how companies define observations and how employees see them.

This gap can be caused by several factors, including a lack of communication between management and employees or a lack of training in making observations. It can also be caused by a gap in skills between management and employees.

If left unresolved, the gap can lead to accidents and injuries. The best way to fix it is to use a technique called BBSO (behaviour-based safety observation). BBSO provides feedback on safety programs to help improve employee safety awareness. It can also be used to identify HR gaps and develop training programs to fill those gaps.


How do Managers & Employees Define Observations?

Regarding safety, what one person observes can be drastically different from what another observes. This is because different people may have different interpretations of what constitutes an unsafe condition.

This problem is compounded by the fact that managers often define observations very narrowly, while employees may see potential hazards in much broader terms. This can lead to misunderstandings and frustration on the part of employees, who may feel that their concerns are not being taken seriously.

The solution to this problem is to ensure that managers and employees clearly understand what constitutes an observation. Managers need to be open to employees' suggestions and provide clear guidelines for making observations. Employees, in turn, need to be willing to communicate their concerns constructively.


Where is the Gap between the Two?

What can be summarised from the above is that the observation definition gap is the difference between how companies define observations and how employees see them. This can lead to confusion and frustration on both sides, plus a feeling that safety is not a priority.

There are a few factors that contribute to the observation definition gap. First, there is a lack of communication between management and employees. Second, there is a lack of clarity about what constitutes an observation. And finally, there is a lack of agreement on the purpose of observations.

Fixing the observation definition gap is essential to creating a workplace safety culture. By communicating clearly, setting clear expectations, and involving employees in the process, you can close the gap and create a safer workplace for everyone.


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How Does the Observation Definition Gap Impact Safety?

The observation definition gap is significantly impacting safety in the workplace. When managers and employees define observations differently, it can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. This can make it difficult to identify and correct potential and actual hazards.

Fixing it requires clarity on what safety observations are so that everyone is on the same page. One way to do this is to have a shared definition of what an observation is. This can help ensure that everyone is able to identify and correct incidents more effectively.


Final thoughts

To combat the observation definition gap it's crucial for managers to be clear with employees about what is expected of them, and to make sure that employees understand the company's definition of an observation.

There are a few ways to close the observation definition gap, including training employees on what observation is and how to report it, providing clear guidelines for employees, and encouraging employees to ask questions.

Closing the gap isn't only essential for keeping everyone safe in the workplace but also for ensuring smooth cross-level collaboration in the organisation.


If you're looking for a platform to collect more data to monitor your organisation's safety practices, we've got you covered. Falcony is easy-to-use, boosts two-way communication, has customisable workflows, automated analytics, vast integration possibilities and more. Start your 30-day trial or contact us for more information:

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We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

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