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Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts, Ph.D.

Senior Partner, Safety Performance Solutions, Inc.

Steve Roberts, PhD, is cofounder and senior partner at Safety Performance Solutions. He earned a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech with a focus in Organizational Behavior Management. For the past 30 years, his areas of expertise include the implementation and evaluation of behavior and people-based safety processes, assessment of organizational culture, management systems design, organizational leadership, and reducing human error.

Roberts taught the ASSE Seminarfest course People-Based Safety each year from 2005 to 2018 and again in 2021 when it transitioned to ASSP SafetyFOCUS. Roberts authored the book chapter “Actively Caring for Occupational Safety: Preventing Injuries with People Based Safety,” in Scott Geller’s 2013 book Actively Caring for People.

Roberts is also lead author for the book chapter “Principles of Behavior-Based Safety” in the Handbook of Safety Principles, edited by Niklas Möller in 2018. Roberts was named among the “50 Top Safety Leaders” by ISHN News, is a regular keynote speaker, and consults with clients across all industry types.

  • 2021 Cal/OSHA Summit

    • Session 7 - Safety Culture: How an Effective Safety Committee Can Be a Driver for Workplace Safety

      October 15, 2021, 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

      Whether it is acknowledged or not, every company has a safety culture—and just like other aspects of organizational success, your safety culture will only be as strong as the efforts dedicated to it. One way to ensure your organization is operating safely is to develop a safety committee.

      Having a safety committee can help reduce the number of workplace injuries and illnesses and workers’ compensation claims while bolstering your compliance with federal or state occupational safety and health regulations. Additionally, employers in California may use safety committees to satisfy the communication requirement of the IIPP standard.

      This session will cover the pros and cons of using safety committees to ensure that your organization remains safe and compliant, and you’ll also learn:

      • Strategies for creating a safety committee,
      • Cal/OSHA safety committee requirements for employers that elect to use them,
      • Best practices to satisfy communication requirements under the IIPP rule,
      • How to develop an annual safety plan of action with specific goals, and
      • How to identify the current values, attitudes, and perceptions surrounding safety at your organization—and how to change them if need be.

    • Session 9 - Using Leadership Behavior Assessments to Guide Leadership Training and Development

      October 15, 2021, 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

      Achieving an ideal safety culture must actively involve all employees, and leaders play a particularly important role in influencing an organization’s safety culture, including the development of shared ownership for safety.

      Although most employees feel leaders truly care about safety, there is still much that employees expect of leadership to help build an ideal safety culture. To show real support for safety, what leaders say about safety is not enough; what we do is most important. But what behaviors best demonstrate actively caring for safety? A number of assessments and cultural development projects have revealed what employees want to see from their leaders in order to show safety is important to them personally and for the organization.

      For example, employees want their leaders to: 1) Show up by visiting site/work locations in person and talk to the people on the job; 2) get their hands dirty by getting out of the meeting rooms and into the production/operations areas to see firsthand the conditions, equipment, and procedures employees must deal with; 3) bring the checkbook, not simply to throw money at the problem but rather to demonstrate a willingness to provide the appropriate resources for tools, equipment, personnel, and scheduling to support safety; and 4) not blame people for system problems.

      The identification of at-risk behavior should be the beginning of the analysis, not the end. Consider how employees might currently be inappropriately rewarded for risky behavior. Consider all contributing factors (e.g., training, production pressure, excessive overtime, formal and informal rules and procedures, and tools and equipment) when analyzing safety incidents.

      This presentation will focus on the importance of leadership behaviors that improve the safety culture and demonstrate safety as a value, as well as behavior assessments that can help guide leadership training and development.

      After this presentation, the audience will be able to:

      • Describe the components of an ideal safety culture.
      • Describe leadership’s role in supporting an ideal safety culture.
      • Identify key leadership behaviors that show employees safety is important to leadership and to the organization.
      • Describe how assessment tools, including surveys, focus group interviews, safety systems assessments, and leadership behavior assessments, can be used to guide leadership training and development.