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It is a programme based on the principles of behavioral psychology, also known as behavior modification, BBS is a technique for modifying behavior of workers to make them work safely. Behavioural Based Safety is an approach to safety that focuses on workers' behavior as the cause of most work-related injuries and illnesses. It is a process that helps employees identify and choose a safe behavior over an unsafe one. These behaviors are geared toward a safer work environment. The system must have controls in place which will measure whether or not these behaviors exist as a routine element in the work environment. Acceptable behaviors must be positively reinforced frequently and immediately as the behavior occurs.


In the 1930s, Heinrich reported that about 90% of all accidents involving fatalities, major and minor injuries were caused by unsafe behavior by workers. Subsequent studies by DuPont (1956) confirmed Heinrichs contention. Traditional engineering and management approaches to counter this (such as automation, procedure compliance, administrative controls, and OSHAtype standards and rules) were successful in reducing the number of accidents significantly. However, incidents and accidents persisted, keeping rates at a level that was still disturbing to customers, managers, and workers. Developed in the late 1970s and 1980s -- a merger of the behavioral sciences as applied to safety (Komaki et al., 1978; Krause, Hidley, and Lareau, 1984) -- led to the birth of a new process behavior-based safety. BBS has had an impressive record. Research has shown that, as safe behaviors increase, safety incidents decrease. Measurement of percent safe acts is a leading safety indicator. In contrast, most safety measures are lagging measures, which are recorded after the incident (e.g., OSHA recordable cases).

Good Practices For The Behavior-based Safety Process. US Department of Energy. 2003


Behavior is what a person does or says. What causes a person to take this particular behavior or course of action depends on other influencing factors. Attitude and situational conditions cause the particular behavior.


WHAT INFLUENCES BEHAVIOR ? Motivation. Intelligence. Emotions. Experience. Attitude Situational Conditions Desire Need. Skills. Abilities. Ambition.


Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components: the person, their environment, and their behavior.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experince, Intelligence, Motives, Attitude, Personality


Engineering Control, Task, Work Culture, Tools, Machines, Equipment, Housekeeping, Climate, Management Systems

What person does (Putting on PPE, Lifting properly, Following procedures etc)


THE ABC MODEL Explain why we do what we do.



The Psychology of Safety Handbook (2001). E. Scott Gellers


Direction & Motivation maintain our behavior

The Psychology of Safety Handbook (2001). E. Scott Gellers


Why people speed ?
Suny Day Emergency No Cops Driving sport car

Open Road

Show off


Others are speeding

Save TIme Crash Ticket Waste Gas Wear & Tear


The Psychology of Safety Handbook (2001). E. Scott Gellers

WEIGHING CONSEQUENCES Some Consequences Are More Powerful Than Others

The MOST effective consequences are (*): Certain - Theres a high probability youll receive the consequence Soon - The consequence occurs immediately after your behavior Significant - The consequence is significant or meaningful to you

MORE SIGNIFICANT Jail Crash Ticket Wear & Tear Waste Gas Save Time Fun


The Psychology of Safety Handbook (2001). E. Scott Gellers


ABC Analysis helps us understand activators and consequences, and how they influence safety behavior.


Core Features of BBS Program :


Observation of workers by workers Extensive training provided to those participating in observation, particularly the observers Development of a list of "critical worker behaviours" often with input from workers themselves who are invited and welcomed into the process Development of model behaviours so that workers behaviours are measured against their own standards ie past behaviours. Substantial management commitment, including financial. Most behavioral safety processes are tailored to the work and management environment of the site. Despite these variations, all behavioral safety processes have four major components (**): 1. 2. 3. 4. Development of a list of at-risk behaviors, Observations, Feedback, Improvement.
(*) Behaviour Based Safety Programs. Australian Construction & Trade Union (**) Good Practices For The Behavior-based Safety Process. US Department of Energy. 2003

1. Development of a list of at-risk behaviors

The process starts with a behavioral hazard analysis to identify at-risk behaviors. These can be determined using accident/incident reports, job hazards analysis, employee interviews, and brainstorming. In some instances, a combination of all these tools could be used. Using the at-risk behaviors, a checklist is then developed to assist in the observation of work behavior. In addition, a list of corresponding behavior definitions is helpful in maintaining consistency between observers and the resulting data.

Good Practices For The Behavior-based Safety Process. US Department of Energy. 2003

2. Observation

Observations provide direct, measurable information on employees safe work practices. Employees are observed performing their routine task. The observer documents both safe and unsafe behaviors (safe and at-risk behaviors). They are not evaluations of the person performing the work. The workers identity is never recorded on the Observation Data Sheet The data is then analyzed to determine the employees (or departments) improvement in safe behaviors. It can be looked at as an overall percentage. Example: If there were 25 items on the checklist and the worker performed 20 of them safely, then he would get a score of 80% safe. The observation data are used to identify barriers to safe behavior. Removing these barriers lowers the workers exposure to at-risk conditions and makes it easier for employees to work safely. Removing barriers and communicating successes increase employee involvement in the process.

3. Feedback

The employee is provided positive feedback on the safe behaviors and non-threatening feedback on the unsafe behaviors. They are also provided with suggestions on correcting the unsafe behaviors. Feedback is provided to the observed workers immediately upon completion of the observation; the feedback and conversation with the workers is arguably the most important part of the process. Positive reinforcement and constructive feedback are essential; safe behaviors are noted first, and at-risk behaviors last. Here is where the open communication with the worker is so critical: the observer is not right just because he is conducting the observation and the worker is not wrong or caught if at-risk behaviors are noted. The worker may not agree with the observed behaviors, and may use the feedback opportunity to inform the observer of his reasons for performing the job as he did. Observations of multiple workers are also conducted, which often enhances the peer-to-peer aspect of the process and encourages the workers to look out for one another.

Behavior-based Safety Processes In Arctic Oil Spill Respone. Christopher J. Hall. 2005

3. Improvement

The improvement between observations could be graphed and displayed for employees to view. When the graphs shows improvement, it provides positive reinforcing feedback to employees. Setting improvement goals increases the effectiveness of feedback and the success of the behavior-based safety process.


ESTABLISH PROCESS NEED AND PARAMETERS Assess need for Behavioral Safety Program Determine Goals for process Bring management and workers on board Appoint Steering Committee/Facilitator PERFORM SAFETY EVALUATION Evaluate Incident Reports Conduct Job Hazard Analysis Identify At-Risk Behaviors

Design the Behavioral Safety Process Develop rules for Observation Develop Observation Process Establish Feedback Process

Implement the Behavioral Safety Process Develop Observer Training/Train Observers Develop Worker Familiarization Training/ Familiarize Workers Establish Behavioral Baseline Begin Observation/Feedback Process Maintain the Behavioral Safety Process Evaluate Observation Data Improve Process
Good Practices For The Behavior-based Safety Process. US Department of Energy. 2003

Steering Commitee (SC)

Basic responsibilities of the SC are: Develop the at-risk behaviors inventory Participate in the training and coaching of observers to provide for mentoring the observer process Design the observation process Analyze the observation data Build action plans to respond to the leading indicators seen in the data Ensure that communication with observers is maintained Ensure that BBS is promoted and communicated to all organizational levels.

Good Practices For The Behavior-based Safety Process. US Department of Energy. 2003


Focusing on peer-to-peer employee observations to identify safe or atrisk behaviors used in completing work assignments. Observer is a trained personnel perform observations of job performance to identify and record these behaviors. The observations also identify potentially dangerous systems or procedures in the workplace (observed non-enabled behaviors [unable to control] indicate at-risk situations that are beyond the workers control and may indicate the need of an engineering change or administrative control to make the operation safe). Observer has to make sure that observations are voluntary, anonymous, and conducted openly.

Behavior-based Safety Processes In Arctic Oil Spill Respone. Christopher J. Hall. 2005


INDEX STEAMER USE Check Water indicator Clean sludge from heating plate Fill water Cleaning existing spill MICROWAVE USE Check if food compatible for microwave Check if container compatible for microwave Clean glass plate Clean inside compartment Set up approriate timing Check for fire/spark on aluminium foil Take out food with protective glove PANTRY AREA Safe At Risk

Definition for Critical Behavior:



Percent Safe by Behavioral Category

100 80 Percentage 60 40 20 0 Laboratory Process Packaging Q/A Warehouse

PPE Ergonomic Tools & Equipment Mobile Equipment Housekeeping

Benefits of Observation and Feedback

Heightened awareness Receive recognition Learn through feedback Learn through observation Builds trust Employees design and lead

Increase commitment Builds trust Fosters communication Anonymous and confidential Dynamic Non-directive Non-punitive

Behavioral Safety Management. Ronald R. Kipling. Virginia Tech.

Traditional safety programs vs BBS

Traditional Safety Programs Behavior Based Safety
Behavior Based Safety : Traditional Safety Program focus on: -Accident rate safety measures which has several disadvantages: Reactive (An injury must occur before the system can react) Not Specific (Do not indicate exactly what needs to be done on-the-job to maintain or improve safety) Low Impact (Hard to change at-risk behaviors that are at habit strength) Negative (focusing on accident rates highlights worst aspect of work) - Focus on identification of factors that influence an individuals ability perform safely Training Equipment Support - Focus Identification of behaviors or conditions that are critical to performing safely - Is Proactive by providing measures of safety targets on-the-job that can be used to avoid injuries - Is Specific safety target data indicates exactly what can be done to maintain and improve safety - Can Change Attitudes & Culture higher impact on at-risk behaviors that are at habit strength - Is Positive safety achievements and improvements are the focus

From Awareness to Improvement. Changing Aviation Safety Culture. Western Michigan University.


BBS program sometimes raise concern from worker unions for several reasons: They are uncomfortable with these programs because, no matter how well they disguised in anonimity, the basic assumption is that workers unsafe acts are the cause of workplace injuries and disease. They think BBS is blaming those with the least say. Just as the great majority of accidents can be attributed to unsafe behaviour by front line workers, the great majority of accidents are at the same time attributable to actions or inactions by management. An example will makethe point. - A worker descending a set of stairs, falls and is injured. Why did he fall? - He was not using the handrail, as he was required to do by company policy. Why not? - He was using both hands to carry tools. Why? - If he used one hand to hold the rail he would have had to make more than one trip up and down the stairs to get his tools to the lower level. Why didnt he do this? - Because there was pressure from the supervisor to get the job done quickly.

(*) Behaviour Based Safety Programs. Australian Construction & Trade Union


Remember... BBS doesnt replace: Training the knowledge to be safe Safe Equipment the tools to be safe Engineering Solutions hazard recognition and elimination Support commitment & follow through.

From Awareness to Improvement. Changing Aviation Safety Culture. Western Michigan University.


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