Creating an effective Behavior Based Safety (BBS) Program
Blog | June 4th, 2021

Creating an effective Behavior Based Safety (BBS) Program

What is Behavior Based Safety?

Behavior based safety is a method of avoiding human error and improving workplace safety by observing and analyzing employee behavior while they work.

The most difficult part of implementing a safety observation program is the change management effort to affect everyone’s way of thinking throughout the organization from the frontline worker to the C-Suite. We have to overcome our natural tendency to look for flaws or negative outcomes. The objective of behavioral based safety is to actually look for and praise positive behaviors.

Here are eight key factors to consider as you start or improve on an existing behavioral based safety program at your company.

  1. Communicate and encourage:  It is important to motivate and make the team believe in the process. Invest the time to share with the team why you are implementing behavioral based safety and how it improves workplace safety.
  2. Avoid the perception that this is a system for spying or tattling: Do not create an environment that suggests that you are spying on workers to catch them being “naughty.” Properly announcing the observation and praising good work will yield better results.
  3. Change the perception that information gathered is being used for discipline: The purpose of observations is to look for and praise positive behavior. Rather, demonstrate that you are using unsafe observations as opportunities to improve and to look for potential issues and risks within standard work practices.
  4. Ensure proper action plans and visible success:  Ensure that the safety team shares the observation data and uses it to increase adoption by the rest of the company. Employees need to see the results or changes being applied to their processes to stay engaged.
  5. Don’t lose sight of the big picture:  It is more important to conduct effective safety observations than to churn out regular observations. If your observers are more focused on meeting their quotas than creating a safer workplace, you won’t drive the intended behavioral changes.
  6. Focus on retention:  Ensure that you can retain and sustain your safety programs through regular training and reinforcement. Make it fun with rewards, incentives and prizes.
  7. It takes time:  Changing mindsets, frameworks and habits people are used to will not happen overnight. Give your workers and behavioral based safety program a reasonable timeframe before expecting to see a noticeable and measurable change.
  8. It is more than just observing a behavior:  Even though the goal of a safety observation program is to stop unsafe behavior, it is important to acknowledge that these behaviors occurred for a reason.
    Create a dialogue with your workforce regarding their behavior and try to determine how you can best understand and analyze the root causes.

To know more contact ComplianceQuest safety experts at

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