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Behavior Based Safety. Safety Professional’s View. Objectives Today:. Identify differences between traditional vs BBS Know “ when and when not” to implement BBS Explain why most traditional safety programs don’t work!

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objectives today
Objectives Today:
  • Identify differences between traditional vs BBS
  • Know “when and when not” to implement BBS
  • Explain why most traditional safety programs don’t work!
  • Understand why positive reinforcement is much more powerful than negative reinforcement
why safety programs do not work
Why Safety Programs Do Not Work:
  • Safety is a priority, not a value!
  • Safety is not managed in the same manner as production, quality, and cost issues!
  • Safety is not driven through continuous improvement!
fallacies or realities in safety fables
“Fallacies or Realities” in Safety Fables?
  • Conditions cause accidents!
  • Enforcing rules improves safety!
  • Safety professionals can keep workers safe!
  • Low accident rates indicate safety programs are working well!
  • Investigating to find the root cause of accidents will improve safety!
  • Awareness training improves safety!
  • Rewards improve safety!
core elements in successful safety programs
Core Elements in Successful Safety Programs
  • A culture that says “safety” is important around here!
  • A tight accountability system!
safety intervention strategies by nsc
Safety Intervention Strategies(By NSC)

Approach# of Studies# of SubjectsReduction %

Behavior Based 7 2,444 59.6%

Ergonomics 3 n/a 51.6%

Engineering Change 4 n/a 29.0%

Problem Solving 1 76 20.0%

Gov’t Action 2 2 18.3%

Mgt. Audits 4 n/a 17.0%

Stress Management 2 1,300 15.0%

Poster Campaign 2 6,100 14.0%

Personnel Selection 26 19,177 3.7%

Near-miss Reports 2 n/a 0%


Behavior Based Safety: What Is It?

  • An excellent tool for collecting data on the quality of a company’s safety management system
  • A scientific way to understand why people behave the way they do when it comes to safety
  • Properly applied, an effective next step towards creating a truly pro-active safety culture where loss prevention is a core value
  • Conceptually easy to understand but often hard to implement and sustain

Behavior Based Safety:What It Is Not!

  • Only about observation and feedback
  • Concerned only about the behaviors of line employees
  • A substitution for traditional risk management techniques
  • About cheating & manipulating people & aversive control
  • A focus on incident rates without a focus on behavior
  • A process that does not need employee involvement

Interventions: Always Consider These 3 Components





Traditional Hierarchy of Safety Interventions Included:

  • Attempts to eliminate the hazard
  • Having employees work around the hazard
  • Guarding or warning employees about the hazard
  • Training employees to deal safely with the hazard

Safety Management System Interventions

7 components

  • Management leadership
    • vision, values, commitment
    • safety goals & objectives
    • costs of safety performance
  • Responsibility & accountability
    • defined for management & employees
    • accountable for performance
  • Safety organization
    • safety committees
    • safety staff resource
    • safety budget

Safety Management System Interventions

7 components (continued)

  • Safe work practices & procedures
    • general & job specific
    • housekeeping
    • contractors
    • emergency
  • Safety review & improvement
    • a Plan / Do / Check / Act process
    • accident investigation process
    • safety audit / inspection process

Safety Management System Interventions

7 components (continued)

  • Safety training
    • Based on needs assessments
    • Designed & presented effectively
    • For both management & employees
    • Results in observable changes in behavior on the job
  • Safety communications
    • Internal & external
    • Appropriate for audience
    • Effectiveness of communication methods

If Safety Interventions are Effective You Will See:

  • % of safe behaviors increasing and the % at-risk behaviors decreasing
  • Reporting of near misses / hits increasing
  • Both the number of observations and level of participation increasing
  • Frequency & severity of injuries decreasing
  • Increasing acceptance of responsibility and accountability for personal behavior
business is behavior

“Business is Behavior”*

A business succeeds or fails through the performance of allof its employees

Success = “Good” performance

Failure = “Bad” performance

Performance = the combined results of a series of behaviors

* Aubrey Daniels, author and behavioral psychologist

suggested bbs process
Suggested BBS Process:
  • Discovery - Determine Behaviors That Have Greatest Loss Impact
  • Design - Identify Team Who Will Define & Design BBS Process
  • System Up - Implement BBS Observation Process & Collect Data
  • System Check - Ensure BBS Process Has Been Effectively Implemented

Observations, Feedback & Data Collection

  • Use a design team of hourly workers, supervisors and managers, to design the process - forms, training, data collection and ID roles & responsibilities
  • Clearly define critical behaviors that will be observed - what is “safe” vs “at-risk”?
  • Give feedback on safe & at-risk behavior observed
  • Determine who will act on data collected through observations

Use Prior Experience Data to Target Jobs for Observation

  • Loss runs from insurance carrier or broker
  • OSHA logs
  • First aid logs
  • Near miss / hit reports
  • Absenteeism / turnover reports

Define Critical Behaviors - What is “Safe” & What is “At-risk”?

  • Focus on relevant behaviors that will have a direct impact on losses
  • Many behaviors that are directly related to the losses are unconscious behaviors that occur quickly
  • Select critical behaviors to focus on through actual observation of people at work - not just through discussion & brainstorming
obstacles to success
Obstacles To Success:
  • Poorly Maintained Facilities
  • Top-down Management Practices
  • Poor Planning/Execution
  • Inadequate Training
keys to success
Keys to Success:
  • Meaningful Employee Empowerment
  • Designing a Well Planned and Supported BBS Process
  • Managing BBS Process with Integrity

Human Behavior is a function of :

ðActivators (what needs to be done)

ðCompetencies (how it needs to be done)

ðConsequences (what happens if it is done)


Human behavior is both:

  • ð Observable
  • ð Measurable


Behavior can be managed !

attitudes are inside a person s head therefore they are not observable or measurable

Attitudesare inside a person’s head -therefore they are notobservable or measurable

Attitudes can be changed by changing behaviors


abc model

ABC Model


(trigger behavior)


(human performance)


(either reinforce or punish behavior)



Activators: A person, place, thing or event that happens before a behavior takes place that encourages you to perform that behavior.

Activators only set the stage for behavior or performance - they don’t controlit.



Behavior:Any directly measurable thing that a person does, including speaking, acting, and performing physical functions.



Consequences: Events that follow behaviors.

Consequences increase or decrease the probability that the behaviors will occur again in the future.

If you don’t send in that payment we’ll take you to court

Oh please let it be Bob!


Consequences - How would you view them?


Aggressive Drivers

only 4 types of consequences
Only 4 Types of Consequences:
  • Positive Reinforcement (R+)

("Do this & you'll be rewarded")

  • Negative Reinforcement (R-)

("Do this or else you'll be penalized")

  • Punishment (P)

("If you do this, you'll be penalized")

  • Extinction (E)

("Ignore it and it'll go away")


consequences influence behaviors based upon individual perceptions of

Consequences Influence Behaviors Based Upon Individual Perceptions of:

Magnitude - large or small


  • Significance- positive or negative

Impact - personal or other

Timing - immediate or future

Consistency - certain or uncertain

both positive r negative r reinforcement can increase behavior

Both Positive (R+) & Negative (R-) Reinforcement Can Increase Behavior

R+: any consequence that follows a behavior and increases the probability that the behavior will occur more often in the future - You get something you want

R- : a consequence that strengthens any behavior that reduces or terminates the consequence - You escape or avoid something you don’t want


Good safety suggestion Joe! Keep bringing ‘em up!


One more report like this and you’re outa here!!





The effects of positive reinforcement


both punishment extinction decrease behavior

Both Punishment & Extinction Decrease Behavior

P: a procedure in which a punisher (consequence that decreases the frequency of the behavior it follows) is presented - You may get something you don’t want

E: withholding or non-delivery of positive reinforcement for previously reinforced behavior - You don’t get what you want


You bonehead!! You can kiss that bonus for this year good-bye.... and take a few days off without pay!!!


Let him cry honey. If we get up every night when he cries he’ll never learn to go to sleep peacefully.





The effects of punishment





The effects of extinction



If you see this type of performance curve, you can bet management by negative reinforcement is the predominant management style



what employees want
What Employees Want:
  • A Safe Workplace
  • A Positive Workplace
  • To Take Care of One Another
  • To Stop the Hurt!
what management wants
What Management Wants:
  • An Accident Free Workplace
  • Empowered Employees
  • Pro-active Rather Than Re-active Work Process
  • To Minimize Direct and Indirect Costs and Threat of Liability From Accidents

If you want to know what people find to be reinforcing....

observe what they do when they have the freedom to choose.


The Behavior Based Safety Challenge:

To create conditions that encourage people to collaborate because they want to

not because they have to

Let’s do it!!


A Values-Based Process

“Focus on the process….not results……they will come later!”

avoid the following headline
Avoid The Following Headline:

“Behavior Based Safety Scores Show Significant Improvement - while injury rate climbs!”

why do we need to change
Why Do We Need to Change?

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got!”

W. Edwards Deming