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Advanced Topics in BBS. Chris Goulart CSP, MS, ARM, CDT, CSHM Director of Safety Services RCI Safety . GROUND RULES. Ask a LOT Of Questions Don’t take Copious Notes Be Skeptical. Objectives . – A Theoretical Approach The Science of BBS Beyond the ABC’s

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Advanced topics in bbs

Advanced Topics in BBS

Chris Goulart CSP, MS, ARM, CDT, CSHM

Director of Safety Services

RCI Safety

Ground rules

  • Ask a LOT Of Questions

  • Don’t take Copious Notes

  • Be Skeptical


  • – A Theoretical Approach

    • The Science of BBS

    • Beyond the ABC’s

    • Defining How Behavioral Psychology and Cognitive Psychology Function in BBS

    • Safety Culture and Behavior

    • Current and Future Research

    • Self Observations

    • The Observer Effect

    • Psychological Factors Involving Safety


  • – Practical Application

    • Review recent trends in the field of Behavioral Safety

    • Selecting the Right Behaviors …Risk Assessment Vs. Pinpointing

    • Responding to the Criticisms of BBS

    • BBS in the long-term

    • Discuss the Future of the Discipline

    • Results – Documented, Expected, how to Get the Most from the Process

    • Talk about Events and Where to get more Information

Safety pyramid

Unsafe Acts/Conditions


Culture (Mgmt. Driven)

Can we finally put the triangle to rest
Can We FINALLY put the Triangle to Rest???

  • The Research of Heinrich has ALWAYS Been Suspect.

  • The Recent Article by Manuele (October 2011) casts lots of Legitimate Doubts

  • The Causal Factors the Drive Injuries and Accidents are Complex and Almost Always Systemic in Nature

  • A Behavioral Component to Safety is Necessary and Important, but NOT a Silver Bullet

What is the science behind behavioral safety
What is the Science Behind Behavioral Safety?

  • B. F. Skinner – Developed the concept of Operant Conditioning… Organisms are motivated by how their behavior OPERATES on the environment.

  • Pavlov – Developed the concept of Classical Conditioning also known as associative learning – Organisms are motivated through paired stimuli.

Behavioral safety
Behavioral Safety

  • Founded on the principles of Operant Conditioning.

  • Is Generally Behavioral but has Incorporated Elements of Cognitive Psychology as well (More Later)

  • It is known that Reinforcement is the best way to Manage Behavior

  • Positive Reinforcement has been shown to be most effectiveas it Optimizes Discretionary Effort (Daniels)

History of behavioral safety
History of Behavioral Safety

  • 1920’2 – 1950’s Dr. B.F. Skinner a Harvard Professor developed the concept of “Behaviorism”

  • 1960’s Aubrey Daniels incorporate operant conditioning into a concept he called “performance management”

  • Term Behavior Based Safety first used by Dr. Komaki in 1978

  • Behavior Based Safety Becomes a Mainstream Safety Approach 1980’s - Present







The ABCs of Human Behavior

Beyond the abc s
Beyond the ABC’s

  • We know Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences…

  • But how Often do We Apply this Knowledge?

  • ABC Analysis, extremely useful but rarely used.

  • Antecedents, the forgotten part of BBS

    • “Nudge” Concept

    • Aligning Antecedents with Consequences

    • Capitalizing on Natural vs Artificial Antecedents

Behavioral psych vs cognitive psych
Behavioral Psych VsCognitive Psych

  • Behavioral Psych – All that matters is the Behavior and How the Consequences to that Behavior Motivate or Exterminate Future Behavior

  • Cognitive Psych – All that matters is Motivation, Thoughts, and Emotion, Behavior is Secondary

  • BBS, when done the Right Way, resides Somewhere in Between

Safety culture
Safety Culture

  • Shared assumptions of safety in the workplace that drive motivation and behaviors based on values, traditions, and history

  • Clearly a leading indicator and the one most closely linked with outcome performance (The relationship between employees’ perceptions of safety and organizational culture Michael O’Toole) (Journal of Safety Research 2002 #33 231-243) (Also, Petersen, 2001, Krause, 2004, Cooper, 2009, Geller et. Al 2011 Professional Safety)

  • What employees do when no one is watching…(Schien)

Safety culture1
Safety Culture

  • Management Driven

  • Set in motion by the founders of the organization

  • Is very self sustaining and self reinforcing

  • Not really separate from Organizational Culture (Constituent Component)

  • Influenced by both local and industry cultural norms

Is safety culture the same thing as behavior no
Is Safety Culture the Same thing as Behavior… NO!!!

  • A Behavioral Safety Process can enhance numerous aspects of the culture

  • A Behavioral Safety Process is more likely to be successful if the Safety Culture is known

    Safety Culture = Cognitive Psychology

    Behavior Based Safety = Behavioral Psychology



Observer effect
Observer Effect

  • The behavior of the observer changes dramatically as a result of conducting observations

  • An excellent study by John Austin, Western Michigan, showed that observers improve their own behavior by 75% over a baseline

  • Interestingly safety training was shown to have no effect on performance in the same study

Austin, chapter in “The values based safety process (2nd ed.)”. New York:

Van Nostrand-Reinhold.

Hawthorne effect
Hawthorne Effect

  • Persons who know they are being observed change their inherent performance to meet the expectations of the observer

  • May not be intentional

  • Causes some elevation in the % safe scores

  • Allows for the application of more positive reinforcement for observed safe behavior

Self observation and self feedback
Self Observation and Self Feedback

  • Good research indicates this is a viable methodology for lone workers

  • They must receive outside prompts to require them to asses their postures, behaviors, and activities

  • Prompts must be sent several times per day

  • Must involve education about what is expected prior to the Self-Observation Process

  • No research done into habituation yet (long-term exposure to the process)

“Self Monitoring Promoting Behavior Change”

Hsiang Huang, Yueng et al… Professional Safety November, 2008

Quality observations
Quality Observations

  • Validation of the skill and accuracy of the observer

  • Conducted by members of the Behavioral Safety Steering Committee

  • Should be done with every observer at least once a quarter

Barriers and their role as antecedents
Barriers and their Role as Antecedents…

  • Barriers are obstacles that prevent persons from working safely

  • Barriers may be physical, procedural, or personal

  • Barriers often function as antecedents for prompting unsafe or undesirable behaviors

Metrics Antecedents…

  • Contact Rate

  • Percentage of Positive Feedback

  • Barriers Identified

  • Action Items Closed

  • Participation by Observers

  • Quality Observation Percent

Looking forward
Looking Forward Antecedents…

  • Behavioral Safety Process Maturation

  • The influence of Behavioral Safety on other business disciplines

  • The use of Behavior to manage other activities

Looking forward1
Looking Forward Antecedents…

  • Generating information on the ROI of Behavioral Safety, including the cost to implement and the cost of observations and feedback

  • Compared to the benefits of reduced injuries, improved employee morale, and enhanced productivity

  • Translation of future research into actionable protocols for Behavioral Safety

Psychological obstacles to a world class safety system
Psychological Obstacles to a World-Class Safety System Antecedents…

  • The Fundamental Attribution Error

  • Cognitive Dissonance

  • Complacency

  • Laziness

  • Outcome Bias

  • Local Rationality

  • Fact/Value Confusion

  • Overconfidence Effect

  • Recency Effect

  • Redundancy

  • Rosy Retrospective

  • Sample Bias

  • Selective Perception

  • Status Quo Bias

  • Sunk Cost Effects

  • Wishful Thinking

Where to get more information
Where to get more information Antecedents…

  • Behavior Safety Now Conferece

    Reno, NV October 9-11, 2013

  • RCI Safety BBS Academy, Council Bluffs, IA

  • The Ameristar Casino August 6 & 7, 2013

  • Bringing Out the Best in People (Aubrey Daniels)

  • Leading with Safety (Thomas Krause)

  • Leading People-Based Safety: Enriching Your Culture (Scott Geller)

  • Values Based Safety (Terry McSween)

  • Behavioral Safety: A Framework for Success (Cooper)