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What are Behavior Based Safety Observations?

Wednesday, July 26, 2023
What are Behavior Based Safety Observations?

Behavior-based safety observations (BBSO) are a crucial part of behavior-based safety programs, which aim to reduce incident rates by encouraging safe behavior and eliminating the necessity for risky action. The assumption is that occurrences will decrease if workers learn safe work behaviors through observation.

The world around us has a significant impact on how people behave. People naturally follow what they observe. It also means that it may be monitored, tracked, and altered in response to various outside factors.

What is a Behavior Based Safety Observation?

Behavior-based safety (BBS) monitoring entails watching and evaluating workplace behavior to identify potential safety hazards and risks. Usually, BBS surveillance entails using trained observers who keep an eye on the actions of the workforce, spot unsafe behaviors or circumstances, and offer feedback to the workforce to promote safe behaviors.

Creating an effective Behavior Based Safety program

Changing everyone’s mindset, from high management to front-line employees, is the most challenging aspect of adopting a BBS program. Although it is a human tendency to search for defects or negativity, BBS aims to find and highlight good actions.

EHS identifies the most frequent causes of BBS program failure or inefficiency.

Retention and Internalization

How will you maintain your safety program if it depends entirely on a third party during trying times? Make sure there are means to maintain and continue your safety program if you can no longer afford your safety consultant or software.

Information for disciplinary purposes

BBS aims to identify and highlight positive actions. Instead of reprimanding employees for unsafe behavior, utilize dangerous observations as a teaching opportunity and a chance to identify problems with the task.

Forced involvement or effort

Employees will only effectively carry out a process if they are enthusiastic about it. Instead of forcing the method down their throats, it’s critical to inspire and help them believe in it.

No action plans or evidence of success

Make sure the safety team distributes and uses the information from the BBSOs to inspire the rest of the organization. If employees don’t see any outcomes or changes being made to their procedures, they won’t be motivated by the program.

Anticipating miracles

People are a product of their experiences and environment, which influence every part of our existence. Give your staff and BBS program time and space to develop before observing a change because altering people’s thoughts and the frameworks they are accustomed to taking place will take time and effort.

Everyone hopes they won’t get hurt at work, but creating a safety culture among your employees can significantly lower that risk. One thing to bear in mind if your business is considering adopting a BBS program is that it isn’t a “us vs. them” situation. BBS stands for “everyone helping each other stay safe.”

Examples of Behavior Based Safety Observations

Observations of employee behavior based on safety can spot occasions where employees are cutting corners to finish jobs faster or more effectively. These shortcuts might seem trivial, but disregarding safe practices can lead to accidents or injuries. Workers may disregard safety procedures if they think they can perform the task more quickly without doing so.

Other examples of behavior-based safety observations are as follows:

  • They are observing a worker using a forklift and observing that they are not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Observing a worker use substances that could be harmful when not using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • If you watch a coworker use a ladder, you might notice they need to follow the advised ladder safety precautions, such as maintaining three points of contact when climbing.

How to Implement Behavior-Based Observations

Implementing behavior-based observations involves a systematic approach to observing and documenting behaviors in a specific context, such as the workplace or a learning environment.

Here’s how to implement behavior-based observations:

  • Clearly define the observation process’s parameters, including what behaviors should be watched for and how to document them.
  • Employees should get training on the value of conducting behavior-based safety observations and how to do so effectively. You should integrate BBS observation training into your normal workplace safety instruction.
  • Observations that promote employee buy-in should be given, along with feedback to colleagues. A 14-year study found that even only 30% of employees participating in behavior-based safety observation led to improved site-wide safety performance.
  • Utilize the information gathered from observations to spot trends and patterns, then take action to stop any harmful behaviors and their underlying causes.
  • Use checklists or other evaluation methods to inspect the effectiveness of behavior-based safety observations regularly internally. This can guarantee that the observations are made accurately and consistently.
  • When risky behaviors are discovered during the inspection stage, establish follow-up measures. A quick-to-implement action plan promotes better safe work practices and immediately removes the possibility of recurrence.

Purpose of Behavior-Based Safety Observations

To create and put into action solutions to reduce accidents and injuries, behavior-based safety (BBS) observation seeks to identify risky workplace behaviors and environments. Employees participate in BBS observation programs where they observe one another and give comments on safe and risky actions.

BBS observation programs’ primary objectives are to:

  • Enhance the safety culture: By encouraging employees to assume responsibility for their safety as well as the safety of their coworkers, BBS observation programs can aid in developing a safety culture.
  • Increased safety awareness: Employees become more conscious of their behavior and that of their coworkers due to watching and reporting on safety-related behaviors and conditions.
  • Determine hazards: Programs for BBS surveillance aid in spotting workplace risks and offer chances to correct them before accidents happen.
  • Reduce injuries and accidents: BBS observation programs can aid in reducing workplace accidents and injuries by detecting and correcting dangerous behaviors and situations.

How Behavior-Based Safety Observations are Measured

Typically, checklists or forms that specify specific behaviors that should be observed are used during a safety audit to measure behavior-based safety observations. These questionnaires may ask about the employee’s use of personal protective equipment, adherence to safety procedures, and general awareness of safety issues. They are frequently created to identify both good and bad behaviors.

Following the completion of the observations, the observation data is evaluated to find patterns and trends in the data. Businesses can use this study to pinpoint employee actions that may raise the risk of mishaps, injuries, and near-misses and take preventative measures.

Who Should Perform Behavior-Based Safety Observations?

Making behavior-based safety observations requires planning and training. Those making the observations must be trained in the behavioral observation technique. You must also know how to explain the methods and goals of behavioral observation to the subject. Making behavior-based safety observations requires planning and training.

The effectiveness of the behavior-based safety program is attributed to the workers’ participation. The observations are made, and supervisors and safety experts check the boxes. A strong foundation must be formed before undertaking behavior-based observations. Inform the workers of the program’s objectives and potential advantages during the toolbox and safety sessions.




Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.