Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) is the application of behavioral psychology to improve safety in the workplace. The aim is to change behaviors that cause incidents and promote behaviors that are efficient and safe. 

First, employees are observed by management to identify behaviors that contribute either positively or negatively to safety. Management can then use that data to create an action plan to improve safety — either by changing processes to eliminate high-risk activities or promoting those that increase safety. 

Incorporating BBS into your existing EHS and employee training plans has organization-wide benefits. We’ll take a look at the three major ones. 

Proactive risk approach

When implemented successfully, BBS programs can reduce injury rates by up to 79%.1 They do so by proactively reducing the risk of workplace injury or incident. Instead of responding to safety incidents as they happen, you are preventing them in the first place.

Taking a proactive approach to risk management is beneficial because it allows you to stay in control of the situation, instead of just responding based on the incidents. It also saves organizations from having to deal with the time, money and employee distress/injury caused by workplace incidents.

Improved safety

The main goal of a BBS program is to prevent workplace incidents. Organizations that incorporate BBS into their safety plans tend to see a drastic reduction in accidents and incidents, especially those resulting in injury or worse.

Additionally, BBS allows management to tweak processes for optimal efficiency. This results in better quality goods and services, better employee satisfaction and an increase in sustainability efforts. 

Lower operational cost

BBS programs are a low-cost investment in safety. Usually, organizations can implement them with no additional personnel, limited additional resources and few interruptions to business activity.

Additionally, early intervention programs like BBS prevent incidents — therefore, eliminating the cost of the ramifications of those incidents. Employee injuries are among the most costly workplace incidents. 

Incorporating BBS seamlessly

BBS programs integrate very well with existing business operations. Here are a few areas that can utilize BBS:

  • Employee training: BBS gives you the necessary information to put together a truly effective training program. The observation stage lets management see what the focus area should be for employee training, as this will be different for each organization. 
  • Risk management: BBS is an act of risk management, since it proactively prevents incidents. Preparing for risks before an incident happens protects employee safety as well as saves money in the long run. When management is observing employee behavior, they can identify hazards present between the workplace environment and the actual task. 
  • Corrective action: Corrective actions are essential for building a BBS program because you can identify patterns in issues and determine what can be done to prevent those issues from recurring. This helps you to create a more specific and relevant training program as well as tweak processes for optimal performance.