Behavior Based Safety (BBS) 2.0





Company leaders have tried numerous initiatives to improve workplace safety. Behavior-based safety, in particular, has been widely implemented to help improve safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs). BBS involves the use of behavioral checklists to note both safe and risky behaviors to provide employees immediate safety feedback and track behavioral trends for future improvements. The logic for this approach is sound since the vast majority of injuries are due, in part, to risky behaviors. The probability of serious incidents decreases as risky actions, and system flaws contributing to them, are minimized.


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Unfortunately, traditional BBS programs often don’t get companies past plateaus in performance once early improvements have been made. This is largely due to BBS programs which are poorly or incompletely implemented including failing to fully consider environmental contingencies (e.g., excessive production pressure, insufficient personnel, confusing procedures) which influence behavior. This may lead leaders to incorrectly target employee “behavior” as a root cause instead of taking a broader systems approach. Also, most BBS programs fail to sufficiently account for employees’ beliefs/attitudes which ultimately influence their on-the-job behaviors. Attitudes are antecedents to behavior (although behavior can also influence attitudes) and need to be addressed when tackling the ultimate objective of improving safety behaviors to prevent incidents. Attitudes drive our Behaviors which ultimately impact our Results.
Our BBS 2.0 training combines the power of cognitive psychology with the proven methodologies of behavioral safety. This includes focusing on these key beliefs and attitudes:
Self-motivation: Intrinsic motivation is three times stronger than external motivation for employee participation in safety efforts. When employees are motivated to work safely and believe safety is important, they are significantly more likely to carry out activities that help overall organizational safety even if it doesn’t directly contribute to their own safety. This ultimately leads to a reduction in organizational injuries.
Safety buy-in: Employees who internalize safety efforts instead of simply following rules to avoid discipline are less likely to get hurt. Statistically significant reductions in injuries are found when employees buy-in to company safety efforts and procedures.
Internal control for safety: Employees with an internal locus of control (they feel they personally control events in their environment) are significantly less likely to be injured at work versus those who don’t have this sense of personal control.
Teamwork: As perceived social support increases, there is a strong, statistically significant reduction in injuries. Increasing coworker-to-coworker helping behaviors is associated with a statistically significant decrease in incidents.
Engagement and participation: Engaged employees are 5 times less likely than disengaged employees to have a safety incident and 7 times less likely to have a lost-time safety incident.


Combining the best elements of cognitive and behavioral psychology leads to increased discretionary effort for safety and decreased likelihood of SIFs. Our BBS 2.0 training will increase employee participation, internal control, and self-motivation to improve safety actions to keep everyone safe.


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