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Behavioral Safety

Updated on July 28, 2009

Is Behavioral Safety Program Different from Other Safety Programs?

  • Yes, definitely
  • Simpler to understand, convince and implement
  • Practical
  • More successful
  • More beneficial both to employees and the organization

Does Behavioral Safety Work?

  • Positive results over the last decade in many sectors of the UK, Irish and US economies.
  • Implemented in construction, manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper, foods, steel, paints and offshore oil & gas.


  • 40-75 percent reductions in accident rates and accident costs year on year
  • 20-30 percent improvements in safety behavior yearly
  • Greater workforce involvement in safety
  • Better communications between management and the workforce
  • Ongoing improvements to safety management systems
  • Improved safety climates
  • Greater 'ownership' of safety by the workforce
  • More positive attitudes towards safety
  • Greater individual acceptance of responsibility for safety

Significant Features

  • Bottom up and mid level approach (not top down)
  • Participative (participation from the grass root levels)
  • Behavior to attitude (and not attitude to behavior)
  • Continuous improvement

Essential Criteria for Behavioral Safety program

  • It involves significant workforce participation
  • It targets specific unsafe behaviors
  • It is based on observational data collection
  • It involves data-driven decision-making processes
  • It involves a systematic, observational, improvement intervention
  • It involves regular focused feedback about on-going performance
  • It requires visible on-going support from managers and front-line supervision

Training Is the First Step

  • Duration: 2 days for each batch
  • Batch size: Maximum 20 participants in a batch
  • Coverage: Entire population/critical mass
  • Level of participants: Managers and supervisors and key workers

Behavioral Safety Process or System (Generic Model)

  1. Identify unsafe behaviors and place them on checklists.
  2. Seek approval of those being monitored to ensure they are in agreement with the behaviors on the checklists.
  3. Now the trained observers carry out observations for a certain period of time to establish a baseline (usually four weeks), with which subsequent performance can be compared.
  4. Once the average baseline score has been determined, the intervention is implemented at kick-off meetings, or goal-setting sessions whereby the work groups set improvement targets for themselves.
  5. Subsequently, the observers continue to monitor their colleague’s safety behaviors on a regular basis.
  6. The observation scores are then analyzed so that fine detailed feedback can be given to the work groups or people concerned on a regular basis.
  7. Data is also monitored for trends so that improvements can be highlighted and praised or corrective actions can be taken.



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