The Power of Behavior - An Introduction to Behavior-Based Safety

Published on
September 15, 2023

As a Safety Head, can you stress enough on the importance of safe behavior practiced by your team and your co-workers?  

Every action we take, every decision we make, and every task we accomplish is driven by our behavior. It dictates how we interact with our surroundings and other people, and how we think, act, and feel. Inculcating safe behavior is undoubtedly a guiding principle to living a secure life. 

The pertinence of safe behavior is not limited to our day-to-day lives but extends to include workplaces with its periphery as well. Changing unsafe behaviors of employees to safe behavior is indispensable to safeguarding all of their lives. This is where Behavior Based Safety comes into play. 

The Basics of Behavior-Based Safety

Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) is a proactive approach to increase safety within a workplace and reduce hazards, risks, and accidents. It aims to do so by observing the behavior of the employees and attempting to analyze the underlying cause of unsafe behaviors. What follows is a strategic method including multiple processes such as behavioral safety training to replace unwanted behavior with a desired behavior that promotes safety for all. The end result is the employees perform their tasks in the workplace safely. The main objective of the approach is to ingrain safe behaviors as a habit. 

Before we move ahead, we have to dispel a common misconception that BBS blames the employees for any unfortunate incidents. On the contrary, behavioral safety seeks to offer positive reinforcement and feedback to employees so that they can avoid indulging in risky behaviors that endanger their lives.

The Importance of Behavior-Based Safety 

Now that we are familiar with the concept let us understand why it is necessary to introduce Behavior Based Safety in your organization. 

Irrespective of the size or nature of an organization, everybody aspires to foster the best safety culture possible for the benefit of the employees as well as the organization itself. Since this approach aims to root us the very cause behind the occurrence of unsafe activities, it has long-term benefits. Relying on a mutual relationship based on trust and cooperation between the leaders and the employees, behavioral safety eliminates occupational risks and hazards substantially. With BBS, organizations can continuously improve their safety performance and establish safety as a value and not solely as a duty. 

The Six-Step Approach to BBS 

  1. Identification of Unsafe Behavior - The first step in BBS is to clearly identify the unsafe and risky behaviors you want to target. Proper identification will enable you to clearly define your roadmap. Most of the tasks your colleagues complete are on auto-pilot and therefore, it is important to isolate the specific unsafe behavior which is causing harm. 
  2. Understanding the Root Cause - After identifying the unsafe behavior, the next step in behavioral safety is to analyze the root cause (both external and internal factors) of the said behavior. Different behaviors have different underlying causes. One may practice a particular unsafe behavior because s/he has been doing it like this for many years while some might have learned it recently from a peer. Understanding the cause will enable you to effectively address and remove it so that the behavior is not attained again. 
  3. Possible Action - The next step will be to formulate a plan of possible corrective actions you can take to encourage the employees to let go of their unsafe behavior and to inspire them to adopt the safer ones instead. You will also need to assess the feasibility of your plan and evaluate its probable effectiveness. 
  4. Selection of Necessary Processes - You will then need to decide what processes you will include to carry out your objective while taking into consideration the employees’ attitudes and feelings. Behavior-based safety training, corrective feedback, behavior-based safety checklists, and behavioral safety audits are some tried and tested options.
  5. Implementation - The second last step is the actual implementation of the Behavior Based Safety program. This is the hardest and the most time-consuming step. The cornerstone of an effective BBS program is open communication and positive feedback. Appreciation for displaying safe behavior or providing information on what an employee is doing incorrectly goes a long way to promote employee safety
  6. Evaluation - The last step is to evaluate the success of the different elements of the behavioral safety program such as the behavioral safety training and gauge whether your methods have increased safe behavior amongst the employees. Recognition for successfully adopting safe behavior or follow-ups with non-conformers is also necessary. If certain elements of your program are not working, understand why it is so and plan out the replacements. 

Integrating SafetyConnect in Behavior-Based Safety

For field employees, the road is their working environment. There is a direct correlation between how they act on the road and the behaviors they practice. Unsafe driving behaviors such as overspeeding phone usage etc. are leading causes of road accidents. To combat this issue of road accidents among field employees, it is critical to identify their unsafe habits. With them being on the road, identification of their risky driving behavior may be hard. 

SafetyConnect empowers any organization to analyze the at-risk driving behavior of their field force. Daily trip reports and safety scores give an insight into the type of unsafe driving behavior exhibited by different drivers. Improvement suggestions and gamification via leaderboard is a positive reinforcement for the employees to change their unsafe driving behavior. Actionable data generated by the application also helps organizations plan other necessary interventions to address these unsafe driving and propagate safe driving behaviors. 

You can book a demo here to start changing the unsafe driving behavior of your field force and curb road accidents. 

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