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Gladys Ng
Product Marketing Manager

What is Behavior Based Safety?

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) is a proactive method of implementing safety programs. By analyzing the risk factors that are created due to employee behavior, it aims to minimize safety hazards and reduce unsafe behaviors by analyzing the risk factors created by employee behavior. BBS studies how factors such as work procedures, measures, training, or equipment design, influence a person to perform the task safely.

The objective behind BBS is to create an organizational culture where data-supported interventions are used to assess and improve the safety measures put into place continually.

How Does Behavior Based Safety Work?

Employees may not recognize unsafe conditions till it's too late

Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) is a management approach that uses data, analysis, and learning to improve safety performance. It is based on the idea that safety is a behavior, not a condition. Through training, coaching, and feedback, BBS focuses on increasing employees’ awareness of safety behaviors.

The goal of BBS is to reduce unsafe behaviors performed by employees. To do this, you must first identify the unsafe acts that are taking place in your organization. Then you can take steps to change unsafe behavior and prevent them from happening again.

To identify the unsafe acts, the methodology relies on third-person observation data. As employees continue to work, an observer stays as a passive participant. This observer can be a human participant or a system that collects data.

The tasks can include safety-related tasks such as a discussion on permit applications or workplace safety reviews using a checklist. When the job is completed, or at suitable points, the observer will share observations made, without judgment. This data triggers a discussion about why certain safety practices are carried out. In that way, the feedback loop creates a reflective safety culture.

Why is Behavior Based Safety Important?

One of the main benefits of BBS is that it puts more emphasis on prevention rather than just corrective actions after an injury has occurred. This means that employers can identify potential hazards before they become serious injuries or illnesses.

With the observation data, the discussion can center on the effectiveness of the current safety program. It can also highlight safe and unsafe behaviors as well as conditions that the employees face, which might be overlooked by management.

Overall, it creates a safety culture where workers feel empowered to report danger zones. It also increases the engagement between leadership and frontline workers, reducing human errors. In that way, the company can avoid severe consequences before accidents happen.

Is Behavior Based Safety needed based on Singapore Laws (OSHD)?

While there is no legal requirement in Singapore to implement BBS, the method improves worksite safety. The Workplace and Health Council, the statuary board under the Ministry of Manpower that regulates workplace safety in Singapore, also highly recommends BBS as a way to perform site inspections.

What are the Principles of Behavior Based Safety?

Here are five principles you should use to guideline your BBS program:

  1. First, recognize that historical assessments of previous injuries and accidents provide data-driven results. Start by identifying problematic behaviors that are unsafe or risky. Then, determine the root causes of the behaviors.
  2. Pay attention to small careless behaviors that result in significant accidents and injuries.
  3. Manage these risky and unsafe behaviors by developing critical behavior checklists to document examples of target behaviors
  4. Maintain a safety culture. Design intervention programs to improve/avert unsafe or risky behavior. Such interventions can include training workers to lead as safety monitors.
  5. Fully engage all employees in the importance of behavioral safety. Encourage active observation and reporting to boost employee engagement and compliance.

How to Promote Behavior Based Safety?

1. Develop Safety Culture:

Strong safety culture is supported by senior leadership, has clear policies and procedures, and encourages employees to speak up if they see something that could be unsafe.

Safety culture is important to BBS for two reasons: employee morale and employee engagement. When people feel safe at work, they’re more likely to engage with their jobs and take pride in their workmanship. In addition to this, having a strong safety culture can help you avoid accidents on the job. This increases overall productivity in the organization.

The SOL-X Control of Work process designed by SOL-X is a way that organizations can implement behavior-based safe work practices. The integrated technology ensures workers follow the safety procedures at the right place and time while carrying out their assigned scope of work. Such transparency also helps workers to feel in control over their work environment, motivating them to be more productive.

2. Observe Behaviors

Behavior based safety program - observe behaviors

Real-time monitoring is beneficial for BBS because it allows organizations to identify gaps in safety processes. As mentioned, one of the fundamental principles of BBS is to pay attention to careless behaviors that result in accidents.

When we use real-time monitoring, we can see where our safety processes are breaking down and identify where we need to make changes. This allows us to improve our work systems and ensure that operations are carried out safely.

Using SOL-X’s safety solutions, your organization can observe risky behaviors in real-time. The live dashboard allows near real-time visibility of all operations. For example, crew managers can see a live update of their team’s location and tasks. Should any team member feel unwell, notifications will also alert relevant officers to take action.

3. Get Real-Time Feedback

One of the important aspects of BBS is real-time feedback. Real-time feedback refers to providing feedback to workers promptly so they can make adjustments as soon as possible.

The intervention allows workers to be accountable for their actions in the present moment and encourages a sense of responsibility among members of the team. In addition, such feedback makes them more likely to take ownership of their actions.

SOL-X’s advanced technological solutions, such as smart wearables for workers, will facilitate the provision of such real-time feedback. Workers are notified immediately if the system senses any possible danger. For example, if the place is too hot, the SOL-X SmartWatch can sense heat exposure and remind the worker to rest and hydrate. Workers can also alert their officers in charge via notifications from their smart wearables if they realize they cannot carry out their tasks safely. This reinforces positive safety behaviors, which is a cornerstone of BBS.

4. Analyze Quality Data

BBS safety processes are successful because they are based on direct observations of front-line workers doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the organization cannot see what people are thinking or understand their beliefs and attitudes. This qualitative data is undoubtedly necessary, but measuring them without exerting time and resources is impossible. On the other hand, it’s easy to observe what people do. The actions they take to ensure they are not injured and the actions they take that may put them at risk for injury are data that a company can collect.

Once the unsafe behaviors are identified, you can create targeted solutions to remove them. Again, using data means no need for speculation since the process generates evidence we can see and measure.

You can rely on SOL-X’s products to obtain such real-time data to collect important information. For example, its integrated SOL-X collects timely data on worksite safety. The SmartWatch also collects near real-time data on workers’ safety and well-being. Both data collection points from the work environment and workers’ health conditions support safety managers in crafting a comprehensive safety program.

5. Use a Behavior Based Safety Checklist

Behavior based safety program - behavior based safety checklist

A behavior based safety checklist is a direct-observation instrument that is used to record safe behavior and recognize the reason behind an unsafe act.

A BBS checklist is important and valuable because it helps the observer to identify the areas of concern. The observer can then provide timely feedback to prompt a discussion from the checklist. The checklist also helps ensure that employees follow the correct procedures when performing their work, creating a behavior based safety system.

Even a simple checklist like this example can also help encourage a workplace culture that promotes safety since it ensures everyone is on the same page.

6. Reinforce Positive Behaviors

Ultimately, BBS is not a framework for negative criticism. Instead, it aims to provide a feedback loop where safe behaviors are recognized. At the same time, unsafe behaviors are discussed so workers can reflect and adjust their processes. As part of a safety culture, monitoring, managing, and giving positive feedback to reinforce safe behavior is essential.

SOL-X solutions use ready-made analytics that helps to create positive behavioral feedback loops. This technology is aided by AI and is built by an experienced safety personnel team that is well-informed about workplace safety. This professional solution means SOL-X’s SOL-X can gather real-time ground data for actionable insights. These insights allow the company to identify positive behaviors, share best practices, and find leading indicators for continuous improvement.

Behavior Based Safety Solutions

SOL-X Solutions Enhance Behavior Based Safety with Behavior Based Safety Approach

For more information on how SOL-X can support BBS methods, read our white paper to learn more. You can read more here if you’re interested in how our innovative products can facilitate and support BBS observation cycles.

Gladys Ng
Product Marketing Manager

15Y+ experience as an accomplished & results-driven marketing and communications exec with proven track record BSc. Mgt, S Dip. Digital Marketing & Analytics


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