Top 5 Behavior-based Safety Checklists

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Published November 23rd, 2020

What is Behavior-based Safety?

Behavior-based Safety is the bottom-up approach of implementing safety programs in the workplace. It aims to achieve a total safety culture by observing routine tasks, providing timely feedback, and analyzing the root cause of unsafe acts. Correctly carrying out behavior-based safety can uncover systemic issues, reduce job-related injuries, and improve workplace morale.

What is a Behavior-based Safety Checklist?

A behavior-based safety checklist is used by safety managers to systematically apply positive reinforcement of safe acts in the workplace. Utilizing digital behavior-based safety checklists can help organizations eliminate root causes of at-risk behavior and inspire employees to be self-accountable.

This article features: 1) best practices for behavior-based safety in the workplace; 2) powerful mobile inspection app to easily record safe acts; and 3) free behavior-based safety checklists you can download, customize, and use.

How to Implement Behavior-based Safety

Certified Safety Professional and Associate in Risk Management, Larry Hansen says, “Behavior-based safety done right can be very effective at helping you find the core organizational causes of risk. Done wrong, it can be used to mask management failures.” Here are best practices for behavior-based safety in the workplace:

Understand the ABC Model

The ABC Model, or Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence, is a well established strategy in analyzing and potentially changing how people act. Both the management and frontline workers should clearly understand what triggers unsafe behavior and how they impact workplace safety. Follow these key concepts of the ABC Model in implementing Behavior-based Safety:

The ABC model

Examine Past Incidents and Near Misses

Assuming that employees are the problem is a misconception that leads to failure. Safety managers should carefully examine inspection results recorded over time to determine their root cause and what could have prevented reported injuries. Create a behavior-based safety checklist based on critical safe behavior such as proper PPE, body position, and equipment operation.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

One of the biggest mistakes in behavior-based safety is blaming the workforce for unsafe working conditions. Management should emphasize on recognizing safe behavior, instead of fault-finding. When employees receive timely, specific, and positive feedback, they will pay more attention to their own and their peers’ daily safety behavior. Positive reinforcement of behavior-based safety results in behavioral changes that last.

Apply People-focused Interventions

Encouraging staff to take a proactive role in eliminating the root cause of unsafe acts is a step in the right direction. According to H.W. Heinrich in Industrial Accident Prevention: A Scientific Approach, underlying facts about unsafe acts include “faults of management and supervision plus the unwise methods and procedures that management and supervision fail to correct”. Conduct individual and group safety observations, coaching, and mentoring to demonstrate commitment for open communication, fair leadership, and continuous improvement.

Streamline the Reporting Process

Supervisors (and workers) tend to fabricate safety observations to meet quotas and deadlines. Taking and attaching photos, drafting the report, and submitting it takes too much valuable time and energy. Managing records and tracking progress can also be challenging. Organizations can easily monitor performance, improve accountability and gain visibility by successfully harnessing new technology.

Behavior-based Safety App

Safety managers should perform paperless safety observations, recordkeeping, and reporting to effectively implement behavior-based safety. iAuditor, the world’s most powerful inspection software, can help organizations eliminate the root cause of unsafe acts, reduce job-related injuries, and improve workplace morale. Empower your employees to:


Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.