Published 30 Nov 2022
What is Behavior-based Safety?
Behavior-based safety, or behavioral safety, is the bottom-up approach of implementing safety programs in the workplace. Behavior-based safety (BBS) 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 BBS can uncover systemic issues, reduce job-related injuries, and improve workplace morale.
A behavior-based safety checklist is a direct-observation tool used to recognize safe behavior and eliminate the root cause of unsafe acts. Use this checklist to easily observe safe behavior such as the right selection of tools for the job, proper lifting techniques, and more. This checklist includes potential root cause identification for unsafe acts to help organizations implement the correct improvement measures. Maximize the benefits of this checklist by following the steps below:
- Follow the step-by-step safety observation process
- Determine if the behavior is “safe” or “at-risk” and identify barriers
- Take photos of safe behavior, unsafe acts, or working conditions
- Detail your observations by adding notes and assign corrective actions
- Automatically generate, store, and deliver the report as you complete this checklist with a digital signature
In this article
- What is a Behavior-based Safety Checklist?
- Conducting a Safety Observation?
- How to Implement
- Free Behavior-based Safety App
- Featured Behavior-based Safety Checklists
What is a Behavior-based Safety Checklist?
A behavior-based safety checklist, or behavioral safety checklist, is used by safety managers to systematically apply positive reinforcement of safe acts in the workplace. Utilizing digital behavioral based safety checklists can help organizations eliminate root causes of at-risk behavior and inspire employees to be self-accountable.
Conducting a Safety Observation?
A behavioral safety audit, also more commonly known as a safety observation, is the process of evaluating how employees practice safe behavior in the workplace. Behavioral safety audits are usually documented in safety observation reports, where safety mentions, opportunities for improvement, and critical items are specifically identified to be shared with the workers.
How to Implement
Implementing behavior-based safety can seem burdensome at first, especially because in some cases, safety observations frequently end up in a blame game. Certified Safety Professional and Associate in Risk Management, Larry Hansen shared, “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 5 quick steps to help you get started with implementing behavior-based safety in your workplace:
1: Understand the ABC Model
The ABC Model, or Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence, is a well-established strategy for 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:
2: 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.
3: Practice Positive Reinforcement
One of the biggest mistakes in behavior-based safety is blaming the workforce for unsafe working conditions. Management should emphasize 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.
4: 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 a commitment to open communication, fair leadership, and continuous improvement.
5: 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 take 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.
Free Behavior-based Safety App
Safety managers should perform paperless safety observations, recordkeeping, and reporting to effectively implement behavior-based safety. SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), the world’s most powerful inspection platform, can help organizations eliminate the root cause of unsafe acts, reduce job-related injuries, and improve workplace morale. Empower your employees to:
- Capture photo evidence of safe and at-risk behavior. Watch the overview video.
- Schedule safety observations and assign corrective actions
- Automatically generate and share behavior-based safety reports with stakeholders and key personnel. Preview sample report.
- Use for free with small teams. Unlimited reports and storage, integrations, and real-time analytics for premium accounts.
Featured Behavior-based Safety Checklists
This behavioral safety checklist is used by a professional services company that specializes in providing safety psychology services, including behavioral safety program implementation. Use this checklist to assess laboratory, blending operations, loading/unloading process, and warehouse operations practices and determine if they’re safe, unsafe, or unseen.
This behavior-based safety observation form can be used for general building and office environments. Included in this checklist are key areas critical to health and safety such as work environment, electrical hazards, fire safety and equipment, etc. Use this template to document your safety observations across the relevant sections of Safety Mentions, Opportunity for Improvement or Critical Items and create corrective measures with an assignee, priority level, and due date.
A behavior-based safety observation checklist is used by safety managers to identify safe and at-risk behavior of frontline workers. Use this checklist to assess employees’ ergonomics, PPE, tools and equipment, work areas, and procedures. The moment you complete this checklist, all data is automatically saved, organized, and collected in real time. Easily spot trends of unsafe acts and monitor performance using SafetyCulture analytics.
This behavioral safety audit checklist can be used in offices to observe safe behavior for handling tools and equipment, PPE, safety systems and procedures, ergonomics, and waste management. Indicate observation points as “OK”, “NOK” (not okay), “N/A” (not applicable), or “Feedback”, take/attach necessary photos or files, and automatically generate the audit report.
A critical behavior checklist (CBC) is used to help ensure the practice of critical safe behavior such as office ergonomics, PPE, body use and position, lifting, work environment, tools and equipment, forklift or manlift, and light vehicles or trucks. Use this checklist to detect reasons for at-risk behaviors such as disagreement with safe practice, personal choice or shortcuts, job knowledge, job focus, facilities or equipment, and management system. Accomplish this critical behavior checklist with the date and time of completion and the observer’s digital signature.
A field level hazard assessment template aims to help frontline workers identify and immediately control hazards in designated work areas. It promotes behavior-based safety by enabling workers to apply the “stop and think” process in minimizing health and safety risks at the onset. Use this template to briefly discuss the tasks to be done during the shift, specify and take photos of the hazards in your work area, indicate how hazards are controlled, and update the tasks, hazards, and controls in real-time.
An incident report template is a tool used to record incidents such as injuries, near misses, accidents, property damage, and more. Use this template to document specific details of the incident and help organizations improve behavior-based safety. Make the most of this checklist by identifying the type of the incident, person of injury, and job description, taking or attaching photo evidence of incident, environment, and person(s) involved, and gathering witness statements with their digital signatures.