Behavior-based Safety Checklist

Eliminate the root cause of unsafe acts in the workplace and instantly report and encourage safe behavior using a mobile app.

Published 30 Mar 2021

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.

This article briefly features:

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.

behavior based safety checklist

Behavior-based Safety Checklist | Download Template

What is a Behavioral Safety Audit?

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 Behavior-based Safety

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:

  • BBS Step #1: 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:

behavior based safety abc model

  • BBS Step #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.

  • BBS Step #3: 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.

  • BBS Step #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.

  • BBS Step #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 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.

Free Behavior-based Safety App

Safety managers should perform paperless safety observations, recordkeeping, and reporting to effectively implement behavior-based safety.  iAuditor by SafetyCulture, 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:

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Shine Colcol

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing help enrich the quality of information in her articles.

Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing help enrich the quality of information in her articles.