Behavior-Based Safety (BBS)

Behavior Based Safety, when implemented correctly helps employees attain peak safety standards by creating an environment that keeps them accountable for their actions. BBS is primarily designed to increase the manageability and control over industrial workplaces by focusing on the workers’ attention to themselves as well as their peers’ safety through positive reinforcement. 

The big ideas that BBS promotes are:

  • Defining target behaviors
  • Develop critical behavior checklists for addressing those tendencies
  • Design workshops to prevent those unsafe behaviors
  • Keep record of progress
  • Give effective criticism for improvement of behaviors

The unique thing about BBS is that it addresses the human side of safety where consistency is key and where mistakes happen more often in comparison to our robot counterparts. To achieve consistency, safe and unsafe behavior is defined for employees while encouraging them to care about the direct consequences that an unsafe behavior might entail. Consistency leads to accountability from all levels in the company. This then eventually helps build a positive reputation internally and externally. Overall, commitment and passion for the safety of everyone should be seen in the beginning of the program when all the right strategies have been implemented and kept up to date.

However, there are a few factors that might inhibit the success of BBS as it takes a lot of effort to keep this strategy in place. First off, it is not solely a management or an hourly wage employee’s job. Because of this misconception, BBS programs tend to fall apart and waste money due to the lack of clear, complete, and mutual understanding between the levels of a business. Another tendency that shows up frequently is that some people often only focus on worker behavior rather than taking into account another outside forces that might be making something less safe. This would then be a great opportunity to implement another safety discipline to use as a check and balance system.


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