Starting Behavioural Safety Program: These have been very successful on many sites in the UK and this success has been due to a cultural shift in our values, attitude, perception and belief’s around safety issues.

I see four key stages in the starting a behavioural safety program

Benchmarking the site using Behavioural Safety Climate Survey

  • All employees have an opportunity to take part in the survey questionnaire and voice opinions.
  • Use follow-up interviews to really tease out the issues and safety barriers.
  • Use on site briefing methods should ensure every one’s opinion is sought and establish a return rate of 80 to 90%.

Leadership team

In my opinion the top-down approach works best for behavioural safety programs and you will struggle with bottom-up approach because of its limited ability to make decisions.

The following are key elements of a good safety workshop:

  • Making the managers uncomfortable with current safety performance
  • Gain an understanding of behavioural safety principles,
  • Gaining commitment to act through setting a vision, targets and public declaration
  • Gaining a commitment to a safety observation i.e. non-confrontational discussion on health and safety.

Safety Observation

The engine of any Behavioural safety program is two-way communication. Developing the technique of holding 1:1 communication in a non-confrontation way is a skill that takes training, coaching and lots of feedback of the results.

Aim for a hit rate of 4-5 safety observations per person employed per year. This will give you the critical mass.

Do nothing else for 9 month. Yes, you read that right. Don’t underestimate the change the leadership team is undergoing. Get the marketing team on board and sell the sizzle and the highlights. You want to reach a state where the employee thinks the boss has had a head transplant, i.e. they recognise the change.

Employee Engagement

Start undertaking workshops for the employees using a variation of the leadership workshop, but focus on preventing your own injury. This is very much team specific and risk-based. Develop the concepts of safe behaviours and key safe behaviours. For less routine task, use a dynamic safety assessment and STOP & THINK techniques.


Well now we’ve started, how to we make the lessons learned on the Behavioural Based Safety Programme stick. That’s the million-dollar question!