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Starting a Behavioural Safety Program

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!


By |July 1st, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Starting a Behavioural Safety Program

About the Author:

Experienced ‘Chartered Health and Safety Manager’ with a strong engineering background. Having a track record of success in health and safety, working with the leadership teams at a site level, multiple sites, in the UK, European and Worldwide for two very large global manufacturing organisations, embedding behavioural safety culture change programs and safety management systems. Seeking excellence to identify opportunities to promote a positive H&S culture by gaining the confidence and trust through an open, honest and solution based approach. Harnessing people, processes and financial resources to consistently add value to the organisation.