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Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) fundamentals and its importance in Health and Safety

Blog 49 behaviour based safety

I recently visited a site whereby accidents and incidents, some big, some small, were frequently happening.

Finally, one happened that necessitated the hospitalization of an employee and police intervention and investigation.

The client called in Corporate OHS to ask for help from a Health and Safety Consultant to help them rectify these frequent issues. There was no pattern that we could find into the incidents, risk assessments had correctly identifed hazards and risk, the root causes of the incidents were all different.

There was however no culture of health and safety in the company and despite the Health and Safety Departments best efforts, employees were not working to keep themselves safe and human error failures kept occurring.

We then decided to discuss with them introducing a Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) programme into the company. Perhaps you have heard previously of Behaviour Based Safety ? There has for many years been much talk of its importance and effectiveness.

For someone new to health and safety though, or, someone who is perhaps not a health and safety professional but is tasked with health and safety responsibilities. BBS can sound like an advanced and daunting concept. I get that !

Similar to how we began working with this client. Lets take the fear out of it, break it down and look at the elements. What they could mean to you and your responsibilities, and how you could utilise them.


What is Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) ?

Let’s start at the beginning. What are we even talking about ?! In a nutshell, BBS looks to intervene and provide employees with effective feedback, reinforcement, and recognition. It looks to improve workplace safety conditions and employee awareness of health and safety. Develop and apply an intervention action plan to help eliminate unsafe behaviours.

It also looks to identify, observe, and reinforce positive behaviours. Helping to ensure that employees are doing their tasks safely.

Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) is a proactive approach which focuses on reducing hazards, risks, and incidents by observing the behavior of a person and determining what follows when this behavior occurs.


Who would be involved in Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) ?

Every employee ! From top management to operational employees, everyone needs to cooperate in order for a BBS initiative or programme to be successful. Leadership influence is also crucial as they must listen to their employees.

What Benefits Would a Company Derive from a Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) Programme ?

  • Better health and safety awareness
  • Leading to better health and safety preparedness
  • Higher levels of employee engagement and participation in health and safety
  • Leading to less accidents and incidents
  • Better teamwork within the company
  • Leading to increased employee communication and engagement
  • Positive safety reinforcement
  • Leading to an effective culture of health and safety


Speaking of which, what is a Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) Programme ?

A Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) programme often involves a step process. A micro programme may consist of:

  1. Identifying high concern problem behaviours
  2. Identifying root causes and indicators that lead to the problem behaviours
  3. Deciding on possible actions and solutions to control the behaviours
  4. Evaluating possible actions and shortlisting the best solutions
  5. Developing an action plan to follow
  6. Implementing the developed action plan
  7. Conducting follow ups to measure and evaluate if the changes have made any difference


Sounds Interesting, can you Tell me More on why Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) is Important ?

Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) looks to provide a long term solution for companies. Working to eliminate hazards and risks.

It looks to create a culture in which every employee values their own health and safety, and also values their fellow employees. Reducing unsafe behaviours in all areas and working to continuously improve on safety performance and KPI metrics.

One of the main fundamentals of Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) is that it places emphasis on prevention rather than merely looking at a fix and corrective actions after an event on incident has occurred. Being able to spot potential hazards prior to their becoming incidents, injuries or illnesses.


It further looks to highlight the working conditions that employees face in addition to their unsafe behaviours, both of these may be unknown to the company.

Ultimately, a well designed and implemented Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) programme should work to create a safety culture whereby employees are empowered and human errors are reduced. Avoiding consequences via proactive measures.



Corporate OHS is a UAE based Health and Safety Consultancy whose HSE Consultants offer expert resources and superior performance to give you greater results.

We specialize in creating workable, user friendly solutions aligned to your business activities, operations and budget.

Our range of health and safety consultancy services includes;

  • Long term outsourcing of health and safety staff
  • Flexible monthly support retainers giving access to HSE service without the burden of a permanent cost
  • Risk assessments
  • Hazard identification and control measure implementation
  • Gap Analysis and audits
  • HSE management system development, implementation and improvement including locally compliant systems such as Abu Dhabi OSHAD, Sharjah OSHJ and/or accredited systems such as ISO 45001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and ISO 50001
  • HSE legal compliance reviews and assistance
  • Accident investigations
  • Business continuity and crisis management
  • Long term or project based HSE outsourcing

To find out more about our services, please visit our website send an email to or call Caroline Savage on 052 566 0949


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