Behavioural safety processes have long been shown to improve occupational safety performance by reducing incidents and injury rates. It is based on a continuous observation and feedback loop that maintains constant attention on safety performance that can be applied to a wide variety of settings. B-Safe® is a Behavioural Safety process that sets out to create a ‘safety partnership’ between management and employees to improve safety performance. With its emphasis on injury causing behaviours identified from incident reports, associated outcomes include reduced incident rates, better communications, and cost-savings from reduced operating costs.

Chemical Company Case Study

A chemical company with a workforce of 540 people working a continuous three-shift system had a robust safety management system in place (e.g. safety committees, a hazard spotting program, addressing safety design issues via capital expenditure), and showed an average 10% incident reduction rate annually. Satisfied they were on their way to great safety performance, a sudden upturn in the number and severity of injuries gave them reason for concern. Upon investigation, site personnel shared with management that many of the incidents were related to unsafe behaviour. Site leadership had heard of Behavioural Safety and contacted BSMS for assistance.

Assessment Survey

The project began with a safety culture maturity assessment to identify strengths and areas of opportunity. This revealed that many management system issues were causing problems, which led people to behave unsafely in an effort to overcome them. In order to address these, management developed corrective action plans, and rapidly followed through on them. To prevent further issues from arising in the future, they also implemented a work-group based BBS approach.

Process Development

A series of two-hour briefings were held with all the managers on site to obtain their support and buy-in for the process. These spelt out the philosophy of the approach, as well as details of how the process would be rolled-out. Managers were also asked to help recruit an observer from each shift and work area.

Draft checklists containing specific safe behaviours from an analysis of the previous two years incident records were developed for 14 departments. These were approved by the workforce, prior to 48 volunteers attending an observer training courses. During this training, the checklists were trialled in the workplace and refined as necessary. Over the next two weeks, the trainees practiced their observations until they were familiar with the checklists. At the end of this period, large size copies of the checklists were posted on noticeboards in each of the departments so everyone was aware of the safety behaviours being monitored.

The observers then monitored their colleagues on the plant for 10-20 minutes a day for a couple of weeks, to establish a baseline of how safely people were actually working. This baseline average was then used by each of the shift teams to set their own safety improvement target. Observers continued to monitor the workgroups daily safety behaviour, gave verbal feedback (positive and negative) when observing people, and presented tabulated data at weekly feedback meetings. Any necessary corrective actions were reported to, and followed-up by, the project team who reported back to the workgroups on progress. This cycle of checklist development, observer training, and setting new targets with regular feedback was repeated every 20 weeks or so.


During the first year, the minor injury rate tumbled dramatically by 55% to 0.35, while Lost-time injuries reduced by a dramatic 82% to 0.01 per 200,000 hours worked. No lost-time accidents were recorded during or after the second year, while minor injuries showed a consistent decline.


As a result of their hard work and continued use of the Behavioural safety process, the site scooped the British Safety Councils highly prestigious 5-Star award.

If you want to achieve improvements in your safety performance, contact BSMS:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here