As organisations strive to improve their health and safety record, many are turning to the concept of behaviour-based safety as a way of achieving this goal. This approach recognizes that the root cause of accidents and incidents is often related to human behaviour, rather than faulty equipment or procedures. However, the transition from a traditional, rule-based approach (often referred to as Safety 1) to a behaviour-based approach (Safety 2) can be challenging.
In this blog, I will discuss the steps that organizations can take to implement a behaviour-based safety process, taking into consideration the three key components of behaviour-based safety: motivation, opportunity, and capability.
The first step in implementing a behaviour-based safety process is to establish a clear understanding of the motivations, opportunities, and capabilities of the workforce. This can be achieved through a process of communication and dialogue, in which workers are invited to share their perspectives on safety, to identify factors that influence their behaviour, and to suggest ways in which safety can be improved. This process will provide valuable insights into the attitudes, beliefs, and motivations that drive workers’ behaviour, and will help to identify the physical and organizational conditions that enable or prevent safe behaviour.
Once the motivations, opportunities, and capabilities of the workforce have been understood, the next step is to develop an action plan to address them. This will typically involve the implementation of targeted interventions to improve motivation, such as recognition and reward programs, training and development programs, and effective communication and consultation processes. It will also involve the identification of opportunities to improve the physical and organizational environment, such as the provision of personal protective equipment, the redesign of tasks and procedures, and the introduction of safety-critical systems. Finally, it will involve the development of programs to improve workers’ capability, such as training, competency assessment, and continuous professional development.
Another key aspect of the behaviour-based safety process is the development of positive relationships between management and workers. A positive working environment fosters trust and collaboration, which in turn supports the development of a culture of safety. This can be achieved through the active involvement of workers in the decision-making process, the provision of regular opportunities for feedback and consultation, and the promotion of open and transparent communication.
The implementation of a behaviour-based safety process is a complex and multifaceted undertaking that requires a focus on motivation, opportunity, and capability. By engaging in a process of communication and collaboration, organizations can build a culture of safety that is based on trust, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to safety. This will enable the transition from Safety 1 to Safety 2, and will lay the foundation for a more effective, proactive, and sustainable approach to health and safety.