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Taking Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) to the Streets

Updated: Dec 19, 2023


Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) has significantly progressed in the past 20 years, evolving from a theoretical concept to a widely implemented safety process in various workplaces globally. However, to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness, BBS needs to shift from academic theories to practical, real-world applications. This blog outlines four key strategies to make BBS more applicable and impactful in today's business environment.


1. Utilizing Clear and Relatable Language

One of the challenges with BBS is the complex terminology that often carries negative connotations or confuses workers. Terms like "behavior" may imply individual blame, neglecting broader organizational factors. Similarly, phrases like "steering committee" and "culture" might not resonate in team-based environments.


Effective implementation of BBS requires language that is understandable and relevant to the workforce. It's important to review and adapt the BBS terminology to ensure it aligns with the understanding and culture of different workplaces.


2. Achieving Quicker Results

Originally designed for long-term change, BBS now faces the challenge of meeting organizations' expectations for quicker results. Traditional approaches often focus on extensive training and lengthy implementation, which may delay tangible outcomes.


To expedite the process, organizations can involve workers in adapting existing materials instead of building from scratch. Emphasizing quick wins can demonstrate immediate benefits, building momentum and reinforcing the value of BBS in the workplace.


3. Reducing Costs

Traditionally, consulting services for BBS have been relatively expensive. However, the market is shifting, with new entrants offering competitive pricing, challenging established consulting fees.


Organizations can reduce costs by adopting high-impact training methods and modular implementation kits. These tools can streamline the startup process, reducing the time and resources required without compromising the program's effectiveness or employee ownership.


4. Enhancing Integration with Organizational Culture

Often, safety programs like BBS operate in isolation within organizations, functioning as standalone initiatives. This separation can lead to competition for resources and reduced overall effectiveness.


Integrating BBS into the organization's culture and daily operations is crucial. The process should become a natural part of "how we do things" in the company. Achieving true ownership of the process by the workforce ensures its sustainability and effectiveness.


As BBS continues to evolve, adapting it to the realities of the workplace is essential for its success. By using clear language, aiming for quick results, reducing costs, and integrating the process into the organizational culture, BBS can become a more practical and enduring solution for workplace safety. These street-smart approaches ensure that BBS remains a relevant and effective tool for improving safety in diverse work environments.

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