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  • Writer's pictureLeverage Safety

Taking Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) to the Streets

Updated: Jul 18

Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) has come a long way over the past eight years, evolving from an intriguing concept to a widely implemented process at numerous worksites worldwide. To enhance both the efficiency and effectiveness of BBS, it's time to shift away from academic approaches and focus on the reality of the workplaces where BBS is being implemented. Here are four ways we can make BBS more street-smart and practical in the business world:

Use Better Language

The terminology associated with BBS often carries negative connotations or is simply confusing for workers. Words like "behavior" can give the impression that the process blames individuals instead of addressing broader organizational and management factors. Additionally, terms like "steering committee" may not be effective in team-oriented environments, and "culture" can be misunderstood and become a subject of mockery.

To ensure effective implementation, it's crucial to use language that is descriptive, comfortable, and widely understood by workers. Different locations may interpret words differently, so examining and modifying the terminology used in your BBS process is essential if necessary.

Get Faster Results

Like many academic theories, BBS was initially designed for long-term, idealistic change. However, organizations often expect to see results more quickly. Traditional implementations may focus on maximizing consultant days and selling training materials, resulting in lengthy time frames for change. Low-tech training techniques and data management systems are commonly used, with an emphasis on increasing employee involvement and ownership.

On the other hand, street-smart trainers and consultants can expedite the startup process and improve results. Organizations can achieve both short-term and long-term gains by involving workers in modifying existing materials rather than starting from scratch. Quick wins, which provide immediate positive outcomes, can build momentum and reinforce the effectiveness of the process.

Reduce Costs

Consulting services for BBS tend to be more expensive compared to other consulting services. However, newcomers to the marketplace have realized that they can compete with major consulting firms by offering more competitive prices. The field now comprises a mix of insurers, professors, and experts, yet consulting fees remain high.

To reduce costs, organizations can utilize high-impact training and modular implementation kits. These tools significantly decrease the employee hours required for a startup without compromising effectiveness or employee ownership. Such techniques are widely used in other organizational activities and are well-suited for BBS.

Improve Integration

Safety programs, including BBS, often function as "islands of safety" within organizations. They operate as standalone programs with limited connection to the rest of the organization, apart from shared personnel. BBS steering teams may find themselves competing with other safety initiatives for time, resources, and budget.

To address this issue, BBS needs to be integrated into the company's culture and values, becoming an integral part of "the way we do things around here." Ownership of the process is vital for meaningful change, and workers are more likely to take pride in a process that genuinely belongs to them and their company. Street-smart implementers understand the importance of true ownership and work towards integrating BBS seamlessly into the organizational framework. By adopting these street-smart approaches, organizations can propel BBS to the next level, ensuring its success in the real-world context. Let's make BBS a practical and enduring solution for improving workplace safety.

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