Company leaders have tried numerous initiatives to improve workplace safety. Behavior-based safety, in particular, has been widely implemented to help improve safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs). BBS involves the use of behavioral checklists to note both safe and risky behaviors to provide employees immediate safety feedback and track behavioral trends for future improvements. The logic for this approach is sound since the vast majority of injuries are due, in part, to risky behaviors. The probability of serious incidents decreases as risky actions, and system flaws contributing to them, are minimized.
Unfortunately, traditional BBS programs often don’t get companies past plateaus in performance once early improvements have been made. This is largely due to BBS programs which are poorly or incompletely implemented including failing to fully consider environmental contingencies (e.g., excessive production pressure, insufficient personnel, confusing procedures) which influence behavior. This may lead leaders to incorrectly target employee “behavior” as a root cause instead of taking a broader systems approach. Also, most BBS programs fail to sufficiently account for employees’ beliefs/attitudes which ultimately influence their on-the-job behaviors. Attitudes are antecedents to behavior (although behavior can also influence attitudes) and need to be addressed when tackling the ultimate objective of improving safety behaviors to prevent incidents. Attitudes drive our Behaviors which ultimately impact our Results.