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Act safe, be safe – Behavior-Based Safety

We successfully implemented a Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) program at several sites in 2021 with the aim of improving our work behaviors and lowering the rate of accidents.

GRI 403–2, 403–5, 403–6, 403–7

After introducing BBS at the majority of our sites, we are working with the results and advancing the program to understand how we can improve our work environment and lower the rate of accidents.

Around 2/3 of accidents in business have been linked to behavioral causes such as a lack of attention, distraction, poor apprehension, a lack of awareness of risks or non-compliance with instructions. At Beckers, these behavioral aspects account for 42 percent of near misses captured in our EAA (Europe, Africa & Americas) region, about 33 percent of near misses captured in total in 2019 at our sites and 22 percent of the causes identified in accident analyses carried out in the same year.

The Behavior-Based Safety program

The BBS concept is based on planned observation of daily tasks performed by employees with the intention to increase overall safety. The idea is that safe behaviors are reinforced over time. People learn from the consequences of their actions and behaviors are reinforced depending on what consequences they had. Positive consequences increase the likelihood that the behavior will be reproduced more often in the future.

“We believe that the colleagues will benefit from the BBS program, that it will bring a significant improvement in the safety culture and help to eliminate major accident contribution factors.”

Piotr Caly | Global HS Director

The process

BBS relies on independent observers appointed to watch tasks and operations, make notes and offer suggestions to improve safety. These colleagues come from other functions and are not usually involved in the process or work they observe. They watch for around 10 minutes and make notes.

Safe behaviors are highlighted during the observation and then at the site level. The person who is observed is encouraged to reflect on their behaviors and accident potential. Together, the colleagues look for contributing factors to understand and modify risk behaviors. The observations are anonymous and are followed up with a discussion and the development of a checklist and actions. They are then sent to the EHS committee/function for revisions, after which actions are taken. The advantages of this approach are clear: there is no hierarchy, no penalties and it is anonymous.

In the BBS program, colleagues observe and highlight safe behaviors. The initiative has been a huge success throughout the company.

Implementation of the BBS

BBS is mandatory for all sites with over 40 employees, although even smaller sites implemented it voluntarily. Every employee working on the shop floor should be observed at least twice per year. Each site has an EHS Manager or person who is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the program.

Colleagues across Beckers welcomed this initiative. Employees were very supportive, and our sites in Poland, Sweden and France have vigorously used the program.

The concept is based on the ABC model

A – Activator (Background)

History: Person, place, thing or event occurring before a behavior and encouraging this behavior. The background sets the stage but does not directly control the behaviors!


B – Behavior

Anything directly measurable that a person does, including talking, acting, performing tasks, etc.


C – Consequences

Event that follows behavior. Consequences increase or reduce the likelihood of future behavior.

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