Safety College

Psycho-Behavioral Safety and the Industrial Environment

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When considering the implementation and/or integration of any Psycho-Behavioral Based Safety (PBS) Program we must give careful consideration to the environment in which it is to be incorporated. You would be mistaken in believing that you can just “borrow” something that another Company has developed and transplant it into your own business. Yes, it may well work for a time. Most new things do. It’s called the “Honeymoon Effect”. This observation absolutely applies to the world of Behavioral Safety.

The first thing you need to appreciate, is that a Company can decide to implement a BBS based program within their business. Of course they can, it’s their business. Without the active and genuine participation of the operational workforce though, it will fail! Of all the approaches to Occupational Health and Safety, traditional BBS is the most exposed to this factor. Why? The answer is in one of the foundational elements of the majority of BBS Systems – the Observational Component.

SAFE T VIEWThe key tactic, for want of a better word, to ensure the success of BBS is to “develop” it with the workforce. Not “for” the workforce. That means seriously involving the “people” in the design, development, and implementation of the BBS elements. Since we are talking about “peer to peer” observations, then a blame-free culture; with trust and integrity are key pillars.

ILOHere’s the rub. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and almost all organized labour around the World opposes the implementation of BBS. Their main argument is that it simplifies accident causation to “blaming the worker”. That is a critical risk to success. Why? Because they are right! If you want to explore a union perspective with regard to BBS just click here. It is always worth remembering that in many higher risk industrial environments workforces may well be unionised. It is equally fatal to disrespect the views expressed by their industrial representation. To review my view on BBS click here.

When I am asked to cast my eye over BBS Systems that don’t appear to be working optimally, it is almost always due to the failures at the point of “integration”. What I mean by that is that you can have all these wonderful BBS “tools”, and yet when you put them into the business they don’t seem to work. That is because there has not been enough attention to upskilling in the areas of point-of-contact communications. The power of the Observational Component is really the communications between the peers at the conclusion of the observation – not the paper process itself. Of course, the “paper process” allows you to continue to build your behavioural database. That database then serves to “inform” other strategic decisions you may make in regard to the direction of safety training etc.

So what makes Transformational Safety’s approach to BBS different from almost all others.


It is our key focus on system integration.

Yes, we develop bespoke  tools for use within the business, eg., SAFE-T-START, SAFE-T-SCAN, SAFE-T-VIEW, etc. At the end of the day though a “hammer is a hammer”.  At Tranformational Safety® we make sure that our “hammers” are engineered to the unique needs of your business (via our ground-breaking safety culture and safety leadership frameworks). We then embark on an engineering process where we focus on point-of-contact integration of the PBS Tools.

It Works. Contact Transformational Safety® and we shall be happy to further explore your needs.

“Take 5, Step Backs, etc generally dont work. Workers are pretty smart. They see workplaces that treat these as $#&& covering box ticking exercises. Talk to me if you want to know how to make these systems work. They can – just ask any pilot”

David G Broadbent

Safety Psychologist, Transformational Safety

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Mike, Durban

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“I was part of a day where David Broadbent was talking about BBS. It had always been something I was uncomfortable with as a safety professional. It just didn’t feel right – but the refinery insisted that our company have a behavioral safety system. David explained his own views regarding traditional BBS and they just made sense to me. He pretty much replaced behavior with decision-making throughout all levels of the business. This is what makes it Psycho-Behavioral Safety (PBS). Finally a behavioral approach to safety that actually makes sense to me. Dankie David”.

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