Behaviour Based Safety

Behaviour-Based Safety

Many will have you believe around 90% or more of accidents are caused by human behaviour. I have written elsewhere questioning this assertion, even if it were true it is unhelpful.

My view is that there are a number of proponents of B.B.S. who make outlandish claims about the success of the technique without rigorous research studies to back up their assertions. Some of the arguments for the technique get emotive.

I was associated with 4 B.B.S. implementations that ended up being fizzers. With the first one the process failed because one of the things the workers were asked to do was observe and report on their mates behaviours. Australians do not “dob” in their mates and the process just did not work.

The other 3 implementations were done in the same department at 3 different sites in the one company and for 6 months or so worked very well and a lot was achieved. At all 3 sites after 6 months or so the process was abandoned because both workers and management thought it was too much like hard work and there was not sufficient return for the effort.

My view is that you have to have good safety systems and engineering controls in place before you consider introducing B.B.S.

There are some safety professionals whose opinion I respect highly who tell me they have had good success with Dupont B.B.S. systems.


I would welcome feedback from people who have had success with BBS

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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