BBS (Behavior-Based Safety) One-trick Ponies

September 08 2019
By: Terry L. Mathis

BBS doesn't work! Unions don't like BBS! If you want to make BBS work, here is the way you have to do it! BBS is old thinking. HOP is the new way! BBS can prevent minor accidents but it doesn't work for SIFs!

Have you ever heard these platitudes? Are any or all of them true? I hear these all the time and in my company's 25+ years of experience, I can tell you exceptions to all of them. The idea that BBS is a specific, one-dimensional process with no variations or alternatives is limited and inaccurate thinking. Consultants who tell you there is only one way to do BBS are trying to sell you something.

There are two major components to safety: conditions and behaviors. They interact with each other, and excellent safety involves both providing the safest possible workplace and teaching workers what is necessary on their part to complete the efforts. BBS (Behavior-Based Safety) One-trick Ponies There are almost an infinite number of ways to address the behavioral component without neglecting the conditional part, but most BBS processes fail to do that. BBS does not automatically blame the worker. It does not necessarily require peer-to-peer observations. It does not necessarily neglect the influences on behavior nor does it necessarily focus on minor accidents to the exclusion of SIFs. BBS is simply how you address half of the safety issue, and the only real limitations to that are in the minds of the people implementing it.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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