March 29 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) processes focus on the goal of accident prevention. They identify a few crucial behaviors that can highly impact that goal. Often, these behaviors are not on the radar screen of workers because they are not obvious. Another way to describe them is that they have a relatively low, but real possibility, of turning into an accident. We then direct our efforts toward these behaviors and observe whether others are doing them or not. We might discover things that make it difficult or impossible to do the behaviors and we can work on those things. As we do the behaviors more regularly, we monitor to verify they really impact accident reduction.
COVID-19 caused us to set a goal of containment of the disease. We have identified four behaviors that can have a high impact on this goal. We need to focus on handwashing, social distancing, group size and covering our coughs. These things were not all obvious and we had to discover their importance to determine our focus. We monitor ourselves and observe if others are doing these behaviors or not. We may start to discover things that make it difficult or impossible to do these things and we can begin to address them. As we all do these behaviors more regularly, we can determine if they are really making a difference in controlling the spread of the virus. We are using the principles of BBS to address a pandemic.
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.