Is Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) Dead?

August 21 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis

I have been asked several times by recent clients if BBS is pretty well a thing of the past. The answer is threefold: for some organizations it has been dead for years; for others it is on life support; and for others it has just begun. There are two critical factors that impact the viability of a BBS process in an organization or at a site. One is the maturity of traditional safety at the time of implementing BBS and the other is the methodology of BBS that is used.

Like many safety initiatives, BBS can take you from one level of safety performance to the next. If you are not at the right level to begin with, BBS tends to fail. If you are already past the top potential level, BBS is a redundant waste of resources. The methodology is also critical. There are many approaches to BBS and most are not adaptable to your culture. If you try to make your culture fit a specific approach, you will have limited or no success. If you can make the approach fit your culture, the chances for early success and long-term sustainability are both enhanced. Existing BBS processes that are barely alive can also be revived by modifying them to fit the culture.

If you are considering whether or not starting or reviving a BBS process will help your safety performance, ask yourself what help you need and what is the best way to get 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.