Advanced Topics in Behavioral Safety

Advanced Topics in BBS
Chris Goulart CSP, MS, ARM, CDT, CSHM
Director of Safety Services
RCI Safety
• Ask a LOT Of Questions
• Don’t take Copious Notes
• Be Skeptical
• – A Theoretical Approach
– The Science of BBS
– Beyond the ABC’s
– Defining How Behavioral Psychology and Cognitive
Psychology Function in BBS
– Safety Culture and Behavior
– Current and Future Research
– Self Observations
– The Observer Effect
– Psychological Factors Involving Safety
• – Practical Application
– Review recent trends in the field of Behavioral
– Selecting the Right Behaviors …Risk Assessment Vs.
– Responding to the Criticisms of BBS
– BBS in the long-term
– Discuss the Future of the Discipline
– Results – Documented, Expected, how to Get the
Most from the Process
– Talk about Events and Where to get more
1 fatality
30 Major injuries
300 Minor injuries
Unsafe Acts/Conditions
Culture (Mgmt. Driven)
3000 Incidents which did not
cause harm (ie near miss)
30 000 at-risk behaviours
The level at which Risk Taking
is supported by the workplace
Can We FINALLY put the Triangle
to Rest???
• The Research of Heinrich has ALWAYS Been
• The Recent Article by Manuele (October 2011)
casts lots of Legitimate Doubts
• The Causal Factors the Drive Injuries and
Accidents are Complex and Almost Always
Systemic in Nature
• A Behavioral Component to Safety is Necessary
and Important, but NOT a Silver Bullet
What Makes Behavior Based
Safety So Effective?
What is the Science Behind
Behavioral Safety?
• B. F. Skinner – Developed the
concept of Operant
Conditioning… Organisms are
motivated by how their behavior
OPERATES on the environment.
• Pavlov – Developed the concept
of Classical Conditioning also
known as associative learning –
Organisms are motivated
through paired stimuli.
Behavioral Safety
• Founded on the principles of Operant
• Is Generally Behavioral but has Incorporated
Elements of Cognitive Psychology as well (More
• It is known that Reinforcement is the best way to
Manage Behavior
• Positive Reinforcement has been shown to be most
effective as it Optimizes Discretionary Effort
History of Behavioral Safety
• 1920’2 – 1950’s Dr. B.F. Skinner a Harvard
Professor developed the concept of “Behaviorism”
• 1960’s Aubrey Daniels incorporate operant
conditioning into a concept he called
“performance management”
• Term Behavior Based Safety first used by Dr.
Komaki in 1978
• Behavior Based Safety Becomes a Mainstream
Safety Approach 1980’s - Present
The ABCs of Human Behavior
Beyond the ABC’s
• We know Antecedents, Behaviors, and
• But how Often do We Apply this Knowledge?
• ABC Analysis, extremely useful but rarely
• Antecedents, the forgotten part of BBS
– “Nudge” Concept
– Aligning Antecedents with Consequences
– Capitalizing on Natural vs Artificial Antecedents
Behavioral Psych Vs
Cognitive Psych
• Behavioral Psych – All that matters is the
Behavior and How the Consequences to that
Behavior Motivate or Exterminate Future
• Cognitive Psych – All that matters is
Motivation, Thoughts, and Emotion,
Behavior is Secondary
• BBS, when done the Right Way, resides
Somewhere in Between
Safety Culture
• Shared assumptions of safety in the workplace
that drive motivation and behaviors based on
values, traditions, and history
• Clearly a leading indicator and the one most
closely linked with outcome performance (The
relationship between employees’ perceptions of safety and organizational culture Michael
O’Toole) (Journal of Safety Research 2002 #33 231-243) (Also, Petersen, 2001, Krause, 2004,
Cooper, 2009, Geller et. Al 2011 Professional Safety)
• What employees do when no one is
Safety Culture
• Management Driven
• Set in motion by the founders of the
• Is very self sustaining and self reinforcing
• Not really separate from Organizational Culture
(Constituent Component)
• Influenced by both local and industry cultural
Is Safety Culture the Same thing as
Behavior… NO!!!
• A Behavioral Safety Process
can enhance numerous
aspects of the culture
• A Behavioral Safety Process is
more likely to be successful if
the Safety Culture is known
Safety Culture = Cognitive
Behavior Based Safety =
Behavioral Psychology
Observer Effect
• The behavior of the observer changes
dramatically as a result of conducting
• An excellent study by John Austin, Western
Michigan, showed that observers improve their
own behavior by 75% over a baseline
• Interestingly safety training was shown to have
no effect on performance in the same study
Austin, chapter in “The values based safety process (2nd ed.)”. New York:
Van Nostrand-Reinhold.
Hawthorne Effect
• Persons who know they are being observed
change their inherent performance to meet
the expectations of the observer
• May not be intentional
• Causes some elevation in the % safe scores
• Allows for the application of more positive
reinforcement for observed safe behavior
Self Observation and
Self Feedback
• Good research indicates this is a viable
methodology for lone workers
• They must receive outside prompts to require
them to asses their postures, behaviors, and
• Prompts must be sent several times per day
• Must involve education about what is expected
prior to the Self-Observation Process
• No research done into habituation yet (longterm exposure to the process)
“Self Monitoring Promoting Behavior Change”
Hsiang Huang, Yueng et al… Professional Safety November, 2008
Quality Observations
• Validation of the skill
and accuracy of the
• Conducted by members
of the Behavioral Safety
Steering Committee
• Should be done with
every observer at least
once a quarter
Barriers and their
Role as Antecedents…
• Barriers are obstacles that
prevent persons from
working safely
• Barriers may be physical,
procedural, or personal
• Barriers often function as
antecedents for
prompting unsafe or
undesirable behaviors
• Contact Rate
• Percentage of Positive
• Barriers Identified
• Action Items Closed
• Participation by Observers
• Quality Observation Percent
Looking Forward
• Behavioral Safety
Process Maturation
• The influence of
Behavioral Safety on
other business
• The use of Behavior to
manage other activities
Looking Forward
• Generating information on the ROI of
Behavioral Safety, including the cost to
implement and the cost of observations and
• Compared to the benefits of reduced
injuries, improved employee morale, and
enhanced productivity
• Translation of future research into
actionable protocols for Behavioral Safety
Psychological Obstacles to a
World-Class Safety System
• The Fundamental
Attribution Error
• Cognitive Dissonance
• Complacency
• Laziness
• Outcome Bias
• Local Rationality
• Fact/Value Confusion
Overconfidence Effect
Recency Effect
Rosy Retrospective
Sample Bias
Selective Perception
Status Quo Bias
Sunk Cost Effects
Wishful Thinking
Where to get more information
• Behavior Safety Now Conferece
Reno, NV October 9-11, 2013
• RCI Safety BBS Academy, Council Bluffs, IA
• The Ameristar Casino August 6 & 7, 2013
• Bringing Out the Best in People (Aubrey Daniels)
• Leading with Safety (Thomas Krause)
• Leading People-Based Safety: Enriching Your
Culture (Scott Geller)
• Values Based Safety (Terry McSween)
• Behavioral Safety: A Framework for Success