Identify the Right Behaviors to Encourage - Safetip #192

Safety Tip and Best Practice
November 27, 2019

Our latest Safetip is about identifying the right behaviors to encourage in order to build a positive safety culture.

Create a Positive Safety Culture

There are many ways to reduce risks of incidents and improve safety. Obviously, there must be rules and procedures in place. But that’s not enough.

You must also foster and strengthen the safety culture in your organization through a common set of shared beliefs, values, attitudes and customs regarding workplace safety.

A safety culture is positive when employees understand the importance of safety, take personal responsibility for safety, and adopt the right behaviors.

Start by Identifying the Right Behaviors

The first step in encouraging the right behaviors is to identify them. There are many tips and best practices on how to do this. I like the guidance provided by a document from the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), and which is titled “Best Practice For Behaviour-Based Safety”.

The document is specifically about BBS and it’s not recent (from 2008), but it does provide good advice that’s still relevant today.

First, it lists sources for potential behaviors to encourage. Consult the following in your organization:

  • Learning experience reports
  • Incident investigations
  • Interviews with workers
  • First aid/injury records and details
  • Trends from incidents
  • Trends from inspections

The COAA document also says that all segments of the workforce should be involved to help identify behaviors, including experienced workers, new workers, supervisors, and management.

Second, COAA stresses that behaviors should be described as specifically as possible, and meet the following criteria as much as possible:

  • Measurable. The behavior can be measured either qualitatively or quantitatively.
  • Active. It’s something that someone has to do.
  • Reliable. The behavior is repeatable and at least two people should be able to see the behavior and measure it the same way.
  • Controllable. The worker controls the action to be performed.
  • Observable. The behavior can be observed.
  • Specific. The behavior can be described so that someone knows exactly what to do.

Be sure to communicate the right behaviors to your entire workforce, after they’re identified.

Also, check out this post for examples of behaviors to encourage. We also published a post on the pros and cons of BBS.

Our Safetips share safety tips or best practices that contribute to safety excellence. Visit Enablon Insights regularly for new Safetips!



Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

Content Thought Leader