A New Perspective
Behavior based safety (BBS) is one of the most important yet often debated approaches to safety improvement in the last 35 years. Some companies swear by it, while others think it is time to move on. There are legitimate reasons for both views. Our Chairman, Tom Krause, was one of the originators of BBS, so we have a unique perspective that may be different from many. It may well be time to move on. Not because there is anything unsound about the core principles of the original concepts of BBS as put forward since the 80’s, but because the world has changed – there are better ways to think about it today than there were 35 years ago. On this page you’ll find a variety of resources that discuss why BBS should evolve, and explore what that future might look like.
It’s Time to Rethink BBS
The core problem is that leaders are attracted to the idea that all they have to do is get the ‘behavioral factor’ under control and they can stop worrying about it. This is a very seductive idea, but it is harmful. On the other extreme, there are those who are afraid to say the word ’behavior”, for fear of sounding like they blame the worker. Both extremes are partially correct but neither move us forward.
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BBS Should Evolve into a New Species
It’s easy to identify 5 reasons that BBS is either terrific or terrible. But neither tells the whole story. The truth is that BBS is a mixed bag. Understanding what is in the bag is crucial to guiding the natural evolution of BBS to its next form. The reality is that the best methods develop over time, and our job as safety leaders is to guide that development.
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Chapter 6: The Role of Behavior in Organizational Safety
The role of behavior in organizational safety Incidents are caused by a network of factors including design, safety systems, leadership, culture, and behavior. The role of behavior in incident causation is important, but it is only one piece, and usually a small one at that. Focusing on behavior as if it is the whole story is a serious mistake. It can alienate employees, drive accurate data underground, and leave other risk factors unchecked. For all these reasons, understanding the role of behavior is essential to good safety leadership.
What’s Next? The Role of Cognitive Bias in Safety
While the new paradigm in behavior-based safety is something that we are still in the process of discovering and defining, we know that one element will have a significant impact on the future of safety. There is a growing body of knowledge which shows that human thinking tends to be flawed, in predictable ways, and a concept called “cognitive bias” can cause even good leaders to make poor safety decisions. In the following video series, Dr. Tom Krause explains the role that cognitive bias plays in safety.
Part 1: Considering the Baseline
A compelling example of how cognitive bias prevents us from considering “baseline” data in relationship to safety decisions.
Part 2: The Influence of Cognitive Bias
Exploring the role that cognitive bias plays in the decision-making process.
Part 3: A Safety Example
An example from the safety field of how cognitive bias affects our ability to make good decisions.