What Exactly Is Behavior-Based Safety?

What Exactly Is Behavior-Based Safety?

How Does It Differ From Safety-Related Behaviors?

It’s time to set the record straight… what exactly is the difference between behavior-based safety and work-related personality assessments that can include safety-related behaviors? These two things are often lumped together in the same category, yet they are fundamentally different.

What’s The Difference?

Behavior-based safety focuses attention and actions on daily safety behavior, and it’s a partnership between everyone in the organization, from management to hourly employees. It involves observation and scientific analysis of behavior, followed by research-supported intervention to improve that behavior with a goal of creating a safer workplace.

Many believe that this process is based on the theory that worker behavior is the cause of most workplace accidents, putting the onus on the worker to change their behavior for a safer workplace.

Behavior Based Safety is Different

What Is a Behavior Assessment?

A behavior assessment, or more specifically, a personality risk assessment, helps employers evaluate potential or current employees to determine their work style and predict safety-related behaviors such as impulsiveness (learn more about how employee risk assessments help manage impulsive employees). The information collected during one of these assessments can aid in making a number of decisions, from choosing job assignments that best fit that employee’s work style to informing onboarding, orientation and training decisions.

These assessments can be used to improve workplace safety in two different ways:

  1. To prevent the wrong people from ending up in the wrong roles and potentially creating safety issues.
  2. To help coach and train employees in building self-awareness of their safety risk factors based on their specific personality type in order to perform better and safer on the job.

However, these personality assessments are not strictly safety-based and they also do not assume that employee behavior is the sole cause of workplace incidents.

Some Similarities, One Big Difference

Both behavior-based safety programs and personality risk assessments are backed by strong theories, empirical evidence, and involve evaluating why employees act a certain way with a goal of changing undesirable behaviors. They can both be useful for improving conditions in a work environment, but as you can see, they should not be lumped together as the same kind of solution – one focuses strictly on the role employee behaviors play in safety prevention while the other focuses on building self-awareness of the natural “default” personality traits that could lead to high risk behaviors.