Behavioural Safety is a well-established method for reducing changing behaviour and incident rates. However, there are a variety of approaches, some of which are more effective than others. To determine the most effective design of a behavioural safety process, a review of Behavioural Safety field studies was conducted from a safety practitioner’s viewpoint. Covering a wide range of settings, including Construction and Oil & Gas, the review focused entirely on the degree of behavioural change and incident reduction resulting from different types of implementation.

To facilitate the analyses, common Behavioural Safety programme design characteristics were identified and coded. These included (i) Observation focus (individuals, workgroups or outcomes); (ii) Observation contact rate; (iii) The feedback mechanisms utilized (i.e. posted, verbal & written feedback and weekly briefings); (iv) Safety training; (v) Goal-setting; and (vi) Incentives or competition. The impact each of these characteristics exerted on injury rates and behavioural change was calculated.

The results clearly demonstrated that type of setting, the focus of observations, the frequency of observation, the number and types of feedback mechanisms used, in addition to process design considerations influence the effectiveness of behavioural safety programmes.

It is concluded Behavioural Safety programme design and its implementation will determine incident rate reduction and safety behaviour improvement.

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