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Behavioral Safety

Introduction to BBS:​

Behavior Based Safety (BBS) looks into what people do, identifies the at-risk behaviors, analyzes why they do it and then comes up with a plan to help change the behavior and reduce the chances of people getting hurt.

When studying the safety statistics of the last few years it becomes obvious that the causation of a lot of the incidents come down to human behavior. Despite training, instruction and information provided, our staff are still putting themselves in danger and injuring themselves.

To understand why this happens and come up with recommendations to improve on this, PDO engaged with Dr Dominic Cooper of “Be Safe Management Systems” and rolled out a BBS Safety Culture Survey.


A world-class safety culture requires people to adopt a set of habits and ways of thinking that are often difficult and unnatural, for example –

  • Reporting one's own mistakes,
  • Stopping a job halfway through,
  • Refraining from taking an obvious shortcut, etc.

Organisations cannot achieve exceptional performance without a deep-rooted set of beliefs, practices and behaviours that guide people's decisions and actions at all times, especially in the absence of supervision.

What is culture?

The beliefs, customs, behaviours and symbols characteristic of a particular nation or organisation, or a social, ethnic, religious or other group.

What is safety culture?
  • A pattern of basic assumptions within a group which directs safe / at-risk behaviour and are held as norms by the group.
  • These norms prescribe to the members of the group the accepted way to think, feel, and act, developing over time as the group learns to cope with work demands and workplace issues.
BBS Survey: Background

An important facet of Safety Culture is the perceptions and beliefs’ concerning the importance safety is accorded in the workplace. Based on two decades of empirical research and extensive field trials in the workplace, eleven core topics of Safety Culture was used to assess the safety culture of PDO. These topics reflect three core Safety Culture elements that mirror current Safety Culture models: Person, Process and Action.

  • The ‘Person Element’ comprises Senior Managers, Line-Managers, Supervisors safety leadership and Non-Supervisory personnel’s commitment to safety.
  • The ‘Process Element’ comprises [1] Communications; [2] Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s); [3] Emergency Preparedness; [4] Safety Training, and [5] Job‐related Risks.
  • The ‘Action Element’ comprises [1] Personnel’s on‐the‐job approach to safety; and [2] Housekeeping.

The survey also contained three sections asking personnel to indicate the risk levels associated with particular workplace hazards, their involvement in formal safety activities and the status of current welfare arrangements. Finally, respondents are invited to air their own views on safety, via four open ended questions.

Distribution and Sample Size

The survey was checked and adapted for terminology by PDO EHS & Operations staff who subsequently invited personnel from PDO facilities and its sub‐contractors to complete the survey online, over an Eight Week period.

From 479 respondents, a total of 468 useable responses were received, from a potential population sample of around 2000, providing a 23.4% return rate. With this number of responses, the survey has a +/4% margin of error at the 95% level of Confidence.

Most respondents were Associates (227), with 150 Supervisors, 44 Department Heads and 10 Senior Managers. Thirty Seven respondents did not indicate which Employment Category they belonged too.

Score Calculation and Analytic Methods

A mean average score was calculated for each Element and individual Safety Culture topic. These were subsequently converted to Percentage scores and placed on a Safety Culture Maturity continuum from ‘Beginning to Excelling’. Scores between 0-30% are considered ‘Beginning’; Scores between 31-60% are considered ‘Developing’; Scores between 61-80% are considered ‘Performing’; Scores between 81-90% are considered ‘High Performing’; Scores between 91-100% are considered ‘Excelling’.

WE scored 78.85% and PSM scored 80.9%.

The responses were examined in relation to the overall ratings of all respondents, by Person, Process, and Action elements, and by each individual Safety Culture topic. ​​​​