Behavioural safety is fast becoming a big thing in the Health and Safety industry, but I have my concerns. Behavioural safety, put simply, focuses upon the decision that has been made by either an individual or group that has been made because of their culture, environment, how easy it is even because of the lack of discipline.
Now this research into BS (Behavioural Safety) is good to do, however this research in my opinion is flawed if the companies original Safety management System is not working sufficiently. For instance, if a company spent a month researching BS but cannot fulfil the basic requirements of Risk Assessment, consulting with the work force, training current staff or conducting safety committees than BS research would be waste of time. The idea of BS is that a company has done as much as it can in the way of Managing Health and Safety but trying to do more.
Only large companies can really collect data of any significance that would benefit a Safety Management System and I fear that a lot of smaller contractors are being pushed into BS. The smaller contractor does not have the management structure nor the resources to be able to fulfil this research and that is also taking into consideration that their Safety Management System is fluent.
If you are considering looking into Behavioural Safety, please first ensure your Safety Management System is working well before starting to gather BS data, the answer you will get back will be better management of health and safety every time!
(Harry Collins – 3 Aug 2011)