Why Don’t Employees Like BBS Programs?

May 21, 2013 No Comments

Lately, much has been written about how employees dislike Behavior Based Safety (BBS) programs.  For those who are not familiar with BBS, it’s basically a program where workers are regularly “observed” while they are working in order to determine if they are following the prescribed safety procedures and work rules.

The three main complaints I’ve heard from employees and unions about BBS have to do with:

  • observers sneaking around and watching the employee who’s being observed from a hidden location (the worker would not be aware they were being watched)
  • observers “interfering” with the worker performing their job – such a distraction could lead to an accident
  • employees being disciplined for safety and work rule violations seen during the observation (like a game of “gotcha”)

A few years ago I set up a successful BBS observation program at a company I was safety manager at.  I wanted to obtain the employee’s and the union’s support before I kicked it off, so I met with the union before implementing the program to address the above concerns.  I promised that –

  • before any observation would be done, the employee would be told that they were going to be observed and that the observer would be in plain sight
  • the observer would not interfere with a job and would “debrief” the worker at the end of the work cycle (only exception would be if the worker was in immanent danger)
  • there would be no disciplinary action taken for any rule infractions seen during the observation

Having addressed the union’s main concerns, we proceeded with implementing our new BBS observation program.  With the complete support of the employees and union, the new BBS program got off to a great start.  Over time, the percentage of “safe” observations improved and so did our accident record!

If you are contemplating starting a BBS program at your company, you too may want to address the above employee/union BBS concerns before implementation.

Watch for a future article on the details of my simple yet effective BBS program.


Translate This Page