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On Your Best Behavior: Behavior-Based Safety


By: Pedro Mercado, CSHO, SHEP, COSM, CLCS, CRIS, CSSGB, VP of HSE and Risk Management


July 10, 2017


Use behavior-based safety effectively

Behavior-based safety helps determine why at-risk behavior occurs on the job and the steps necessary to change at-risk behavior into safe behavior. This method uses observation and feedback to encourage and reinforce safe behavior.


Behaviors selected for observation must be:

  1. Observable (can be seen or heard)
  2. Reliable (seen the same way by two or more people)
  3. Something over which an employee has control
  4. Described in a positive way (what should be done, not what shouldn’t be done)

Behavior-based safety observations must be objective—that is, based on what you actually see a person doing, not on opinions or interpretations about a coworker’s performance.


When you give coworkers feedback about safe behavior:


When you give coworkers corrective feedback:


Set a Good Example:

Have you ever worked with someone who inspired you? A hardworking person can have a powerful influence on his or her team, especially when he or she is working with someone who is new to the job or to the company. As the co-worker of a new employee, consider yourself the most important role model during his or her first few weeks. Your attitude and your respect of policies and safety procedures could save his or her life!


Be a Safety Mentor:

You know that the workplace is full of potential hazards. At, we have stressed the importance of doing your job the safe way, and we’ve given you a wealth of knowledge about the risks of the job and ways to stay safe. When you are working around others, especially if they are new to our workplace, it is your turn to share that knowledge to protect them and yourself. It may take a while for new employees to adjust and feel like they fit in on the job. Those that have never held a job before or were employed by a firm with a weak safety program will need considerable safety instruction and leadership. While managers will attempt to train them in workplace safety as thoroughly as possible, employees will naturally look to you for advice and information. Their early impressions of the way you value safety will set the stage for their future work habits.


Lead by Example:

In this important transition time, your actions will speak louder than your words. If you are careless, you demonstrate to a new employee that safety is not important at.  If you try to impress others by wearing jewelry or loose clothing that can be hazardous on the job, you are ultimately putting new employees that are learning from and imitating you in danger.


Hazards don’t have to lead to an injury or illness:

When you’re considering a list of controls, think of the following (and in this order):


If you have any questions regarding behavior-based safety or want to learn more about how IBTX can support your safety efforts, contact Pedro Mercado at or 713.400.3404.

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