Why Is Behavioural Safety and Total Worker Health So Important?

Organisations are now choosing to go beyond compliance, from employing behaviour-based safety methods to implementation of holistic approaches to worker well-being.

Here at Compliant FM, we’ve started researching total worker health and how organisations can keep their employees as safe as possible in the workplace and improve employee job satisfaction.

Total Worker Health® is defined as “policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness-prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.”

Why Is Behavioural Safety and Total Worker Health So Important?

Each year more than 5,000 people lose their lives in the EU, as a result of workplace incidents. In the construction sector incidents and fatalities continue to happen and working at height is a key area of focus when it comes to safety.

“HSE recognises the importance that behavioural safety can play in helping avoid accidents and ill-health at work…. Up to 80% of accidents are often attributed to human error.‟

Behavioural Safety Approaches Recommended From HSE:

· Define ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ behaviour

· All involve observation of behaviour in the workplace

· By managers and/or peers

· With/without targets

· Provide feedback

· Reinforce safe behaviour

· ‘re-educate’ unsafe behaviour

· Feedback ranges from on-the-spot specific feedback and discussion, to impersonalised general data

If you are considering these Behavioural Safety approaches, there are some Do’s and Don’t’s:


· Be sure that it is really what you need right now

· Find out (from employees) whether signals they get from management about safety are the first issue to address

· Network with others – not only those suggested by the consultants

· Learn what you can from alternative techniques available

· Make sure the system is your own, in style, language, presentation etc.

· Pilot, and only roll-out when confident of success

· Use it as a dialogue – and that means LISTEN to your employees!

· Spend considerable effort to get good, strong facilitators who understand safety

· Make sure that participants focus on root causes of behaviours


· Underestimate the effort and planning required

· Be over-optimistic

· Get carried away and lose focus on other aspects of safety

· Believe that the ‘Heinrich triangle’ works for occupational ill-health, minor personal injuries and major accidents

· Bother at all unless:

· You’re confident that you already have a strong SMS and a safe workplace

· Senior management can be made to think it was their idea all along

Getting Started With a Certification

For organisations that are serious about improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and creating better, safer working conditions, there’s ISO 45001. ISO 45001 builds on the success of earlier international standards in this area such as OHSAS 18001. Getting UKAS ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety certified displays your commitment in improving the satisfaction of your clients, your employees and anyone that trades with your company.

Get in touch today on 0333 456 5000 to find out more!

Articles for reference Behavioural Safety, Acres http://www.thinkactbesafe.co.uk/behavioural-safety.html

NIOSH Total Worker Health® Program, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/twh/default.html