Behavioural Observations

Go beyond correcting behaviour and start learning with Learning From Normal Work – a flexible, research-backed framework enabling you to uncover what’s behind non-compliance.

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Don’t throw away your observation system – re-imagine it

Companies that use behavioural observation frequently encounter the following challenges:

  • It became a box-ticking exercise.
  • Observations are often of low quality.
  • The data generated is not actionable.
  • The effort does not help to reduce risk.
  • The program does not add significant value.

Why is This?

  • Popular Belief
  • $behaviour is a cause of accidents.
  • HoP / Safety 2
  • $behavior is a result of adapting to situational constraints

    Many companies struggled to sustain the effort and are now looking to find ways to update or repurpose this process.

    The systems they have in place are no longer yielding new insights or significant improvements, meaning there’s a clear need for a new approach that moves beyond just observing behaviours to uncovering the underlying causes of workplace risks.

    New Understanding of Behaviour

    Unsafe behaviours often result from:
    • Adaptations to operational constraints.
    • Organizational factors which create constraints.
    • Operational dilemmas.
    • A difference between how work is imagined and how it is actually done.
    • Workers’ understanding given their specific situation, resources, and circumstances.
    • $Not visible to leaders
    • $Not visible to leaders
    • $Not visible to leaders
    • $Not visible to leaders
    • $Not visible to leaders


    • Ask questions that bring issues to light.
    • Energize teams about the solutions they suggest.
    • Make leadership visits more engaging and productive.

    Our approach makes INVISIBLE → VISIBLE

    We Help To

    • Ask questions that bring issues to light.
    • Energize teams about the solutions they suggest.
    • Make leadership visits more engaging and productive.

    Our approach makes INVISIBLE → VISIBLE

    Through our RE-IMAGINE process of behavioural observation, we

    • Shed light on factors that were there, but not visible to leaders.
    • Learn about unsafe behaviours that happened in the recent past but are not happening at the time of the conversation.
    • Enable leaders to address underlying problems.

    Move Away From

    • Observing the workers and giving feedback on what’s correct and what needs to be corrected.


    • Observe the worker and show empathy,
      e.g. “Hey, I noticed you struggled in this…” or “I noticed X changed”.
    • Go beyond compliance. Learn from both safe and unsafe behaviours.
    • Ask curious questions about the work and the challenges,
      e.g. “What makes this difficult? (for safe behaviour)”
      or “what is the advantage of doing this? (for unsafe behaviour)”.
    • Ask questions about the potential solutions:
      e.g. “What do you need to make this work?”
      or “If you were the site manager, how would you improve this?”.
    • Resolve the challenges, remove the bottle necks and improve efficiency based on the workers’ suggestions.

    Reimagine Behavioural Observations Explained

    Watch our video to gain a deeper understanding of how we can help elevate your behavioural safety efforts.

    Our Approach

    Our Reimagine Behavioural Observations programme is a research-backed, transformative approach that:

    • Shifts the focus from correcting behaviours to understanding:
    • How constraints lead to adaptations
    • Potential advantages of unsafe acts.
    • Operational dilemmas.
    • Ability to proactively address the constraints.
    • The gap between Work-as-Imagined and Work-as-Done.
    • Upgrades every aspect of your behavioural observation program.
    • Goes beyond safety and helps with quality, and operational efficiency as well.

      Grounded in the latest safety science, Learning From Normal Work enables you to:

      • Proactively pinpoint challenges that lead to errors or non-compliance.
      • Access a suite of effective new tools, such as learning conversations or walk-through-talk-through.
      • Refine your training, data collection templates, or KPIs to be more insightful than ever.

      Key Features

      • Repurpose What You Already Have: Easily integrate proactive learning with your current observation process, making it more effective than ever.
      • Proactive Learning: Shift from reactive audits to proactive learning.
      • More Tools: Incorporate learning conversations, walk-through-talk-throughs, and learning teams.
      • Leadership Support: Enable leaders to lead with curiosity while driving positive accountability.

      Enhanced Data Collection and Training

      Upgrade your data collection templates, training content, and KPIs to make insights more actionable.

      • Process.
      • Templates.
      • Training (observers, leaders, trainers).
      • Coaching.
      • Data Analysis.
      • KPI.

      Once Implemented,
      You’ll Experience

      • A noticeable reduction in risk.
      • Greater learnings from your observations data.
      • An enhanced capability to prevent accidents - even in the most regulated industries.

      In Marcin’s Words – The Origins of the Reimagined Behavioural Observations

      “I am technically trained in behavioural science and have firsthand experience of managing a behavioural observation program on a large industrial site, so I know both the pros and cons of such an approach.

      While the behaviour of front-line workers play an important role in safety, our understanding of accident causation is evolving.

      Scientifically correct application of behavioural science is difficult and it’s difficult to sustain.

      Therefore, we needed a solution that would be both:

      • Aligned with the modern understanding of safety.
      • Easy to apply and sustain.

      When I started showing how Learning from Normal Work could help, many companies came to me asking specifically to use it to reimagine their existing behavioral observations program.

      So we did, and developed a comprehensive, and scalable approach. ”

      How It Works

      • Explore if it is for you. Arrange a call to go through the tools/examples and answer your questions.
      • Align stakeholders about Learning from Normal Work and potential value of integrating it with the behavioural observations program.
      • Co-design the new process and update components such as:
      • Process
      • Training
      • Templates
      • Data Analysis
      • KPIs
      • Stakeholder sign-off and support: Ensuring the necessary team members are aligned to ensure successful deployment.
      • Pilot roll out.
      • Scalable deployment plan.
      • Ongoing support: Expert guidance throughout.


      Upon completion, you’ll receive a refreshed process that is:

      • Prioritizing Learning from Normal Work.
      • Helping workers to open up about error or non-compliances.
      • Still able to capture unsafe behaviours but now you will learn from them, instead of just correcting them

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      Will we need to completely overhaul our behavioural system?

      While learning teams grew in popularity, there are a range of tools that fit different situations, from quick and simple, to more structured. With our expertise across multiple disciplines and frontline experience implementing HoP, Safety II and Human Factors, we have been able to pre-select all of the most useful components of each approach and package them in the Pathway, saving you significant time and effort in your HoP efforts.

      Do we have to implement the redesign across our entire organization?

      “We have designed our approach to be both flexible and scalable. This means we can assist one team, one site, or deploy the program globally. We support both site-level and central teams, ensuring we can tailor implementation to be as practical and simple as your situation requires.”