Attaching one presentation on BBS...
Awaiting comments...
@ Hansa Vyas : The game was good one... Be honest, the solution for 3rd and 4 not come in my mind yaar... Also the ppt regarding the BBS was also great ... Transactional Analysis is one of the key to impliment BBS... Its described in the slide which deals with Child, Parent & Adult ego states of humans...
With regards,
Dipil Kumar V

From India

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in my view, accident is unpredictable thing which we cant estimate before. whereas incident means a thing which affects bad or good on our lives.
From India, Delhi
Dear Friends,

Difference between Accident and Incident.

For years safety professionals had been debating on this. I am joining with Bob Breslin, Director, OSHA Compliance & Education in the matter.

What Matters Is Not the Words but How We Communicate Them.

The recent spirited debate over Accident vs. Incident has been educational, enlightening, amusing and entertaining. It also serves to illustrate the many differences among members of the same profession. But for me, it also illustrates how easily we get caught up in, or focus on, semantics and definitions and totally forget the key, which is effective communications! To me, neither term is effective on its own as demonstrated by this discussion.

I am a realist and as a trainer and safety consultant for more than 43 years, I have had ample time to make mistakes and learn from them. Words and terms used among safety professionals should convey specific information as clearly as possible based on a person’s perception of the word rather than the text book definition. It is of little or no consequence what the book definition of a word is. What is important is the idea or image the word conveys; what the actual understanding and interpretation is to the person receiving and processing the language.

With this understanding of communication I would like to submit my points on this debate. Personally I use both terms to clearly identify what type of situation exists as communications in any situation using either of these two terms is important! I have never heard incident OR accident used in a casual conversation regarding safety! Both terms are normally used to convey a problem! Here are my feelings on the proper use of these powerful words:

Accident - Used to convey a situation in which there has been an injury involving a human. Reserving Accident to denote injuries helps save time! If I hear "Johnny has been involved in an accident" the word Accident triggers an immediate response plan involving first aid members, first aid equipment and immediate activation of the accident response team. This term supersedes the normal delay involved in evaluating the situation to determine what actually happened.

Incident - Used to convey damage to property. No threat to human life exists. Although the same elements of response mentioned above may still be required, there is not a threat to human life. Evaluation is normally my first response to an incident. I know immediately that although it may be serious and costly, anything involved in an incident is replaceable or manageable and does not involve Loss-of-Life.

As professionals, every word we use conveys a meaning to the person receiving the information. Whether they receive the correct meaning is up to us. In addition to the words already discussed, additional words also need to convey specific information. If their is an incident involving a chemical spill, the word SPILL should be used rather than trying to spare the meaning of Accident OR Incident. We do not have incidents involving fire, we have FIRE!

I would encourage everyone (myself included) to always consider not just the meaning of a word but their perception! A Rose by any other name may indeed still be a Rose, but you are going to spend a great deal of energy explaining to me why you refer to it as a visual and olfactory stimulation device! In an emergency the proper use and understanding of language can mean the difference between life and death. Choose your words carefully!

With due respect to Bob Breslin, I am closing this discussion here.

Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam

@ Kesava Pillai
Thanks for a great defintion and make the concept itself clear... It's really importanat "Use of right word at right time"...
So whats the next topic you would like to bring for discussion?
With regards,
Dipil Kumar V

From India
Dear Friends,

I am going to the fundamentals of accident prevention. What I teach for aspiring safety professionals is brought out here. It is the lesson from Dan Peterson which I learned during seventies and still guides me through. This theory is yet to be proved wrong.

Kindly do not mix BBS, unsafe actions & unsafe conditions and safety management systems. They are to be dealt with seperately.


It is the simplest case for understanding the futility of going behind unsafe actions in accident prevention.

The unsafe action was- using a defective ladder.

Action recommended to prevent recurrence: Advise the worker not to use any unsafe or defective ladder

Unsafe condition was: ladder with a damaged rung.

Action recommended to prevent recurrence: Remove the ladder for repair or scrap it.

For a normal safety department this is quite satisfactory. Heinrich also would have been happy with this type of reports. Unfortunately here we are treating only for the symptoms. The real or root cause is something else. Treatment is required for the root cause and not for the symptoms.

Let us ask a few questions :

1. When this ladder developed defects?

2. Was it reported to the supervisor in time?

3. Why the supervisor did not take immediate action to scrap it or get it repaired timely ?

4. Why it was left where it was easily available for the worker ?

5. Why it was not found during normal inspection and get it removed ?

6. Who is responsible for inspection of ladders ?

7. Why house keeping is not an issue here ?

8. Was the employee orientated ?

9. Was the employee trained not to use defective equipment?

10. Was the employee reminded ?

11. Didn’t the employee know that the defective ladder should not be used ?

12. Was there no supervision for the job?

13. Did the supervisor check the ladder before starting the job?

14. If there was a supervisor why did he allow its use ?

15. Who is responsible for safety ?

16. Is someone accountable for accidents ?

There are hundreds of questions to be answered. Every answer will lead to the same centre point -accountability for safety. It seems that unlike any other core function which will affect the goal of the organization safety is some thing else - a decoration.

An unsafe act, an unsafe condition and an accident are all symptoms of some thing wrong in the management system.

We can predict that certain sets of circumstances will produce severe injuries. These circumstances can be identified and corrected.

Safety should be managed like any other function. Management should direct their safety effort by setting achievable goals and by planning, organizing and controlling to achieve them.

The key to line safety performance is management procedures that fix accountability. The function of safety is to locate and define the operational errors that allow accidents to occur.

This function can be carried out in two ways :-

1. By asking why accidents happen – searching for root causes.

2. By asking whether certain known effective controls are being utilized

Make every one accountable for safety. Give them necessary authority. Entrust them with responsibilities. Have Accountability, Authority and responsibility for safety too like any other function of the organization. Then only accidents can be prevented. A system to prevent accidents. Every accident is the failure of the system if any or non existance.

I an closing the discussion here.

Regards to all,

Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam

@ Kesav Pillai
First of all thanks for a great reply and make the concept clear to understand... Really once when people get accountability, then only the things come in line... Safety is a line management responsibility, not the job of only safety professionals...
Then can we countinue the discussion on BBS here?
According to you what all are the best proven tools for Accident Prevention & Safety Management System?
With regards,
Dipil Kumar V

From India
Dear All,
Pls. find the definitions from my end for the incident & accident -
Incident - An event that gives rise to an accident or that has the potential to lead an accident which includes near misses & near hits
Accident - an undesired event, giving rise to death, ill - health, injury, damage or loss to the property or other loss...
Hope this is clear. Incase of any doubts, pls. post further...
Kesava - Ur presentations were good & useful.
Thanks & regards,

From India, Delhi
Dear Friends,


I was preparing a presentation for the school. It is on safety awareness program for students. I took the initiative from our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words. Professionals should spend some time to teach in schools in the neighborhood.

Though I had been teaching safety engineering, conducting safety and related training courses internationally for many years, this is the first time that I was approached by a school principal to help them with a safety program.

When I started with the title I smelt the difficulty in it. With the students aged between 12 and 16; how I will teach them? Where I will start? What known theories I will highlight? What kind of examples I will use? What exercises will suffice? .. and so on..!

After sometime it flashed. The most suitable approach for students will be BBS.

This is the age of developing personality. There are many definitions for personality. The one most suited one for me here is “what a person will do in a given situation”. It is the reflection of his personality.

I completed the presentation with about 250 slides.

Topics included are housekeeping, electricity/lightening, chemicals, road safety, fire protection, emergency etc. More than words I used photos and pictures to gain their attention.

By end of the exercise I realized why BBS is not working in industries universally. Why it cannot sustain?

It is simple. Personality is the unique pattern of traits. Traits are developed and it is the development of personality. As students their personality is just developing. Whereas with workers it is already developed. Every individual has inherent traits that are developed and it is not easy to modify at industry level. If it is easy to modify just consider the habit of smoking and drinking. Can we ever influence their habits?

BBS people can claim success but please do not fall for it. Its time will pass. BBS is only a theory not effectively implemented and it cannot be implemented. Tall claims are false.


Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam

Dear Sir
Great to know about your new challenging assignment of teaching students...
Your comments on whether we have any command on the habits of smoking/drinking, I would say yes... There are instances in which people do change...
Now BBS, it alone cannot give any value to any organization... That I believe... But if you have a whole set up compliance in place which supported by best management practices, then if we introduces BBS to such a situation, it can add value...
This is very simple process to understand, but very difficult to implement and sustain.... Unconditional dedication from the top management is required for the same...
As these days I am getting more opportunity to train people on BBS and leaders on Safety Leadership, I am learning more after every training... This so far experienced to me as a process which can bring value to your system, if given priority...

From India

Safety is always behavior based. There is no doubt about it. Because of this there cannot be any identity for behavior based safety as such.

Behavior is the reflection of personality. Definition of personality is ‘that quality or condition of being a person; the totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, peculiar to a specific person; the pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person; and distinctive qualities of a person, especially those distinguishing personal characteristics that makes an individual socially appealing”.

How we can assess the personality of an individual? It is only by looking at his behavior.

BBS is expressed by Heinrich way back in 1931. Domino theory is not just a theory. It is the foundation on which every other expert tried to build his theory.

The first item on domino theory is ancestry/social conditions. What is this? Ancestry gives the traits in individual and his social conditions help to develop or suppress the traits. If only good traits are developed and bad ones are suppressed one will have a socially acceptable personality. It is not happening universally and hence personality of individuals differs. Only because of this the next item “fault of persons” comes to picture.

If we have employees of only acceptable personality no one will be faulty and there will not be any accident. Because personality of everyone is different few will continue to commit faults.

We cannot prevent accidents by modifying personality of all the employees. That clearly establishes –“based on behavior accident prevention is just a dream”.

Selection of workers in industry is not based on stringent physical, mental and educational standards which are part of personality with which we can expect them to behave in a certain fashion. Industry is different from armed forces.

In armed forces recruitment is based on certain standards with which they can expect a minimum standard and uniformity in behavior. Even then armed forces maintain certain standards in behavior only because of fear of stringent disciplinary measures.

When well-disciplined armed forces continue to have accidents; can the industry succeed in accident prevention through BBS? The answer is a big NO.


Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam

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