BBS Kit - Section 3: Exercises

In this section there are a number of exercises that will help you and the members make some judgements about Behaviour Based Safety Programs.

Although you could do these exercises on your own they are designed to be worked through with a group.


Employers that introduce BBS programs are trying to say we all have equal responsibilities when it comes to health and safety.  These exercises are designed for you and the members to ask yourselves about who does share the responsibilities on health and safety.

Exercise 1:  Who is Responsible?
Exercise 2:  Who makes decisions?
Exercise 3:  What sign is that?
Exercise 4:  A Health And Safety Map
Exercise 5: 
Workplace Score

Note: The checklists can also be downloaded in Word format, so that reps can adapt and modify them to suit their own workplaces.

Exercise 1: Who is Responsible?

The Aim of this exercise is to draw a picture of who is responsible for what in the workplace.

Step 1

Draw up two columns with the following headings: 'Employer' & 'Me/Workers'

Step 2 
In the relevant column fill the answers to the two questions

a. What things does the employer have final say about?
b. What things do workers have the final say about?

Step 3

Take 10  minutes for each column.

Then compare the lists.

Step 4

Take 10-15 minutes to discuss why you think the lists are different and whether that has any impact on what sort of health and safety program you should have in your workplace.

Your lists may look like this.



  • Who is employed and how (full time, part time, casual, labour hire)
  • Hours of work
  • Job description
  • Allocation of work
  • Shift arrangments
  • Amount and arrangements for overtime
  • Materials, including substances/products used
  • Type and quality of PPE
  • Plant and maintenance of plant
  • Allowances
  • Tools
  • Training - who gets trained, what in, who delivers it, when it's done
  • Consultants - who, when and what for
  • Development and implementation of policies and procedures
  • Chain of command
  • Budget
  • Workplace organisation
  • Reporting mechanisms
  • Meetings - what type, when
  • Access to information
  • Emergency evacuation procedures
  • Provision of mechanical aids
  • Design and condition of workplace

Can you think of any more?

  • What I do - how I work

But this is also affected by:

  • The time I'm given to complete the work
  • The level of training I have received
  • The state/condition of the tools/equipment I must use
  • Workload
  • Design of the workplace
  • Information on hazards/risks






Can you think of any more?

Exercise 2: Who makes decisions?

BBS programs get workers observing each other with the aim to encourage workers to make different decisions about how they work.

Step 1

In a day or week of work many decisions are made that affect health & safety. Ask the group to list all of these decisions. Your list could look like.

  • the hours of work of a workplace
  • buying the new machine to replace the broken one
  • spending  the money on the new guard
  • replacing the hazardous chemical with a safe one
  • engaging consultants for advice
  • implementing a safe system of work
  • implementing the policies and procedures
  • engaging contractors
  • hiring extra staff to share the workload
  • Fixing ventilation, lighting or floor surfaces
  • Maintenance schedules

Step 2

Beside each decision list who makes that decision or final say on each item in your list.

Exercise 3: What sign is that?

Many workplaces have a sign up listing the numbers of days since a 'Lost time Injury'.

Step 1

List the reasons why these signs are put up.

Step 2

Think of some signs which may have a different purpose. Here are some suggestions for different signs:

  1. a sign that lists how many days it took before management fixed a problem or labelling all the machines, processes or containers of chemicals with a danger sticker; or
  2. tag that asks when will the fault be fixed; or
  3. display the number of the CEO or general manager who has the power to make decisions on  getting things fixed.

What signs can you or members of the DWG come up with?

Step 3

List the reasons why you think workplaces have LTI (Lost Time Injury) signs rather than the examples in Step 2.

Exercise 4:  A Health And Safety Map

This exercise is sometimes called "mapping"'. By answering these questions you can get a snap shot of where the holes are in your organisation around health and safety or what immediate risks need to be addressed.

To know where to start you need to know where you are. The checklist below is basic, but you need to be able to answer these questions. This may help you to develop what you and your colleagues decide on what or where your health and safety system should be. (Note: this checklist can also be downloaded here BBS Checklist Ex 4It is in Word format, so you can amend it to suit you own workplace, eg by varying the list of hazards.)


 Numbers of workers in your workplace  
 Numbers of OHS reps  
 Do you have Designated Work Groups?
 How many?
 Do you have Deputy Reps?
 How many?
 Have the OHS Reps and Deputies attended union OHS training?  
 Is the an OHS Committee?
 If so, was it established in consultation with the reps?
 Does it work to your satisfaction?

 How many of your members are exposed to:  
 Toxic, hazardous or dangerous chemicals  
 Risky manual handling  
 Welding fumes  
 Mobile Plant  
 Dangerour hours of work  
 Speed of the line  
 Biological hazards  
 Slips, trips, falls, etc  
 Which of these issues do the members/potential members have the most complaints about?  (List them)  

 Are there any groups of workers who have particular needs or who are not well  represented as H&S Representatives or on the Committee e.g. young workers,  casuals,  women workers, workers with difficulty understanding English etc.


 Do you have Union information displayed in your workplace?  
 Have you used this information to improve the profile of OHS and the Union on  the job?  
 Have you passed this information on to your delegate and organiser?  
 Do you have access to union based information on the internet?  

Exercise 5: Workplace Score

This list of questions that may help you decide on how well your workplace really does on health and safety. Most of the questions are not about the risks but about how workers are treated and how active workers are in working together to improve our working conditions.

The questions below are a start to get a feel for how well your workplace is organised (document in Word format can be downloaded here).

Part 1: Only tick of the answer is YES

  Yes  No
 1. Does your employer make health and safety a priority?    
 2. Are workers always consulted about health and safety issues or changes which may affect health and safety (new chemicals, machinery, work processes, rosters or staffing arrangements)?    
 3. Do workers elect the health and safety representatives?    
 4. Is there an active health and safety committee? Is it half worker reps?    
 5. Is the health and safety committee half OHS reps?    
 6. Are the health and safety reps and/or committee members trained by the union or union friendly trainers?    
 7. Is the workplace inspected for hazards/problems regularly?    
 8. Do workers participate in  the inspections?    
 9. Does the employer always fix health and safety problems promptly?    
 10. Is there enough time to meet and deal with health and safety matters?    
 11. Are all workers, including casual, contract or agency workers, inducted and trained about health and safety?    

Workplace Score: ...../11

Part 2: From your 'Workplace Score' for Part 1 take off one mark for any 'yes' below

   Yes  No
 1. Are workers ever asked or pressured by management not to raise health and safety issues?    
 2.  Are people ever intimidated or bullied by management as a result of raising health and safety issues?    
 3.  Are sick or injured employees pressured by management to return to work before they are ready?    
 4.  Are there unrealistic expectations, demands or targets at your workplace?    
 5.  Does cost cutting result in increased health and safety problems?    

Workplace Score: Part 1 minus Part 2 = ...../11

Your workplace scores:

More than 8/11 - keep up the good work.

But are all the part-timers, casual and contractors included  in health and safety meetings, inspections etc?   Have you ever thought about doing some awarenss or education outside of your workplace e.g. articles in the local paper, talking to schools and TAFE colleges or apprentices. Do OHS reps and deputies attend any union health and safety committees or forums; is anyone involve in health and safety campaigns like Industrial Manslaughter, etc?

5 to 7/11 - room for improvement.

Are you using  all  your rights under the health and safety laws?  We need to be more organised.  Pick on three of the questions that lowered your score. With the members and other OHS Reps/deputies/delegates decide on what action is needed.

2 to 5/11 - must do better.

Remember whose health and safety is at risk.  OHS reps have the right to be  involved in inspections, to be consulted before changes happen, and much more (Part 4 of the 2004 OHS Act). Insist on your rights. 

Decide on three problems that the members agree need attention. Set a timetable for your employer to fix  them.  You may need to:

  •  issue a  PIN/written notice/Default Notice,
  •  negotiate an agreement with your employer about how they are going to improve their performance or
  •  get outside assistance.

Less than 2/11 - very poor, remedial action required.

This workplace is a real trap, with your employer taking little action on health and safety. Your employer thinks workers have  no  role to play in health and safety.  Get  union assistance now.

The entire Kit can be downloaded as a pdf document here

Last amended August 2014

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