The business case for behavioural safety

If you think good health and safety is expensive, you should try poor health and safety.

In November 1990, Ken Woodward was working at a Coca Cola Schweppes factory in Sidcup, Kent (UK). He was an acting Team Leader on a line handling returnable bottles. At the end of his shift, he was asked to carry out a chemical clean. He had never done this before, but he wanted to help his boss and he didn’t want production to be delayed when the day shift started.

The factory had run out of the normal pre-mixed cleaning solution several weeks before, instead opting to mix their own by ordering chemicals separately. As the mixing machine was broken, the process was carried out in open containers. Despite a couple of unreported near-misses…

this cheap shortcut had become the norm

When Ken mixed the two chemicals, there was a violent reaction that blew 25m into the factory roof. Ken’s face was only a few centimetres away. Colleagues manhandled him into a nearby emergency shower and this is all that saved his life. But unfortunately, Ken was badly burned and he lost his eyesight.

The financial cost of this single accident was estimated at £2.6 million, including lost production time, compensation and fines

Martin Woodall, Lattitude Safety’s principal consultant, was called in by Coca Cola in the aftermath of Ken’s accident. He helps them introduce their Zero Accident Behaviours (ZAB) programme, designed to change the way they thought about and acted upon safety. This moved the company from a chase-the-case culture to an Interdependent Safety Culture.

But the result went beyond eliminating accidents. The Zero Accidents Behaviour programme improved workforce motivation.

One site increased productivity by 15% as a result of the behavioural safety programme


We have many other examples of the business benefits of good health and safety practice. If you want to hear others, please just ask.

There are two main financial benefits in moving towards an Interdependent Safety Culture:

  1. It very much reduces the risk of the (sometimes catastrophic) cost of an accident.
  2. It improves workforce communication and productivity.

Further information:


One thought on “The business case for behavioural safety

  1. This is really the 2nd posting, of urs I checked out.
    And yet I really like this particular one, “The business case for
    behavioural safety | Behavioural safety, positive
    safety culture, leadership and teamwork” the best.
    Take care ,Fredrick

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