Published: 13/09/2021

International standards and guidelines are clear that it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. However, behavior based safety (BBS) programs, utilized by many employers, shift this responsibility from employers onto workers. A new IUF guide from the Food Processing Division details how unions can fight back against BBS programs or keep them from being implemented in the first place.

BBS programs:

  • Undermine union health and safety representatives, union-based health and safety committees and workplace solidarity by turning workers against workers
  • Can incentivize the under-reporting of injuries, illnesses and hazards
  • Shift the focus away from identifying and controlling hazards; hazards that are not eliminated or controlled will continue to harm workers

To combat BBS programs, unions must organize to implement health and safety procedures based on sound principles of occupational health and safety, which include hazard identification, risk assessment, and hazard controls based upon use of the hierarchy of controls.


The IUF opposes employer programs and policies that shift responsibility for worker safety and health by focusing on worker behavior instead of workplace hazards [and] calls on employers to cease and desist from implementing these harmful programs and policies.
IUF 27th Congress resolution