Kuparuk celebrates 20 years of B.E.A.R.

by Matthew Steinberger

In October, the ConocoPhillips Kuparuk Alaska workforce celebrated 20 years of working safer with their Behavior Based Safety Observation process B.E.A.R. (Behavior Eliminates All Risk). In early 1997, a group of employees was encouraged to seek out a worker-driven initiative to help Kuparuk change its safety culture, improve employee engagement in safety and drive down serious injury. This team identified the technology behind B.E.A.R., and Kuparuk has never looked back.

workers shaking hands
Kuparuk workers shake hands after participating in a B.E.A.R. observation.

In the 20 years since its inception, more than 6,000 people have been trained and performed observations. Over 40 percent of the Operations & Maintenance and resident construction workforce conduct B.E.A.R. observations each month. From a scant 46 observations that first year to an average of 20,000 per year now, this peer-to-peer observation process continues to impact personal safety performance. Observation data is collected and compiled, and using these data analytics, highly trained workers can deliver customized safety messages to their crews.

The B.E.A.R. Steering Team leadership is made up of more than 65 dedicated employees and contractors. While many individuals have helped build and lead this process, it is undeniably the workers themselves who conduct these observations and accept observation feedback that have made B.E.A.R. a success. Unprecedented commitment by the business unit and its leaders, along with as many as 30 different business partners, has supported this achievement.


Behavior-based safety comes down to three things: conversations, interactions and quality discussions about critical behaviors. B.E.A.R. training includes these important skills for openly talking about behaviors and how they affect exposure to risk. It was this training that became the foundation for an open safety culture, a willingness to intervene with each other and the one team approach to safety at Kuparuk.

There have been many successful safety initiatives during this time, and B.E.A.R. continues to be a foundation for safety at Kuparuk. The core focus, “Everyone Gets Observed,” ensures that all workers get objective feedback about critical safety behaviors.

Congratulations Kuparuk for 20 years of working safer with the B.E.A.R. safety process!