What is a Safety Culture?
Safety Cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices and attitudes that exist at all levels of an organization. Culture is the over all feeling created by those beliefs, practices and so on, that shape everyone’s behaviors. In most organizations, we create, maintain and continuously improve a workplace safety culture by
(1) having company leaders, managers and employees at all levels commit to being safe (complete by in)
(2) really caring and practicing safety techniques
(3) engaging everyone in the organization
(4) making safety part of the performance appraisal process.
We should expect our leaders, managers and people to make safety a value.
Why is having a Safety Culture important?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Injury and Illness Prevention Programs.
• Every day, more than 12 workers die on the job, that’s more than 4,500 per year.
• Every year, more than 4.1 million suffer serious job related injury or illness.
Developing and improving a strong Safety Culture through behavior changing education has the single greatest impact on injury reduction of any process. That reason alone is enough for keeping the continuous development of our Safety Culture a top priority.
Elements of a Safety Culture
- Commitment at all levels (buy-in, norms, assumptions, beliefs and attitudes)
- Safety as an investment not a cost, Production pressures and quality issues
- Integration into daily activities continuous improvement
- Policies and procedures, training at all levels and motivation
- Hazard prevention controls
- Blame-free work environment
- Celebrating our successes
A Safety Culture is not just a collection of policies, procedures and programs. A program has a start and end date. A culture is a living movement that grows and eventually becomes the norm. In a strong safety culture, everyone feels that it is there duty to perform safely every day; employees will identify unsafe conditions and behaviors and go out of their way to correct them. In a strong safety culture you would feel comfortable reminding the manger or owner to wear safety glasses. This type of behavior would be welcomed and not looked upon negatively but would be valued by the organization.