To truly create lasting change, organizations must create an environment in which safety is more than just a box to be checked, but is an attitude that makes up the very foundation of the company and is upheld by everyone from front line workers to senior management.
Committing to a Culture of Safety. A culture of safety can be defined as the collective values, beliefs, attitudes, and norms that shape individual safety-related behaviors in an organization. Establishing this culture begins with an organization’s senior management. If senior management is committed to improving safety, fostering the success of a safety program, and empowering everyone within the organization to be part of a solution, then a culture of safety can flourish. With a culture of safety, everyone looks out for one another and encourages injury self-reporting without judgment or consequence. It’s about improving the culture and system as a whole to find the causal factors that led to those injuries or mistakes.
Analyzing Safety Risks. Establishing a culture of safety and effective safety program requires an honest assessment of an organization’s risks. In order to appropriately assess risk, it is critical to form a health and safety team that directs all workplace health and safety initiatives. It also can be useful for companies to engage third-party workplace health and safety providers. Many assessment, evaluation, and survey tools are available to ensure that decision-driving safety information reaches senior management. While such tools can be quite valuable, they do not address the potential underlying issues that may exist within a company’s internal processes. A culture of safety is most impactful when it complements an already solid foundation of internal policies and procedures that can, in turn, uphold and reinforce the culture.