An organization’s safety culture is both a visible and invisible part of daily life and a prerequisite for safe work. As a phenomenon, safety culture is forever changing and combines different aspects within operations. Social phenomena in the work community, individual psychological factors, and organizational processes and activities all affect and mold the safety culture. It serves as the basis on which the entire organization’s safety operations are built and is a premise for all safety development measures. Fortunately, then, it is something we can influence and develop. Here are six steps every organization can take to further its safety culture:
1. Know the Current State of Your Safety Culture
As with anything else, it’s tricky to manage and develop a safety culture if you don’t know where you’re starting. The current level can be very easily determined by performing a safety culture measurement. The measurement captures the entire organization, all operations, and all employees because everyone in the organization affects the safety culture with their behavior and actions. Human centricity within the measurement process allows for thorough results and leads to discovering factors that could have otherwise been missed.
Using a knowledgeable partner to measure your safety culture is advised as it makes it easier to get honest and open answers from staff.
2. Recognize Your Organization Strengths and Weaknesses
The current level of your safety culture can be determined with a simple measurement. To achieve the best longterm results and quality data for development measures, it is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s current safety culture. A partner can provide an external perspective on this phase, so that the analysis of the results is unbiased.
3. Indentify the Root Causes Behind Strengths and Weaknesses
Once the strengths and weaknesses have been identified, it is important to delve deeply into the root causes behind them. Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses and uncovering and understanding the issues behind them is paramount. Issues within the procedures can be found to have simple fixes. For example, communication issues could explain why already existing and used safety goals and measurements are unclear to people in the field. And issues in supervision and supervisors not intervening in safety incidents, can be a question of attitude or that one’s responsibilities and obligations are not properly understood. When you identify the real root causes, development measures are more effective, and the safety culture truly develops for the better.
4. Plan for Effective and Targeted Development Measures
After identifying and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the safety culture and identifying the root causes, a plan for targeted development measures can be created. When planning for your development measures, it is extremely important to consider the entire staff and genuinely understand the level of safety activity. This way, measures can be effectively targeted at specific factions or people, the environment, and technologies or systems. Also note that development needs and measures may differ significantly at different organizational levels or even locations, which is why targeted and throughout measures are the most effective.
5. Involve Your Entire Staff in Safety Development
It is important to take all personnel into account and make everyone take responsibility for developing safety, when developing a safety culture and raising the level of safety in general. A safety culture does not revolve around one person or one department, and the more people that actively and conscientiously participate in safety activities and understand that they are a necessary part of work, the better the safety culture and the level of safety. Safety is also something that everyone must feel able to influence.
6. Measure Your Safety Culture Regularly and Ensure Improvement
For development measures to truly hit the mark and improve the safety culture, their implementation must be monitored and ensured. In addition, active measurement of safety culture is a very important part of safety management so that the real impact of measures on the overall culture can be realistically assessed. When measurement of the safety culture is an ongoing process, it is possible to continuously monitor the situation and develop operations in the long term.
If you would like to hear more about how you can measure and develop the safety culture in your organization, please contact us. We at Kiwa, strive to make your safety better and more efficient.