Components of Successful Safety Culture
I often feel that the term 'safety culture' is misused and abused by HSE leaders trying to capture all their organizations safety efforts under a catchphrase. But the reality is that, as with any culture (safety culture, workplace culture, societal culture, group culture) continual change is the norm. This 'change' component is important in that it highlights that no matter what efforts organizations make to improve HSE performance, there's no finish line. It's not a one and done type scenario. It's very important that safety leaders understand that strong HSE performance is the result of a complex set of variables that require long term efforts. If the focus is on improving 'safety culture' first leaders must understand what makes up a 'culture'.
Every organisation needs commitment to achieving their objectives. It's no different when it comes to embedding safety performance as a driving force in the organisation. Having committed management and employees delivers results and drives change, innovation and action.
This refers simply to having the necessary information on the human, technical, organisational and environmental factors that are a part of your workplace. Being informed allows tailoring of solutions to the workplace dynamics. Being informed means ensuring those that manage and implement safety strategy, tools and processes aimed at improved HSE performance have a good understanding of the critical components of the system as a whole, not just the gaps.
This refers to having an organizational climate in which people are willing and prepared to report their errors and near misses. This requires a no-blame mentality and application across the whole organisation. Organisations cannot reasonably be expected to change if they don't know what their faults are.
Being Fair and Just
This refers to establishing an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged (even rewarded) for providing essential safety-related information, but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Learn from Mistakes
This refers to having the organisational mindset of a willingness and the competence to draw the right conclusions from its safety information system and the will to implement major reforms.
This refers to organizations that are willing and able to reconfigure themselves in the presence of certain kinds of danger - often will often mean shifting, at least at certainly places or locations, from conventional hierarchical mode to a flatter mode.