Embracing Safety Culture and Health At Work Place

  • Feb 03, 2021
  • By Ebenezer Gibadi

Understanding Safety Culture

Understanding what influences the culture of your organization can make a significant contribution to changing employee attitudes and behaviors in relation to workplace health and safety.

For a safety culture to be successful it needs to be led from the top—that is, safety culture needs to be embraced and practiced by the CEO and senior managers. Strong leadership and management commitment is directly related to safety performance as it demonstrates by example to employees what actions will be rewarded, tolerated, or punished, which in turn influences what actions and behavior employees initiate and maintain.

What is a Safety Culture?

 Safety culture is an organizational culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes—and these are shared by the majority of people within the company or workplace. It can be characterized as ‘the way we do things around here’. A positive safety culture can result in improved workplace health and safety (WHS) and organizational performance. 

As a safety leader, you should ask yourself? 

 how important is safety? 

 is safety important most of the time or all of the time?

Companies that want to have a positive safety culture, which everyone owns up to, should develop and promote managers with the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes to successfully undertake the responsibilities of safety. 

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Four(4) broad behaviors, or cultural actions, have been considered essential to the development of a positive safety culture.These are listed below. 

  1. Communicate company values 
  2. Demonstrate leadership
  3. Develop positive safety attitudes 
  4. Engage and own safety responsibilities and accountabilities 

The cultural actions can easily be implemented by any company regardless of its size, and most of them can be introduced with little or no direct financial cost to the company. Each of the four cultural actions are outlined below. 

  • Communicate company values: Relate behaviors, decisions, and attitudes that are expected, supported and valued by the company.

Messages can be communicated and embedded via company work health and safety policy statements, safety posters, toolbox talks, ‘walk-arounds’ by management, regular reinforcement by all ‘non-safety’ managers or any other corporate communication method used by the organization. 

  • Demonstrate leadership: Act to motivate and inspire others to work towards achieving a particular goal or outcome by sending clear and consistent messages about the importance of work health and safety. 

Leading from the top down can be demonstrated by: 

  1. seeking staff engagement and participation when developing ‘safety’ tools (e.g. checklist inspections, safe work method statements, job safety analyses) 
  2.  wearing personal protective equipment when on-site
  3.  conducting periodic toolbox talks.

To be continue.....


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