The safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management. It is a set of practices (ways of doing) and a mindset (ways of thinking) which is widely shared by the members of the organization when it comes to controlling the most significant risks associated with its activities. It is not something which is specific to each individual. Rather, it is a characteristic of a group or of the entire organization.
In the present day environment, safety in the organization is viewed as the combined result of several factors namely human behavior (human error and the violation of work procedures and rules), organizational factors such as supervision, work conditions and processes, planning and organizational learning, latent conditions such as the absence or dysfunctional nature of physical and functional barriers to prevent accidents, lack of resources to diminish threats and neutralize events, or the precarious system conditions which make it highly sensitive and unstable. The safety culture approach emerged when certain major events could no longer be explained by individual behaviors alone, and thus it became necessary to understand the part played by the organization.
Safety Culture depends on three pillars mentioned below:
- Psychological: “How people feels”
- Behavioral: “What people do?”
- Situational: “Organizational factors”
Implementation of a Safety Culture in the Workplace
Workplace safety culture refers to the way day-to-day matters are handled on the job. Employees have attitudes and values concerning on-the-job safety that they bring to work with them. A good workplace safety culture doesn’t develop overnight. It has to be built over time and reinforced with decisions managers and employees make. If a particular standard is set for company practices around handling hazards in the workplace, it needs to be maintained.
Employees and their supervisors need to have training on new safety equipment and refreshers on equipment they currently use. Safety training should be a continuous part of the work environment.
Safety in the workplace should be everyone’s business. The owners, managers, employees and contractors can all participate in creating the company’s safety culture. By working together, they can help to ensure that it’s a positive experience that benefits everyone in the organization. Here are some ways to implement a safety culture in the workplace:
Top level managers should prioritize the health and safety of their workers:
An important part of any workplace culture is when workers feel like their company cares about them. Instead of making safety an issue about spending, it needs to be a health issue. If top level managers genuinely care about the safety of their workers and the workers are aware of that, the attitude towards safety will shift to a positive one.
Take preventative safety measures:
Most companies begin making safety changes to the structure of their organization after an injury or incident has occurred. To be a safety leader in the manufacturing industry, you have to take a proactive approach. It is important to take safety precautions before incidents occur.
Find leaders in the company to target and have them be anchor points for safety. Whether it is a manager or a popular employee that you think will easily adopt safety procedures, find someone you can trust that will be open to new methods and who will help with implementation. Once they are convinced that the new tools or methods will prevent company injuries, they can help implement it throughout the workplace. Their attitude towards safety will eventually spread to people who were resistant, because they will be a trusted testimonial.
Celebrate and reward safety:
When employees take steps to make their workplace safe, you should acknowledge their contribution and thank them in front of their peers. Reward and recognition programs on just about any topic are a good way to encourage participation and boost engagement of young minds.
Include safety education in your safety training program:
Most safety training programs focus on training workers on how to use safety tools and teaching them the safety precautions for every application they are tasked with. However, it is also necessary to educate employees on the importance of safety. Walk them through the potential injuries that can occur and the danger of not following safety procedures. If they have a better understanding of why the safety procedures are so important, they are more likely to follow them.
On-the-Job Safety Training
Whether for a new employee or someone new to a specific role or task, employers can provide useful on-the-job safety training that promotes the organization’s overall safety culture. These activities include on-the-job safety training and an orientation.
On-the-job safety training and orientation should include both skill-based and awareness-based training. This gives employees tactical knowledge and cultural awareness of why safety practices are important. Skill-based training demonstrates the actual hands-on procedures necessary to perform a specific task, such as operating a piece of machinery. Awareness-based training includes general policies, hazard recognition and expectations for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.