The safety culture of your business will directly impact on safety performance.
If you want to protect your business from the many perils of poor safety performance, such as lost productivity, accidents and injuries, prosecution and fines, reputation damage, high staff turn-over, and poor team morale, then working on your safety culture is key...
What is a Safety Culture?
Safety Culture is the way safety is perceived, valued and prioritised in your organisation. It reflects the real commitment to safety at all levels of the business. At the core of a safety culture is what people believe about the importance of safety, including what they think their colleagues, managers and leaders really believe about safety’s priority.
Note that your company's safety culture is not the safety management systems, policies or procedures you have; it goes much deeper than that. Without a positive safety culture, these things become dust-gathering paperwork.
Why is it Important to You?
In short, the safety culture of your business will directly impact on safety performance. A negative (immature) culture is likely to yield poor safety performance, whereas a positive (mature) culture will result in high performance.
What is Safety Culture Maturity?
The safety culture of a company is not static; it changes and evolves. Ideally this change is positive and the culture develops to achieve maturity. Safety professionals around the world have developed various models, matrixes and indexes to illustrate just this.
Maturity is a term commonly used to describe the progressive nature of safety culture. Here is my take on it:
How Can You Improve?
Leadership is critical for determining your business' safety culture. Your workers will value safety if they can see that you do. If your actions don't show that safety is important to you, this will inevitably negatively impact on your teams' safety culture. Human nature dictates that we do what we observe more than we do what we hear... so leading by example is key.
Another crucial factor is employee participation, and not just because it is the law. Engaging your staff on safety matters has numerous benefits, such as, increased team morale and self-worth, fewer incidents, accidents and less lost time, increased efficiency and productivity, and ultimately, increased profitability.
You could involve your workers in a discussion about safety culture. You might be surprised at what comes out of an open session with your team. Do a group brainstorm, ask some thought-provoking questions like:
Once you have established where you sit now, you can set a goal of where you want to be, and by when. As a team, make an action plan to reach that goal!