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Creating a safety culture

Defining safety culture

Safety culture is about how things are done in relation to safety and is a good indicator of an organisation’s overall commitment to workplace safety. It’s closely linked to an organisation’s overall employee culture.

Importantly, when it’s measured effectively it helps organisations understand the gaps that exist between their safety policies and systems and how well they are being implemented at the team and employee level.

Safety compliance only goes so far

Most organisations have highly developed safety programs in place with clear policies, procedures, training andperformance  measures. It’s important that organisations focus on past safety incidents and safety audits to learn from safety lapses and try to prevent them from happening again.

However, as many organisaitons are finding, this focus will often reduce serious safety incidents over time but will often not identify deep cultural issues at a team level. An employee point of view gained via a Safety Culture and Engagement Survey can uncover deep cultural issues and may help prevent future incidents before they occur.

Safety culture is a high priority across a range of sectors including transport, logistics, engineering and manufacturing. A good Safety Culture and Engagement Survey uses innovative lead indicators to gain a better understanding of an organisaiton’s workplace safety culture overall. The 15-minute survey is well-suited to both blue and white collar employees. Importantly, it also provides a snapshot of employee engagement with a clear link between the organisation’s overall culture and its prevailing safety culture.

How measuring safety culture can help

Firstly, safety policies, systems and procedures are often very clearly documented and senior managers may believe they are working but implementation may be falling down at the team level. Collecting employee feedback of how well safety policies, systems are working allows senior leaders to validate the perceptions team leaders are providing compared to detailed feedback from their teams. This is often a way of identifying areas where day-to-day improvements can be made.

Secondly, many organisations have safety programmes in place that reward their people for achieving safety targets. These are a great way to keep safety front of mind and deliver tangible rewards to teams and individuals. What is harder to measure is the consequences arising from these programs. Employee feedback from a Safety Culture and Engagement Survey about the effectiveness of these programs and their real impact on behaviour has proven extremely valuable.

Finally, engagement is a key measure in a good Safety Culture and Engagement Survey. It delivers another accepted lead indicator of safety outcomes. For example, a specific work team may have a very good safety incident record, a reasonable safety culture score but poor employee engagement levels. This can help leaders realise they need to look more closely at the team dynamics, potentially preventing future safety incidents.

Going to the next level

Many organisations that have well developed safety policies and systems in place and deliver good safety outcomes over time are looking for a more holistic approach to safety within the context of their existing employee culture. This is where Insync’s Safety Culture and Engagement Survey can provide real insight and direction. This survey will not only identify areas for improvement but will be a catalyst for change.

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