What is safety culture?
Key aspects of an ideal safety culture include effective safety management systems, conditions, and leadership support for safety. Safety culture also involves safety communication within the organization, between supervisors and employees, and coworker to coworkers. Finally, safety culture reflects employees’ attitudes and behaviors which support safety. Scott Geller addresses safety culture in terms of Actively Caring person factors (e.g., optimism, self esteem) which predict helping behaviors on the job for safety.
Safety Culture Assessment
Achieving a Total Safety Culture requires the organization identify the barriers preventing employees and leaders from performing their best. Otherwise, tremendous effort may be lost pursuing initiatives that miss the mark. SPS offers a comprehensive safety culture assessment that measures employees’ perceptions about the overall effectiveness of the organization’s safety culture. Results of the assessment serve a number of functions. They act as a diagnostic tool to target areas warranting attention, and identify barriers to the improvement efforts. The results can also be used as a performance measure to assess the success of ongoing safety improvement efforts, as well as to benchmark performance against other organizations. Finally, the assessment provides an avenue for employee input into safety improvement efforts.
How Can SPS Help?
SPS’s Safety Culture Assessment is comprised of four tools:
- Safety Culture Survey
The Safety Culture Survey measures several different factors: Management Support for Safety, Peer Support for Safety, and Personal Responsibility for Safety, eight safety management systems (e.g., Discipline, Incident Reporting & Analysis, Rewards & Recognition) and Employee Engagement. In addition to analyzing the results according to user-defined demographic variables (e.g., department, position, shift), the site’s results are compared with industrial norms, established from previous administrations of the survey. See Safety Culture Survey for more details.
- Safety Management Systems Evaluation
The Safety Management Systems Evaluation involves a structured exercise examining up to 10 different safety management systems including, leadership commitment to safety, discipline, rewards and recognition, observation and feedback, safety communication, safety accountability, audits and inspections, safety policies and procedures, safety committees, and incident reporting and investigation. SPS facilitates cross-organizational teams in completing the review. Resulting data is used to create previously non-existent management systems or refine existing systems to improve their overall effectiveness as well as their influence on the organization’s safety culture. Each safety management system has an important contribution to make in terms of not only improving workplace safety, but also positively impacting an organization’s safety culture. At best, when the system is poorly designed or operating ineffectively, its ability to affect beneficial change is compromised. At worst, a poorly designed, badly implemented, or ill-functioning system can actually have a destructive influence on an organization’s overall safety culture. To assess these systems in more detail, SPS uses an assessment tool comprised of a set of “Maturity Paths” to assess the systems’ ongoing influence on the organization’s safety culture.
- Structured Interviews
Interviews are conducted with a representative sample of the population to gain additional details not provided in either the survey data or the management systems assessment exercise. In effect, the two tools described above reveal ‘how’ employees feel, and interview data helps explain ‘why.’ Interviews are held in small groups and last approximately one hour. Questions consist of a standard set applicable to all organizations as well as a custom set derived from concerns raised in the survey and management systems assessment.
- Leadership Evaluation and Development for Safety (LEADS) Assessment
The LEADS 360 degree tool measures critical leadership skills related to safety. LEADS components include an assessment of how effectively leaders promote a vision for safety, engagement in safety, effective rewards, trust, communications, teamwork, and empowerment. Each participating leader is evaluated by a selection of others (e.g., his/her manager, peers, and/or direct reports). After a preliminary analysis of the LEADS data, interviews (either telephone or in person) may be conducted with each participant in order to gain additional detail and a rationale for the ratings.
A complete culture assessment involves all four tools described above, but any component can be used alone.
SPS offers a variety of services that often begin with a Safety Culture Assessment: