Safety Culture

It is not at all unusual that a company or business develops a comprehensive occupational safety and health program (OSH) and then sets about implementing it in their various geographic locations and facilities. In some locations, it is very successful, while in others, it is a total failure. Why is this possible? Because the organization or company has failed to consider that the safety culture in each place of implementation is not the same. Suffice it to say, it is imperative that the culture of managers and employees is unique in these varied facilities.

Defining Safety Culture

Safety culture is a concept defined at a group level or higher that refers to the shared values among all the group or company, corporation, or organization members. Safety culture is concerned with formal safety issues in an organization and is closely related to, but not restricted to, the management and supervisory system. Safety culture emphasizes the contribution from everyone at every level of the organization. The safety culture of the business entity has an impact on all members of the workforce's behavior at work. Safety culture is usually reflected in the relationship between the reward system and safety performance. A positive safety culture is indicative of an organization's willingness to develop, change, and learn from errors, incidents, and accidents. Safety culture is ingrained, enduring, stable, and very resistant to change.

In summary, safety culture is the enduring values and priority placed on workers and management by everyone within the organization. It refers to the extent to which individuals and groups will commit to personal responsibility for safety; act to preserve, enhance, and communicate safety concerns; strive to actively learn, adapt, and modify behavior (of both individuals and the organization) based on lessons learned from mistakes; and be rewarded in a manner consistent with these values.

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