C10.7.7 Positive Culture


Key Aspects of an Effective Culture:


Management commitment:

This commitment produces higher levels of motivation and concern for health and safety throughout the organisation. It is indicated by the proportion of resources (time, money, people) and support allocated to health and safety management and by the status given to health and safety versus production, cost etc. The active involvement of senior management in the health and safety system is very important.


Visible management:

Managers need to be seen to lead by example when it comes to health and safety. Good managers appear regularly on the ‘shop floor’, talk about health and safety and visibly demonstrate their commitment by their actions – such as stopping production to resolve issues. It is important that management is perceived as sincerely committed to safety. If not, employees will generally assume that they are expected to put commercial interests first, and safety initiatives or programmes will be undermined by cynicism.


Good communications between all levels of employee:

In a positive culture questions about health and safety should be part of everyday work conversations. Management should listen actively to what they are being told by employees, and take what they hear seriously.


Active employee participation:

The ownership of safety is something that should be developed at all levels of an organisation, as the individual knowledge each employee has of their work is something which can be used to contribute to a good safety culture. This ownership can be achieved through employee involvement in workshops, risk assessments, plant design etc. Where a good culture exists, there is a consistent message from both employees and management and safety is seen as a joint responsibility.

Source: HSE: http://www.hse.gov.uk/


A Healthy Safety Culture Is One Where There Is…


Visible Commitment To Safety By Management

This Is Shown When Management…

  • Make regular useful visits to site
  • Discuss safety matters with frontline personnel
  • Will stop production for safety reasons regardless of cost
  • Spend time and money on safety e.g. to provide protective equipment, safety training and conduct safety culture workshops or audits
  • Will not tolerate violations of procedures and actively try to improve systems so as to discourage violations e.g. plan work so that short cuts aren’t necessary

And Is Helped When Management…to do the work in time

  • Make time to visit the site (not just following an accident or incident)
  • All show commitment
  • Have good non-technical skills (e.g. communication skills)
  • Are also interested in workforce safety when they are not at work, e.g. provide information on domestic safety
  • Show concern for wider issues e.g. workforce stress and general health
  • Actively set an example (e.g. always conform to all safety procedures)


Workforce Participation And Ownership Of Safety Problems And Solutions

This Is Shown When Management…

  • Consults widely about health and safety matters
  • Does more than the minimum to comply with the law on consultation
  • Seeks workforce participation in:
    • Setting policies and objectives
    • Accident/near miss investigations

And Is Helped When Management…to do the work in time

  • Supports an active safety committee
  • Have a positive attitude to safety representatives
  • Provides tools or methods that encourage participation e.g. behavioural observation programmes and schemes that promote safety


Trust Between Shop Floor And Management

This Is Shown When Management…

  • Encourages all employees and contractors to challenge anyone working on site about safety without fear of reprisals
  • Keep their promises
  • Treats the workforce with respect

And Is Helped When Management…to do the work in time

  • Promotes job satisfaction/good industrial relations and high morale
  • Promotes a ‘just’ culture (assigning blame only where someone was clearly reckless or took a significant risk)
  • Encourages trust between all employees


Good Communications

This Is Shown When Management…

  • Provides good (clear, concise, relevant) written materials (safety bulletins, posters, guidance)
  • Provides good briefings on current issues day to day and in formal safety meetings; listening and feedback

And Is Helped When Management…to do the work in time

  • Encourages employee participation in suggesting safety topics to be communicated
  • Provides specific training in communication skills
  • Has more than one means of communication


A Competent Workforce

This Is Shown When Management…

  • Ensures that everyone working on their sites is competent in their job and in safety matters

And Is Helped When Management…to do the work in time

  • Is supportive and has a good competence assurance system

Source: http://www.osha.gov