Safety Culture and Behavioural Change
Safety culture is increasingly recognised as a vital component of business success. Put simply, it is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as “the way we do things round here” i.e. how well the employees and managers work together to tackle safety issues.
It has a direct impact on the safety of employees, contractors and the public. Several high profile accidents in the Rail, Maritime, Nuclear and other industries have highlighted the consequences of poor safety culture. Organisations with a good culture not only have good safety performance but generally perform very well commercially. Consequently developing a good safety culture is likely to enhance both safety and commercial performance.
A good safety culture includes effective, appropriate safety management systems; strong safety leadership & commitment from management; participation and involvement of the workforce; and organisational learning and continuous improvement. In turn, many of these improvements will have financial benefits.
Why improve your safety culture?
The Health & Safety Executive have outlined how safety has evolved over the past 60 or so years, from initially developing engineered safety measures, then employee performance (such as training) and now safety culture. Each phase of development is essential but can lead to an “accident plateau”. Once hardware, management systems and competent staff are in place, the HSE say that “The next big step change in safety has begun and is based on developing good safety cultures that positively influence human behaviour at work to reduce errors and violations.”
Without an effective safety culture, procedures may be broken and engineered safety controls can be defeated or circumvented. An effective safety culture will promote positive behaviours, engage staff in further developing systems and help achieve continued development of safety performance.
Organisations seek to improve safety culture to ensure that safety performance can be advanced and that the reputation of the organisation is not put at risk from examples of unsafe behaviour. An effective safety culture can help ensure that stakeholders have confidence in the professionalism, reliability and trustworthiness of an organisation – making safety an asset rather than a risk.
Our overall approach, based on extensive experience, is to:
Identify the strengths and weaknesses – Our assessments provide you with a clear baseline, to act as a benchmark so you can track progress and change;
Build on this existing culture, particularly its strengths, using a strategy tailored to the organisation – This bespoke strategy helps ensure long-term business success by addressing your organisational needs, allowing you to understand, influence and manage behaviours throughout the organisation.
Continually monitor and evaluate to ensure the strategy encompasses both the enablers for sustained cultural development and attends to key deficiencies – this process ensures cultural change initiatives are successful, helping to minimize resistance to change and maximise participation, including “quick wins” to provide motivation for further improvements.
- Assessing your safety culture
- Developing a safety strategy
- Advising on interventions
- Support the implementation of interventions
- Advising on behavioural safety schemes
- Delivering training & workshops to staff and executives