What defines safety and health culture?
The safety and health culture of an organisation is reflection of the values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and behaviours of the people working there. It reflects the organisation’s commitment to, and prioritisation of, safety and health as well as the effectiveness of the organisation’s safety management system.
The elements of a safety and health culture can be organised into three categories:
- Organisational – the policies, procedures and systems that relate to safety and health
- Psychological – individual perceptions, attitudes and values
- Behavioural – what people do, health and safety behaviours
It has also been suggested that a safety and health culture is defined by what people in an organisation do when they think no one is watching. Observing the behaviour of individuals can show any inconsistencies between the organisation’s advertised attitudes and values towards safety and health, and the attitudes and values that individuals display.
What is the importance of safety and health culture?
A resilient safety and health culture ensures that all organisational members, regardless of their role, are working together for better safety and health outcomes.
The department’s analysis of human and organisational factors in the Western Australian resources industry highlighted the continuing importance of maintaining and enhancing safety and health culture. This involves the roles of senior leadership, effective supervision, workforce involvement, respect for procedures, learning from lessons and the management of contractors.
The safety and health culture spectrum summarises the typical characteristics of various culture types ranging from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘resilient’. The spectrum outlines how all operations should aspire to grow a resilient culture as this is most effective when it comes to achieving safety and health outcomes. Growing a resilient culture requires consultation and communication with, and the participation of, all employees.
What influences safety and health behavior at work?
The behaviour of individuals is heavily influenced by the work environment, the organisation people work in, and the design of the job they are asked to do. These influences are referred to as human and organisational factors. An example of this may be workers and their equipment, work procedures or their environment.
Human and organisational factors goes into greater detail about this subject
Below is the list of documents that you may find useful.
The following presentations covering topics related to safety culture can be downloaded to use at toolbox meetings.