Health and safety culture
What is organisational culture?
Organisational culture forms the context in which people judge the appropriateness of their behaviour and influences performance and behaviour at work. An organisation’s culture also determines its approach to learning lessons from past incidents. Learning is linked to corporate memory, which must withstand organisational change.
Learning organisations value and encourage learning from their own and other organisations’ experiences. They are characterised by constant vigilance and seeking out failures as well as successes. Understanding human factors can turn organisational learning into preventative solutions.
What is health and safety culture?
An organisation’s health and safety culture is a subset of the overall organisational or company culture. It is a reflection of the values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and behaviours of the people working there. It reflects the organisation’s commitment to, and prioritisation of, health and safety as well as the effectiveness of the organisation’s safety management system. An organisation’s health and safety culture is driven by effective health and safety leadership, health and safety supervision and contractor management.
- Management commitment and style is a key driver.
- Employee involvement is crucial.
- Training and competence play key roles in the satisfaction of workers.
- Good communication is essential.
- Compliance with procedures needs to be balanced with autonomously functioning work teams.
- Investigation of incidents should focus on the whole system and not just the operator.
- Organisational learnings must be shared.
Resources and tools
- Health and safety leadership Information and strategies for effective health and safety leadership.
- Health and safety supervision Guidance about the role of supervisors and what is involved in effective supervision.
- Contractor management Information on the role of contractors in workplace safety and health.
This webpage by DMIRS describes the importance of safety and health culture and provides resources on topics related to safety and health culture.
This document from the UK Health and Safety Executive discusses key aspects of safety culture.