How To Create A Good Safety Culture

Creating a Safety Culture

Safety culture is a term that is often thrown about but what does it really mean in practice and how can you create a good one. Our senior work, health and safety advisors outline below what safety culture is and how to create one that improves your business.

What Is Safety Culture?

A safety culture is a behavioural climate within a company that promotes, rewards and controls safety in such a way as to make safety a part of the business rather than a condition of business. This involves reframing work, health and safety not just as a by-product or check box required to run a business, but as an integral component of conducting business.

Safety culture is the collection of beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to risks within an organisation. A positive safety culture believes that every incident is avoidable, no job is worth getting hurt, every job will be done safely, incidents can be managed and most notably that safety is everyone’s responsibility. One of the most detrimental factors to a positive safety culture we see is the shifting of blame between employers and employees over safety responsibilities. A good safety culture is achieved when everyone in the business prioritises and understands their safety responsibility.  Poor safety culture can be seen when employees ignore risks, disregard safety protocols, and neglect policies and procedures that are implemented to reduce the risk of incidents.

How To Achieve A Good Safety Culture.

Achieving a good safety culture involves investing time, energy and resources to establish a series of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect concern for employees’ safety and the safety of others. Businesses with a positive safety culture are more likely to save money on workers’ compensation payments and other economic losses that occur due to lost time from workplace accidents, as well as minimising the risk of prosecution through non-compliance to legislation.

Implementing a safety culture involves visible and clear management, good communication between all levels of employees, active employee participation, training, and clear documentation. In doing this, businesses will be more likely to reduce injury and illness, maintain a healthier workforce, be compliant with legislation, improve absenteeism, retain employees and increase productivity. Businesses that develop a holistic safety culture also generally have happier workers who are more dedicated to the company’s long term goals.

Below are steps you can take to improve your safety culture.  

  • Defining responsibilities so everyone in the business knows their role and tasks in mitigating potential hazards.
  • Creating a wider business vision for safety to instil a sense of community so that workers understand how their actions can harm or protect others.
  • Business leaders shape workplace culture through their actions and behaviours. Having zero tolerance for unsafe working behaviours, role modelling safe supportive practices, and positive system engagement will shape a strong safety culture to ensure you and your employees take your obligations seriously.
  • Safety cultures rely on open and fluid communication so that all levels of employees feel able to voice their concerns, ask for help and report safety flaws when noticed.
  • Having a transparent reporting system so that employees feel supported to report an accident, illness or injury. If employees think raising concerns will threaten their employment your safety culture is likely to be poor.
  • Building a strong safety culture starts from the ground up, involving employees in the process and development of safety practices will make it more likely to be adopted. Ask employees how they would like the reporting process to work and get their feedback on current communication methods.

Committing to developing a positive safety culture in your business will result in management implementing and providing safe systems of work to meet legislative compliance, good communication and employee engagement, and both positive leader and employee behaviours. If you would like assistance developing a positive safety culture in your business, please contact us. ProcessWorx’s work, health and safety team have a wealth of experience and are well equipped to implement safety in your business.

For more information about our work, health and safety services click here.  

Contact our friendly team on (08) 9316 9896 or email enquiries@processworx.com.au to find out more.

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Written by Danielle McNamee

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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.