How to Really Improve Safety Culture

Sep 18, 2019

In this short article, I want to share with you my thoughts and experience on how you can really improve safety culture.

Mention the word “culture” and what goes through your mind?

  • Maybe it’s bio yogurt…feeling hungry?
  • How about that pop group Culture Club?
  • Or perhaps, you’re in the mood for some Kombucha?

OK these are about health, well-being, music etc. This article relates to “safety culture”.

Defining Safety Culture

In the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition for safety culture is:

The way that a company or organisation thinks about, plans for, and manages the safety of its employees and customers, especially when their safety is considered to be one of the most important things.

To be candid, I don’t know of any companies that don’t consider safety is an important thing anyway. If they did, they are probably out of business, I suspect?
Let’s go back to that definition. The words in there that I want to pull out are “safety of its employees and customers”. That’s really the crux. So with those words in mind, the clues are actually in the word “culture”.  In fact, it’s mentioned twice and it’s the letter “U”.
Safety culture improvement really begins with “YOU”.

If you want to “really” improve safety culture…it starts with what you do…

But how?

  • Perhaps you can play a more active role in listening.
  • Certainly, observing what’s going on around will play a key role.
  • Don’t be judgemental be curious.
  • Safety is not like the Special Theory of Relativity…it’s really quite straight forward. There’s no smoke and mirrors and it’s not rocket science.
  • As Bruce Lee said “it’s all about emotional content”. So empathise with your fellow workers and try and build your emotional intelligence as you start driving the safety culture in your organisation.

In conclusion

Stating the obvious here….but, to really improve safety culture…it starts with YOU and how you listen observe, show interest and empathise.
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