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Safety Culture & Climate

Safety Culture

Deeply held but often unspoken safety-related beliefs, attitudes, and values that interact with an organization’s systems, practices, people, and leadership to establish norms about how things are done in the organization. Safety culture is a subset of, and clearly influenced by, organizational culture. Organizations often have multiple cultures or subcultures, and this may be particularly true in construction.

Safety Climate

The shared perceptions of safety policies and procedures by members of an organization at a given point in time, particularly regarding the adequacy of safety and consistency between actual conditions compared to espoused safety policies and procedures. Homogeneous subgroups tend to develop shared perceptions while between-group differences are not uncommon within an organization.

CPWR Safety Culture and Safety Climate

The construction industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of creating a strong positive Safety Culture and Safety Climate for reducing worker injury rates as close to zero as possible. Researchers also agree that these concepts and related practices are key to reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities on construction worksites. To contribute to and help guide the efforts to improve construction-related safety culture and safety climate, CPWR has made these topics one of our top priorities including engaging stakeholders and developing resources and tools.

The June 2013 Safety Culture and Climate in Construction: Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice Workshop, resulted in a report and recommendations, and led to the development of materials, resource, and research that stakeholders can use to strengthen the industry’s safety culture and climate.

Link to CPWR for more information

OSHA Safety and Health Culture

Creating a Safety Culture

Why do you want a strong safety culture?

It has been observed at the OSHA VPP sites and confirmed by independent research that developing strong safety cultures have the single greatest impact on incident reduction of any process. It is for this single reason that developing these cultures should be top priority for all managers and supervisors.

What is a safety culture - how will it impact my company?

Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior. An organizations safety culture is the result of a number of factors such as:

  • Management and employee norms, assumptions and beliefs;
  • Management and employee attitudes;
  • Values, myths, stories;
  • Policies and procedures;
  • Supervisor priorities, responsibilities and accountability;
  • Production and bottom line pressures vs. quality issues;
  • Actions or lack of action to correct unsafe behaviors;
  • Employee training and motivation; and
  • Employee involvement or "buy-in."

Link to OSHA for more information


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