Safety Climate Assessment


Safety culture is a sub-facet of organisational culture, which is thought to affect members' attitudes and behaviour in relation to an organisation’s ongoing health and safety performance. Hence, safety culture is a concept intrinsically linked to organisational culture and safety performance. Numerous studies have linked safety culture to a number of safety-related outcomes, including: performance of safe work practices; safety program activities and effectiveness; and interpretations of accidents and other safety incidents.

The terms safety culture and safety climate may both be used to describe the ways in which members of organisations make sense of the overall safety of their work environment. Safety culture, however, exists at a higher level, relating in part to overarching policies and goals. Whereas, safety climate, on the other hand, is often used to describe the more “tangible” outputs of an organisation’s safety culture. For example, how people perceive and describe the importance given to safety issues by the organisation at a particular point in time, and how local arrangements are seen to reflect this. In this way, safety climate is regarded as a manifestation of safety culture in the behaviour and expressed attitudes of employees.

Achieving a "positive" or "total" safety culture requires the organisation identify the barriers preventing employees and leaders from performing their best. Otherwise, tremendous effort may be lost pursuing initiatives that miss the mark. Dutcher SMS offers a comprehensive safety climate assessment that measures employees’ perceptions about the overall effectiveness of the organisation’s safety culture. Results of the assessment serve a number of functions. They act as a diagnostic tool to target areas warranting attention, and identify barriers to the improvement efforts. The results can also be used as a performance measure to assess the success of ongoing safety improvement efforts. Finally, the assessment provides an avenue for employee input into safety improvement efforts.

How can Dutcher SMS help?

Dutcher SMS uses a safety culture assessment methodology based on a systems approach to organisational culture. This approach combines a number of qualitative and quantitative assessment methods (i.e., questionnaires, focus groups, behavioural observations, examination of written records and databases, and document analysis) to describe and explore the efficacy of health and safety management systems via the following dimensions:

  • Management Commitment

  • Communication

  • Priority of Safety

  • Safety Rules

  • Work Environment

  • Management Style

  • Managing Change

  • Systems Compliance

  • Involvement Supportive Environment

  • Co-operation

  • Accidents and Incidents

  • Appreciation of Risk

  • Personal Priorities

  • Shared Values

  • Competence

  • Safe Behaviours

The evidence produced by these methods are complementary rather than alternatives and provide different views of organisational health and safety culture by tapping many aspects of the organisation’s structure, function and behaviour to understand what drives your organisation's safety culture (i.e., organisational drivers and controls, and drivers at the individual level). Dutcher SMS also provides guidance on interpretation of results and their application to formulate action plans and possible improvement strategies, including:

  • Safety Management Systems' Maturity Path

    Organisations rely on a number of processes and procedures to manage risk and thereby decrease incidents and injuries. These generally include systems such as safety rules and procedures, safety training, hazard identification and correction, discipline, incident reporting and analysis, safety communications, safety suggestions, and rewards and recognition. Each safety management system has an important contribution to make in terms of not only improving workplace safety, but also positively impacting an organisation’s safety culture. At best, when the system is poorly designed or operating ineffectively, its ability to affect beneficial change is compromised. At worst, a poorly designed, badly implemented, or ill-functioning system can actually have a destructive influence on an organisation’s overall safety culture.

    Dutcher SMS can use results from the Safety Climate Assessment to assess the systems’ ongoing influence your organisation’s safety culture. Working with a representative team from the organisation, Dutcher SMS facilitates a structured exercise to assess perceptions about numerous aspects of the safety management systems (all of which are briefly assessed in the questionnaire) that most influence employees’ engagement in the safety culture.

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Dutcher Safety & Meteorology Services (2003 - 2009)
Last Updated: 06 Jan 0