Impact of Safety Culture on the Organization

An organization's safety culture reflects the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and values that employees share regarding safety. Since the devastating incident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of an organization's safety culture on safety performance. A "poor" safety culture has been identified as a primary contributing factor in many high profile incidents occurring since that time, such as the Piper Alpha oil platform explosion in the North Sea and the loss of NASA's space shuttle, Challenger.

From working with dozens of organizations and asking a cross section of personnel from a wide variety or industry types their definitions of an ideal safety culture, we have received many responses. However, certain trends have been found, such as those listed below:

  • Safety is held as a value at all levels of the organization

  • Each individual feels responsible for the safety of their co-workers as well as themselves.

  • Each individual is willing and able to go beyond the call of duty to help others.

  • Each individual routinely performs safe and Actively Caring behaviors for the benefit of themselves and others.

  • People at all levels of the organization know their responsibilities and are supported by the organization for their performance.

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