There are numerous tangible and intangible "barriers" that can have a significant impact on organizational safety and health performance. Some are operational in nature, while others may involve decisions made regarding future plans or a current issue. Either can have a profound effect on the safety management culture if unaddressed. Many of these barriers are easily visible, while others are hidden deep within the culture of the organization. If they surface, they can result in human error, risk causation and/or unsafe situations for both workers and the public.
For organizational performance to be maximized, these barriers must be identified and successfully addressed. Too often, many organization EHS professionals are narrowly focused on addressing the outcomes of these barriers and not their real cause. Consequently, much effort and resources are expended in recognizing, evaluating and controlling unsafe actions and unsafe conditions caused by these issues while the true root causes remain unresolved.
Identifying and properly addressing these barriers within an organization is critical to the effectiveness and sustainability of its safety and health management system. These "organizational barriers" and the successful ways of dealing with them will be discussed in this paper.