The title of this presentation might sound like heresy to many safety professionals. The title was purposefully selected to be provocative, and begin to change the way many safety professionals address the subject of "safety culture." One can open almost any issue of well-known safety publications, such as Professional Safety, EHS Today, IS&H News and Occupational Health and Safety, and find one or two articles describing how to achieve a strong safety culture. This presentation takes issue with the concept of an independent strong safety culture. The premise we are putting forward is that in order to achieve world-class safety performance, safety must be integrated into the overarching culture of the entire enterprise. In other words, safety has to be part of the DNA of the enterprise, not something appended to it. Think about it. Does an enterprise have a separate HR culture, quality culture, cost culture, customer service culture, etc., or are these critical elements embodied in the overarching organizational culture? Great enterprises have a single culture that includes all of the critical elements just listed, including S&H.

The culture of an enterprise is driven by the values of the enterprise, and the values of an enterprise are driven by the senior leadership of the enterprise. Therefore, safety must initially be embraced as a corporate value before it can be part of the enterprise's culture. The S&H function of an enterprise can work tirelessly to improve safety performance, but if safety is not considered a critical or strategic value of the enterprise, these efforts will not permeate and influence the enterprise.

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