Safety culture is now recognized as being a significant influencer of safety outcomes within the workplace. However positively changing safety culture has proven to be a bigger challenge than expected in many organisations. If current strategies and initiative have failed to have the impact that was desired, perhaps it is time to discard them and explore other options.
Using a traditional safety model where the physical environment, systems of work, and personal behavior all interact to impact on safety outcomes, this paper takes a a unique approach to revamp and reorganize this model in a pway which identifies the key drivers and outputs required. What emerges is a very practical and logical model that clearly shows the various strategies that should be focused on in the areas of safety control (safe environment), safety management (systems of work) and safety leadership (safe behaviours). With reference then to safety culture being an influencer of safety in general, and safety culture being directly affected by the safety attitudes of personnel, then safety leadership becomes the key driver for change.
Safety leadership is something that everyone already does. Effective and positive safety leadership on the other hand requires a safety thinking mindset, and then the application of leadership skills such as leading safe behaviours, coaching safety thinking and rewarding positive safety behaviors. In addition, some strategies that appear to be safety focused may in fact be harming safety culture. These include the recording and measurement of incident data, the use of safety slogans, and in particular the use of "zero harm" terminology. Organisation should consider discarding these strategies.