A company or project's "Culture" is a culmination of individual beliefs and behaviors, and every person, from the CEO to the newest hire, has an impact on the culture that currently exists. This can be an opportunity or a continuing challenge because people, whether employee or contractor, will propagate the safety behaviors of their co-workers. One of the findings from a major industrial incident was "hazard training was largely passed down by experience from others. Sometimes this guidance was poor, perhaps due to an element of complacency…"

We constantly need to ask ourselves whose behaviors our people are adopting and are they the ones we want passed along.

There is a significant difference in a safety culture and a culture of safety. A safety culture simply describes the beliefs and behaviors demonstrated within an organization or during a project's lifetime. Therefore, a safety culture may be good, focused on reducing incidents and injuries, or it might be poor, tolerating at-risk behaviors that put people and the environment at unnecessary risk. A culture of safety is what we all want to achieve.

The petroleum sector has made significant strides towards improving workplace safety, as evidenced by the fact the industry's Lost Time Incident rate was over 14.0 in 1963 and stands at 0.37 at the end of 2009. Too often though, people still rely on ‘compliance with’ safety policies, procedures and equipment in everyday operations rather than a ‘belief in’ safety. In order to eliminate incidents safety must become a personal issue where each employee and contractor takes personal responsibility for choosing to follow the regulations, using the equipment properly and, most importantly, recognizing and reducing unnecessary at-risk behaviors.

This paper will explore the process of (1) assessing the organization's current culture, (2) aligning the steps necessary to lead change through the organization to support a culture of safety, (3) Application of the system to understand Primary Indicators and (4) communicating a clear, consistent vision enables companies to create a workplace in which employees take personal responsibility for recognizing and reducing at-risk behaviors. When safety becomes a part of the organization's personal beliefs and values, a culture of safety is created.

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