10 of the Most Commonly Asked Safety Culture Questions - Premier Safety Partners

10 of the Most Commonly Asked Safety Culture Questions

Today, everyone seems to be talking about the importance of an organization's safety culture.

Safety culture is the way safety is valued, prioritized, and perceived in any organization. It actually reflects the real commitment to safety at all levels. Simply put, safety culture can be most easily defined as "how your business acts when nobody's watching."

Continue reading for the answers to 10 of the most frequently asked safety culture questions.

Top 10 Safety Culture Questions

What's included in safety culture?

Safety culture includes all of the attitudes, practices, and beliefs about safety that exists in any establishment. The company culture can be defined as the atmosphere created by those attitudes, beliefs, etc.

Your safety culture actually shapes the behavior of your employees and is the result of a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Values, myths, and stories;
  • Employee and management norms, beliefs, and assumptions;
  • Employee and management attitudes;
  • Procedures and policies
  • Supervisor responsibilities, priorities, and accountability
  • Lack of actions or actions designed to correct unsafe behaviors
  • Bottom line and production pressures vs. quality issues
  • Motivation and employee training
  • Employee involvement or "buy in.

Are employees comfortable asking safety questions?

If your employees are not comfortable asking safety related questions or fear getting disciplined for raising safety concerns, it's very likely someone will get hurt by one of those uncorrected hazards.

The best organizations have an open flow of communication, and management is always willing to address safety concerns.

Are employees from one trade comfortable with approaching someone from another trade if there is an unsafe situation?

Simply put, no one likes to be questioned, especially by an individual from a different trade. The most common response is "Who are you to tell me how to do my job properly?"

However, in the most positive environment, workers from different departments feel free to offer advice to those in different departments to prevent injuries.

Are employees required to report close calls and incidents?

In environments with a healthy safety culture, employees are always looking for new ways to improve safety, which requires learning from those close calls. If these incidents are dismissed or ignored, it becomes much less likely to prevent a more tragic event in the future.

One of the most defining safety culture questions is whether your employees are encouraged to report close calls and incidents.

How are unsafe conditions addressed?

It's vital all reports of unsafe conditions are promptly corrected. If not, it will communicate to employees their safety are not valued.

However, when hazards are promptly corrected, employees will feel valued and will be more compelled to report those situations in the future.

Can your employees refuse to work in unsafe conditions?

The safest work environments are those when management trust employees enough to make determinations about their own safety. Simply put, if a worker deems an area unsafe to work, they shouldn't be required to work in the respective conditions. It communicates the trust and respect the organization has for each employee.

How active are supervisors in the safety process?

Supervisors should discuss safety at every meeting and walk around the site to promptly identify problems. Simply put, supervisors shouldn't just talk the talk, but they should walk the walk.

If safety isn't discussed on every walk-around and discussed at meeting, it will be even more difficult to convince workers of its importance. It's imperative supervisors lead by example.

Does your company provide incentives that discourages incident reporting?

While everyone adores incentives, programs that discourage employees from reporting safety incidents in any form can totally negate your safety culture.

Since no employee wants to be blamed for being the reason for not getting an incentive, it's vital to craft your programs wisely. They must be designed in a way not to discourage incident reporting.

Are your employees under pressure and more inclined to take shortcuts?

Most projects are under immense budget and time pressure, which may cause employees to look for shortcuts. One way to mitigate these pressures is with better planning that includes provisions for safety. If you still can't find time, you may need to dedicate more resources to make sure your safety is not sacrificed.

Does the management team listen well?

Although employee participation is key for all safety programs, supervisors must also be active listeners. They must actively take suggestions for improvements and never brush these suggestions off.

In most instances, your employees will have the best suggestions because they are on the ground and are most likely to know where the problems exist.

Contact Premier Safety Partners for Feasible Safety Solutions

Premier Safety Partners are leaders in the industry of safety. We offer decades of experience across a wide range of industries, including construction, defense and space, manufacturing, energy, and several other sectors.

Regardless of whether you need onsite consulting, a customized safety plan, or onsite training, Premier Safety Partners offers effective and innovative solutions.

Contact Premier Safety Partners today to transform the safety culture of your business.

About the Author

Scott Ray is an industry leader in Health and Safety. Recognized for his business acumen and innovative approach, Scott has a track record in successfully implementing H&S systems that result in fostering a culture of operational excellence. His 25 year Health and Safety career includes both technical and leadership experience within diverse industries including energy/utilities, manufacturing, higher education, construction, defense and aerospace.