Building a Safety Culture

Safety culture is the way in which safety is managed in the workplace, and reflects the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employers and employees share in relation to safety. Every organization has a safety culture. The question is whether the safety culture is what we want it to be. If the culture is not what we want it to be, what can we do to change it. 

Positive Safety Culture

  • Communication is open at all levels of the organization and feedback is seen as vital to improving safety processes. 
  • Individuals at all levels focus on what can be done to prevent injuries or illnesses. 
  • There is a commitment to safety regardless of all other concerns. 
  • People and their well-being are valued. The focus is on protecting people, not the bottom line. 
  • All personnel, especially supervisors, demonstrate their commitment to safety by following all safety processes and procedures, as they instruct their employees to do. 

Negative Safety Culture

  • Communication is not open at all levels; employees do not openly communicate with upper management and employers do not communicate with employees. 
  • Safety rules are used to discipline employees. 
  • Management may not follow safety rules. 
  • Production demands require less focus on safety. 
  • Management’s concern is not for the well being of the employees, but rather for a good safety record. 

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What kind of safety culture do we have on this site? 
  • What can our management team do to improve our safety culture? What can you do, individually, to improve our safety culture? 
  • If you could change one thing about our safety culture, what would it be?