· Management and employee attitudes
Generally, a company’s safety culture is a direct reflection of the organization’s overarching culture and the people who work in it. As a result, most employees will generate their perceptions of safety and its importance based on the attitude their employer projects.
The following are four main types of safety cultures held by U.S. companies:
1. Forced Culture – A company with a forced safety culture uses bribes and threats as a way to motivate employees to keep safety at top of mind. Health and safety officers at these organizations are seen as police-like because of their constant need to enforce codes and rules. In addition, employees view these individuals as solely in existence to catch them doing unsafe acts and to punish them. In these cultures, the employees’ fear of being punished is so overwhelming that their performance lacks, which also does not produce an enjoyable working environment.
2. Protective Culture – A company with a protective safety culture prescribes a substantial amount of rules and regulations onto their employees. If an employee were to violate one of the rules, this may prompt management to create more rules. This ultimately creates confusion, as there are too many regulating factors in place.
3. Involved Culture – A company with an involved safety culture provides an abundance of safety training for employees, with the exception of top management officials. Though morale is higher at organizations with involved cultures because safety officers are not constantly policing employee actions, they also run the risk of not being as safe as they could potentially be. Management should be integrated into the safety culture to make it flourish.
4. Integral Culture – A company with an integral safety culture also provides an abundance of safety training for employees and they are attended by individuals at all pay scales. In these organizations, safety officers have budgets and authority, and enforce rules when appropriate.
In a strong, successful safety culture (the Integral Culture model), everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis by going beyond the “call of duty” to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, and to intervene to correct them. In addition, coworkers look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other. As a result, a company with a strong safety culture typically experiences few at-risk behaviors, and consequently experiences lower accident rates, lower turn-over rates, lower absenteeism and higher productivity. Overall, they are companies who are extremely successful because they excel in all aspects of business.
Promoting a Safety Culture at Your Organization
Creating an effective safety culture is an integral part of your loss control efforts. Contact The LL Roberts Group Risk Management Dept. today at 877.878.643 for more assistance with all your employee safety needs.