Safety Culture vs Safety Climate

Topics: Occupational safety and health, Organizational structure, Management Pages: 16 (5271 words) Published: September 17, 2012
3.1 Safety Culture3
3.2 Safety Climate5
3.3 Culture versus Climate6
3.4 Why is addressing culture, being promoted as the panacea to the problem of health and safety performance, particularly in the construction industry?8 3.5 Can culture be measured in an organisation? If so, how can it be measured?9 3.6 What are the factors/components of culture?10

3.7 How can health and safety culture be promoted in an organisation?12 References18

Health and Safety until very recently have been terms and conditions that have been overlooked by many industry participants. Companies don’t want have to spend their money and time on something they feel does not contribute directly to the production process and seems more of a disadvantageous task more than anything else. According to Bakri et al (2006:19), providing a safe and healthy workplace can actually be considered as one of the most effective cost reduction strategies. Accidents and property losses can result in a great loss to the company, not only do they cause delays in operations but also directly and indirectly incur excess costs. Wiegmann and von Thaden (2007:2) agree and conclude with various authors that the beginning of the safety culture period of accident investigation and analysis can be traced back to the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986 in which a “poor safety culture” was identified as a factor contributing to the accident by both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Agency. The Chernobyl disaster was the worst accident with regard to nuclear power generation. The recognition of the importance of safety culture based from this experience and to prevent future accidents has led to a plethora of studies attempting to define and assess safety culture in a number of complex, high-risk industries (Zhang et al, 2002:2). In the remaining portion of the document we elaborate further around issues dealing with safety culture and safety climate as well as the difference between the two concepts if any. The other questions given in the assignment brief will also be discussed as part of the full package of this documentation. 3.1 Safety Culture

Various authors have different definitions for the term “safety culture”. According to Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (ACSNI)(HSL, 2002:2) and Cai (2005:18-21), "The safety culture of an organisation is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behaviour that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organisation's health and safety management.” Cai (2005:18-21) and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations (as cited by Brazier, 2007:15 and Cooper, 2002:2) furthermore state that organisations that have a positive safety culture are categorised by infrastructures founded on mutual trust, common perceptions of the importance of safety, and by assurance in the effectiveness of preventative measures. Safety culture is not a difficult idea, but it is usually described in terms of concepts such as ‘trust’, ‘values’ and ‘attitudes’. It can be difficult to describe what these mean, but you can judge whether a company has a good safety culture from what its employees actually do rather than what they say (Brazier, 2007:15). Cooper (2000, as cited by HSE, 2005:iv) agrees stating that the term safety culture can be used to refer to the behavioural aspects (i.e. ‘what people do’), and the situational aspects of the company (i.e. ‘what the organisation has’). Other definitions include “those aspects of the organisational culture which will impact on attitudes and behaviour related to increasing or decreasing risk” (Guldenmund, 2000) and “the attitudes, beliefs and perceptions shared by natural groups as defining norms and values, which determine how they act and react in relation to risks and risk control systems” (Hale, 2000:1-14). Misnan et...
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