In this post we discuss how some organizations go beyond safety awareness and training, to create a safety culture that permeates every aspect of their operations.
One of the keys to establishing such a culture is to create built-in systems that promote safety at every stage of every process. Safety then becomes intrinsic to the behaviours, thoughts and attitudes of the entire workforce, rather than a series of points on a checklist. We call this operationalizing safety culture, and when it works it helps ensure that everyone within the organization works together toward zero incidents.
To learn more about safety culture, and how it is operationalized, we spoke with Cameron MacGillivray, Enform’s president and CEO:
Q: What do you mean by safety culture?
Cameron explained that workplace safety is determined by organizational culture in the same way that the behaviours and attitudes of families, nations and businesses are affected by their culture:
Q: How do organizations operationalize safety culture?
According to Cameron, in order to operationalize safety culture, companies must put systems in place, clearly define appropriate behaviours and instigate measurable actions to achieve their safety goals. Those systems start with conscious decisions at the executive level:
Q: In a company with a good safety culture, does it become operationalized naturally?
Cameron described operationalizing safety culture as a deliberate practice involving clearly defined actions, behaviours and expectations:
Q: Once systems are put in place by executives, what role do others play in promoting the safety culture?
Making safety an integral part of operations
The process of operationalizing safety culture ensures that everyone within an organization understands their roles and responsibilities. “It takes away from the nebulous concept that safety culture can be, and translates it into the things that we can actually do, the practices that we support and behaviours that we’ve agreed to,” said Cameron.
Here at Enform we are so committed to the value of operationalizing safety culture that we are creating a course on that specific topic just for Industry Executives. It will be an invaluable resource for executives looking to promote safer behaviours and attitudes throughout their organization. Stay tuned for details in an upcoming post.
To read more from Cameron on the importance of ongoing training, and the elements of organizational safety, read these previous blog posts: