Author: Umayr Mahbub
Safety culture is the ways in which safety is managed in the workplace, and often reflects the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety. It has also been described as “how an organization behaves when no one is watching”.
It can be difficult to find a starting point to build safety culture and tackle systemic issues in the workplace.
There are some basic principles we can apply for integrating safety culture into the workplace.
- Safety is part of how work is done,
- Safety should be part of every discussion and decision,
- Safety should be discussed upfront and early.
Some questions we should ask ourselves are:
- How do we build safety culture at all levels of the organization?
- How do we ensure importance is granted to safety in all decisions and compromises?
The goal is to create a workplace where a large number of players are contributing to safety, taking action, and achieving resolution.
Let’s take a look at an example of how safety culture is included in process design, procedures, and operations:
- There should be a process for managing organization change or technical projects which grant significant importance to safety.
- It’s important to involve subject matter experts, employee representatives, and workers to capture technical systems and organizational factors from those who are experienced on the shop floor.
- Change to the job, introduction of new equipment, facility improvements, and maintenance are examples of opportunities to design safety into processes.
- Implement technical barriers which can include interlocking devices, automation, machine guarding, protective systems, etc.
- Monitoring systems and preventative maintenance plans should be integrated.
Understanding human error and the factors that influence their behavior is vital to design workstations and work environments. A group effort and attention to safety at all levels of the organization will make the difference in preventing injuries and achieving long-term employee health. Applying a human centered approach in the technical design, work environment, and procedures can take into account the reality of activities and the constraints workers face daily. Considering human factors and building on the concept of safety by design is a collaborative opportunity in the workplace. Depending on the industry, this can be achieved through Hazard Operability Studies, Change Control Meetings, and Design Reviews, as examples.
The intention to involve operational staff and experts in safety in the process of design workstations is to create a more communicative and participative approach. There is valuable input on all organization levels that can be used to improve the design of facilities, technical barriers, and organizational factors.
Integrating safety culture into the workplace can contribute to a continuous improvement cycle with safety at the forefront of change.
Sandalwood believes workplaces require careful consideration of the interaction between process, equipment, and the human.
The Sandalwood advantage is our dedication to safety within an engineering company.
Our team of safety, ergonomics, and engineering professionals understand human factors and apply this knowledge with full appreciation of the demands of productive output and the processes which are required to achieve it.
If you are looking for strategies to better integrate safety into the workplace;
Contact us at https://sandalwood.com/ or 248-848-9500 (U.S.) / 905-473-3404 (Canada) / +52-662-171-5137 (Mexico)
Borbidge, D. (2012, August 02). Cultivate a safety culture. Retrieved from https://www.ishn.com/articles/93786-cultivate-a-safety-culture-
“Safety Culture” working group of ICSI. (2018, January 01). Safety Culture: From Understanding to Action. Retrieved from https://www.foncsi.org/en/publications/collections/industrial-safety-cahiers/safety-culture-from-understanding-to-action/view