The culture inorganizations arises from the interactions of people in their daily lives andhelps define the expectations and standards ofbehavior it . The culture is a complex conceptthat involves many factors, which develops over time depending on thecircumstances, the environment and experience of the organization.
The Safety Culture refersto the elements of culture that specifically address security. There is nosingle objective scientific measure of safety culture . Thisis because contributing factors vary, not only between organizations but alsowithin them. Different departments have different security requirementsand needs, for example operational and financial, and the prevailing SecurityCulture will develop from these. External factors such asregulatory requirements, education levels, social structures, and nationalculture will also contribute to an organization's safetyculture.
The Culture of Safety is anestablished concept and used very commonly in sectors such as railways oraeronautics. However, it lacks a consensual definition. The lack of adefinition has meant that theoretical discussion and practical applicationsoften deviate from effective and useful channels for organizations.(Video) Health and safety risk assessment and management
That said, an easy way todescribe Safety Culture is to look at the factors thatcontribute to people's behavior. The SGS ( SecurityManagement System ) provides the basis defining and prescribingthrough policies and procedures what is required. In a utopia, the SGS wouldbe perfect and all management and staff would deliver. Unfortunately, autopia is a utopia, and what happens is that management and staff try to makesense of the content of the SMS based on their values,attitudes and beliefs derived from personal experience combined with the normsof workplace behavior. and society. If the SMS makessense and there is a culture of compliance, the correct behaviors will befollowed. If not, individual interpretations will be made andalternative solutions applied. These will be based on an individual riskassessment that weighs the factors that influence the decisions made . Therisk assessment will not only focus on the real risk, but will also includefactors related to convenience, the risk of being seen or not being seen by notfollowing the regulatory channels, the words and actions of other people in theorganization, etc. . The interdependence between the SMS, the creationof meaning and behavior, therefore, defines the Safety Culture.
Measuring SafetyCulture requires an understanding of the three factors and theirinterdependence. As previously stated, there is no single objectivescientific measure of Safety Culture . Instead, the characteristicsthat affect Safety Culture can be analyzed in light of thethree factors.
To understand the SafetyCulture in an organization, specialists develop models, whichgenerally involve the set of attributes of a positive SafetyCulture . The following diagram presents, in summary form, themodel used by Leedeo Engineering in terms of theimplementation and continuous improvement of a positive SafetyCulture associated with a Safety Management System .
Based on the previous model, we alsodesigned a very powerful and interesting correlation between most of theelements of a Safety Management System (not all, but the vastmajority) and the predominant attributes of a Safety Culture, asshown in the table below. This correlation between SGS and SafetyCulture will be the starting point to develop the interdependence thatwe have previously discussed ( SGS, creation of meaning andbehavior ):
We already have an SGS, why do wealso need to ensure Safety Culture?
An SMS represents thecompetence of an organization in the area of security , and itis important to have an SMS and competent personnel to executeit. But such rules and processes may not always be followed, especially ifpeople in the organization believe that, for example, "trainpunctuality" is the real top priority, even if risks are takenoccasionally. To ensure the required commitment to safety ,organizational leaders must demonstrate that safety is theirpriority.
Therefore, organizations need bothan SMS and a healthy Safety Culture toachieve acceptable safety performance . Faced with this, there will always be strongresistance to change, moreover, from our experience in the railway industry:Generally, the railway is very safe, and accidents, both slight slasserious they occur only rarely. This means that almost all organizationswill mistakenly assume that their systems, processes and performances aretotally safe and under control, in addition to being totally inefficient (oruseless) reactive improvement processes. Keep going based on incidentexperience.
Real rail accidents are often complexand multiple causes can be identified, so they are not always easy topredict. Even more difficult to see are the situations in the dailyrunning of the organization that affect the "vision of the future" ofan organization in terms of security. For example, underreporting ofincidents due to fears of recrimination or prosecution; people whotake risks because they think that is what they are supposed todo; different subgroups that do not share information due to lack ofmutual trust; etc.
The Safety Culture shouldbe seen as a key business objective so that people with taskswith associated risks feel empowered to act in the interestsof safety, knowing that the management will supportthem. This improvement in mutual trust is always accompanied by a positiveimpact on productivity.
At Leedeo Engineering ,we are specialists in the implementation of models and processes to improve thesecurity of organizations, including the Culture of Security . Donot hesitate to contact us for more information about our services. Contact >>