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Why What You Don’t Know About Safety Culture Is Hurting Your Safety Performance

Workers proactively putting on PPE

Safety culture is a perennial topic of interest for safety professionals. Because it can have a sizable impact on day-to-day safety outcomes, it’s understandable why there’s so much talk about how to improve workplace safety culture.

As a new white paper on safety culture and safety climate argues, safety culture is as important as everyone says it is—but focusing on changing it directly may not be the most effective way forward. That’s because safety culture is such a massive social construct that is influenced by many disparate factors, and it can be nearly impossible to change it quickly. Instead, it’s better to focus on the day-to-day safety climate, which can lead to more sustainable shifts in culture over time.

Safety climate—which you can think of as what are people’s attitudes about safety right now?—can be a more manageable issue to tackle than culture. But not all interventions are equal. The white paper, titled Six Leadership Skills For Improving Safety Climate, makes a convincing case that developing several soft skills in your leadership team can effectively shift the workplace climate.

Delving into a large body of research, as well as some primary fieldwork, the paper demonstrates that “super-charging these skills can lead to a better safety culture and can positively change the narrative about safety performance, outcome reliability and injury reduction.” The primary goal is to improve communication and interpersonal connections among work teams, and that depends heavily on frontline leaders’ capabilities.

The end result is improved safety engagement on a daily basis. Over time, that can lead to better compliance rates, more cohesive work teams, and fewer injuries and incidents. With so much to gain, it’s worth reading this new safety climate white paper.

On-demand webinar

An Expert Look at Employee Engagement and Safety

Without employee engagement, even compliance can be hard to achieve. This webinar, with insight from experts, was created to help busy professionals find the right approach to increase engagement in safety. The accompanying resources aim to help you apply this new knowledge and continue learning about the subject.

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