What is Safety Culture?

“The safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management. Organizations with a positive safety culture are characterized by communications founded on mutual trust, by shared perceptions of the importance of safety, and by confidence in the efficacy (efficiency and effectiveness) of preventive measures.” [1]

An organization’s culture can have as big an influence on safety outcomes as the safety management system itself. ‘Safety culture’ is a subset of the overall company culture and societal culture.

Many companies talk about ‘safety culture’ when referring to the inclination of their employees to comply with rules, and act safely or not. However, we find that both the culture and the style of leadership have even more influence on safety culture and performance. Examples include placing a higher priority on safety rather than production, not focusing on the short-term, and being highly proactive, which will all result in a good safety culture.


[1] ACSNI Human Factors Study Group, Third report – Organizing for safety, HSE Books

Do you want to know more about Safety Culture? Download our Safety Culture eBook

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