Culture of Safety in the Workplace: Definition and Traits

What is a safety culture? A safety culture is an organisational culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values and attitudes—and these are shared by the majority of people within the company or workplace. It can be characterised as ‘the way we do things around here’.

Safety Culture

Importance of a culture of safety in the workplace

Maintaining employees’ physical health while working on construction sites depends on having a positive, proactive safety culture in the workplace. Employees are more likely to perform better, learn from their mistakes, and address issues before they cause harm if they feel comfortable talking about safety issues at work. Employees who are guided by an effective safety culture can respond to safety concerns in a timely manner and with accountability. The following are some of the numerous advantages that an effective safety culture can bring to your company:

What is a culture of safety in the workplace?

Positive attitudes toward keeping workers safe while they perform their jobs are referred to as a “culture of safety” in the workplace. In industries like manufacturing or construction where hazards are more likely to occur on a regular basis, safety culture is frequently crucial. Effective safety culture includes positivity and proactivity.

By prioritizing safety over productivity and communicating openly about procedures, workers in management positions and those who are on-site in factories or construction zones can promote positivity. This enables experts to address problems quickly and maintain crucial standards. All employees must be proactive when it comes to safety because doing so demonstrates respect for the workers’ well-being and for their rights to be protected from hazards.

11 Characteristics of a safety culture

The traits that many successful workplace safety cultures share include those in the examples below:

1. Safety is the highest priority

While meeting deadlines and being productive are essential for a workplace to run smoothly, a strong safety culture will put safety first. By encouraging on-site staff to work diligently but cautiously rather than rushing and taking short cuts to meet deadlines, management can demonstrate their commitment to this priority. When safety is given top priority at work, management demonstrates that they value employee health and life more than productivity.

2. Everyone is accountable

In a culture that values safety, everyone on the team is responsible for upholding the rules and regulations. This means that management upholds safety standards and is aware of what is necessary for a safe workplace, while on-site staff adhere to those standards and make sure their coworkers do as well. A workplace with a strong safety culture will hold employees accountable and provide resources to help prevent future incidents when they don’t follow safety procedures.

3. On-site workers influence safety procedures

While management frequently drafts the safety documents, a successful safety culture will incorporate suggestions from the staff who work there when developing the procedures and standards that are described in those documents. This is due to the fact that workers who are directly involved with tools and equipment on the job site typically have more knowledge of the risks involved than their managers do. Safety documents are made more complete and useful by asking on-site workers to contribute information.

4. All levels of management understand safety

Although those in management positions don’t regularly use dangerous tools and equipment, it’s still crucial that they are aware of the company’s safety policies to promote positive safety communication. Management can regularly check in with their on-site staff to ensure compliance, identify potential risks, and answer questions to deepen their understanding. When management is aware of workplace safety, they are more likely to respond to employee concerns and develop efficient procedures.

5. Safety supervisors receive support

Work zones are monitored by safety supervisors to make sure that workers adhere to all safety regulations. It’s crucial to assist safety supervisors in their work in order to uphold a positive safety culture at work. Support could take the form of employees following supervisors’ instructions, seeking clarification on safety procedures, or motivating their coworkers to follow safety procedures. Additionally, management can assist safety supervisors by paying attention to their issues and resolving them.

6. Improvement is continuous

Maintaining a supportive, proactive safety culture at work requires constant improvement of safety standards and procedures. Managers often review policies and update them to reflect new information, such as switching equipment brands or implementing new production methods. Making safety a top priority at work can be facilitated by timely updates and ongoing procedure improvements.

7. Management encourages communication

A company’s communication at all levels contributes to the positive promotion of workplace safety. On-site staff can discuss concerns that management might not be aware of thanks to frequent, clear communication. Offering opportunities for collaboration sessions, maintaining open lines of communication with on-site employees, and making it simple for teams to report safety concerns are some ways management can promote communication.

8. All employees support risk mitigation

Employees who stop potentially hazardous work are rewarded for doing so, even if it means losing materials or missing a deadline. Employees on-site are encouraged by safety culture to be conscious of, recognize, and address hazards as soon as possible to minimize potential risks. Positive safety cultures also value rewarding employees who recognize and implement risk mitigation strategies because doing so can make on-site staff feel more confident in their ability to take charge in a crisis.

9. Employees attend regular training

A good way to inform new hires and stress the value of maintaining a safe workplace is through regular safety training. Training can be specific to a job or more general, such as lectures on chemical processes or electrical conductors. Making training accessible to all staff members is one of the best ways to change attitudes toward safety. This may involve scheduling training after work or on weekends or providing paid training opportunities so that staff members can participate in training while they are at work.

10. Safety procedures are accessible

Clear and accessible safety procedures are necessary for a successful safety culture at work. Each workplace may have its own specific set of safety documents, but many of them are useful to have on hand. Make multiple copies of important safety documents and keep them in locations where staff members can easily access them.

11. Employee surveys show positive results

Another characteristic of positive safety culture is employee satisfaction. Employees who have a positive attitude toward the safety culture at their workplace frequently feel more at ease and secure working for their organizations Results from employee surveys on safety culture can also be used by management to discuss methods for increasing employee satisfaction and engagement.


What are the 5 elements of safety culture?

Use OSG’s six tips to begin establishing and maintaining a strong and positive safety culture in your workplace
  1. Communicate. …
  2. Provide Training. …
  3. Lead by Example. …
  4. Develop and Implement a Positive Reporting Process. …
  5. Involve Workers. …
  6. Put your JHSC into Action. …
  7. Download our free Safety Culture Review Tool today.

How do you promote safety culture in the workplace?

5 Crucial Elements Of A Successful And Positive Safety Culture
  • Shared Values. A set of shared values at every level is the very cornerstone of any successful safety culture.
  • Leadership Involvement. …
  • Continuous Learning. …
  • Accountability. …
  • Constant Support.

What is effective safety culture?

When workers are aware of the value of safety and display good safety behaviors, there is a positive safety culture. Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) without being asked, finishing risk assessments for all jobs, and reporting all incidents are examples of positive safety behaviors.

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