Culture can be defined as the values, beliefs, and behaviors that are shared and help define a group. The group culture provides cues on how to behave in typical situations and the confidence to ask for support when there is a question. In a safety-first work culture the expectation to work safely is clearly defined and the environment is more predictable. (Merritt, Helmreich, 1996) A safety-first corporate culture is the pre-cursor to job safety. When management is committed to the safety-first value it becomes integrated into every task and a shared value with employees.
Why Develop a Safety-First Culture
A safety-first corporate culture is important for a simple reason, competition. Globalization has intensified the nature of competition. As a result of increased competition, corporations must consistently operate at peak performance levels. In order to meet this demand the work environment must be safe. Organizations that do not operate safely become distracted by injuries and accidents, poor employee morale, penalties, increased medical costs, lawsuits, and negative public image. (Goetsch, 2011) This adversely affects the company’s productivity levels and ultimately leads to company failure.
The pressure of global competition leads some companies to cut corners and sacrifice safety in an effort to stay productive and competitive. In doing so the opposite occurs and the organization becomes unable to operate because of the costs associated with unsafe acts. (Goetsch, 2011) In order to remain competitive an organization must establish and practice the ideal safety culture. The ideal safety culture draws on the elements of: informed culture, reporting culture, learnin...
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...ucture for employees to share and promote the company’s safety-first values.
Goetsch, D.L. (2011). Occupational safety and health for technologists, engineers, and managers (7th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Merritt, A.C., Helmreich, R.L. (1996). Creating and sustaining a safety culture: Some practical strategies. In B. Hayward & A. Lowe (Eds.), Applied Aviation Psychology: Achievement, Change and Challenge (pp. 20-26). Sydney: Avebury Aviation.
Radici, A. (2011). Creating a successful safety culture. Retrieved from http://www.globalskm.com/knowledge-and-insights/Achieve0Articles/2008/Safety-Culture.aspx on September 29, 2011.
Root, D.F. (2005, November) Creating a culture of safety in construction. Risk Management Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.rmmag.com/magazine/printtemplate.cfm?aid=2919 on September 29, 2011.
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