On this page we present an overview of the basic concepts explored on this site and link to more sources of information.  For ideas, discussion, and news,  see the Blog page.

Our slide deck on Health and Safety Culture, Motivation and Influence presented at AIHce 2012 is available here and the slides from 2011 here:  Culture AIHce 2011 . (Please note because the files are so big, please right click and select “save link (or target) as”  — they are too big to be viewed online.)

Our slides from the 2010 AIHce are available here.

You may also want to read an article we recently wrote for the ISSA Culture of Prevention newsletter (page 11).

Contact us for more information.

What is health and safety culture, and how can we influence it?

  1. Health and safety culture is created by the shared attitudes, values and beliefs of all members of a workplace. A lot of research points to culture as a major factor in determining the level of health and safety in an organization.
  2. Developing a strategy to influence  health and safety culture in an organization should start with an assessment of the current state. Sometimes this is done through a health and safety climate or perception survey.  But an organization-wide  survey may not be a good idea unless the organization is ready for change and committed to act on the survey results. The assessment method needs to be right for the organization and the maturity of its culture.
  3. After assessing the current state, the next steps are to choose the right ways to motivate and influence the workplace parties (employers and workers). Important decisions are:
  • Whom do you influence?  Senior management?  Supervisors?  Workers?  Interventions may fail if they aim to change workers’ behavior in the absence of genuine commitment from management. Influence therefore needs to be aimed at advancing the organization up the cultural maturity ladder and this means first getting senior management commitment and buy-in from supervisors and middle management.
  • How can you successfully influence and motivate?  This is where we can learn a lot from social marketing and research in fields like psychology, behavioral economics and decision-making. Research tells us that people’s perceptions can be skewed and their decisions  are not always rational.  If we want to influence change we need to take account of the fact that we’re all “only human”.

Tools Available On-line for Evaluating Workplace Health and Safety Culture

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has produced a very useful guide, Occupational Safety and Health culture assessment – A review of main approaches and selected tools

The following tools were developed for specific industries but are very useful for adaptation to other sectors.

Transport Canada: Score Your Safety Culture – checklist developed by James Reason for the aviation industry.

The UK Health and Safety Executive has a very good tool for assessing workplace stress — actually is useful for culture assessments also.  Plus they have a nifty Excel tool for analyzing results.

more assessment resources

Social Marketing Resources

Tools of Change:  this site has good social marketing resources, and recently added an occupational health and safety page.

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