Safety culture and its development have been a hot topic in business circles for a long time now. In the past, companies have led safety through outcome metrics such as accident rate or loss of earnings, and in more advanced companies via proactive metrics such as safety observations. Indicators are paramount to organizational management operations but leading through numbers alone is no longer viable these days. So, what is the significance of a safety culture for overall safety?
“Safety culture describes the individual and group mentality of the entire organization towards safety. It also represents the extent of participation in safety activities and the overall spirit surrounding safety in the organization. In practice, it is the foundation on which organizations construct all safety activities, and its importance increases together with safety development,” Marko Salomäki, a Safety Manager for Raide-Jokeri’s, reveals about the importance of safety culture.
Like all other operations, safety cultures need management, but how can an organization make its safety culture thrive?
“Knowing your current level of safety culture is crucial so that operations can be better developed and managed. However, understanding your current level requires measuring the safety culture. If you do not know the current condition of your safety culture, it is like driving a car with your eyes closed,” Salomäki comments.
Marko has first-hand experience of safety culture measurement with Kiwa, and the feedback has only been positive:
“We conducted an organization-wide safety culture measurement as an online survey. Personnel answered the survey via QR-codes and links, and the entire survey was anonymous and effortless for all staff and subcontractors to participate. The survey provided a way to understand the underlying situation of the organization as a whole and gave us a high-quality report to utilize in development efforts,” Salomäki expands on his own experiences.
The results are what Salomäki gives Kiwa the most praise.
“The survey went smoothly, and we had a quality report in our hands within a few weeks of starting. Kiwa paid close attention to the results, highlighted our strengths and weaknesses, and made proposals for further development actions. Based on these, it was easy to start moving things forward in our organization,” Salomäki says.
From the point of view of developing a safety culture, it is important to define goals and monitor their implementation. A key part of assessing the success of the development measures is regular monitoring of the safety culture.
“Safety culture measurement must be an ongoing process to successfully assess the quality of development measures and their actual impact on the safety culture. Continuous measurement allows monitoring of the situation and tweaking the development measures if needed. My view is that measurements should be done every year,” Marko Salomäki assesses the importance of monitoring.
Read more about Kiwa’s Safety Culture Measurement -service