A Safety culture is a term that is offering companies a different perspective to achieve higher standards of safety. This term can be defined as a special place where an individual or group value and have concern for the company and the safety for those they work with. Two other concepts which has sparked an interest are Collectful Mindfulness and Risk Awareness, which all involve a cultural approach to safety and the level of compliance a worker has in their Participative Arrangements
This concept is often put to the side or thought of as less significant in the development and implementation of a Safety Management System.
Safety performance has been achieved through the unwavering commitment and dedication from all levels of the organisation to create a safety culture which is generally accepted by employers and contractors as one of their core personal values – Hopkins, 2000
ESSENTIALLY, it is less likely that positive behaviour change will occur if workers do not reflect the values and desires of the company.
A Safety Management System is a set of organizational policies and procedures based on best practice and legislative requirement to help maintain a safe workplace, however this alone is not enough to mitigate risk or risky behavior because a poor culture can undo the most comprehensive Safety Management System.
Sceptics may argue that there is no statistical evidence to prove culture in the work place can interfere with the processes of a solid Safety Management System, but evidence is mounting that culture is a powerful tool in the compliance of safety and should not be dismissed.
There are various instances where a poor safety culture has caused catastrophic events. This is no more evident than in the Sydney train crash in 1999 that killed 7 people and the Amberly Air-Force toxic event that effect the health of almost 400 people.
In both these cases poor attitude, communication and Laissez-faire behaviors to safety significantly contributed to these terrible outcomes.