Safety Culture vs. Safety Climate: Identifying The Differences and Their Common Indicators

Safety culture and safety climate are related yet different concepts, the use of which could be confusing. This blog will further explain the distinction in these two concepts and their implications for safety leaders.

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Safety culture and safety climate are related yet different concepts, the use of which could be confusing. This blog will further explain the distinction in these two concepts and their implications for safety leaders.

Safety culture embodies “the deeply held, but often unspoken, safety-related beliefs, attitudes and values that interact with an organization’s systems, practices, people and leadership to establish norms about how things are done in the organization,” according to the Center for Construction Research (CPWR). In a strong safety culture, safety comes first and is embedded as a fundamental value of an organization. Companies that focus on building a strong safety culture are taking the proactive approach to ensure productive and safe jobsites, as opposed to reactively address the issue after an incident has happened.

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[Webinar] Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry

Safety and health considerations need to permeate all levels of a construction company’s culture, informing decisions, planning, activities and behaviors. It is not enough to simply have safety rules, training and protocols in effect. Leading companies nurture a comprehensive safety culture throughout their organizations, both from the top down and the bottom up.

“Safety and health considerations need to permeate all levels of a construction company’s culture, informing decisions, planning, activities and behaviors. It is not enough to simply have safety rules, training and protocols in effect. Leading companies nurture a comprehensive safety culture throughout their organizations, both from the top down and the bottom up.

In this report, our latest study on safety management in the construction industry, we take a close look at 33 indicators of a safety culture, including:

  • Measures of Management Commitment to Safety and Health
  • Worker Involvement in Jobsite Safety
  • Company Communications on Safety
  • The Degree to Which Safety is Treated as a Fundamental Company Value

Continue reading “[Webinar] Building a Safety Culture: Improving Safety and Health Management in the Construction Industry”

Top 5 Reasons Companies Invest In Current Safety Management Practices

Understanding the risk at hand, more companies are actively investing in safety management practices to prevent unfortunate incidents from happening. The 2016 SmartMarket Report asked survey respondents to rank factors that most influenced their companies to adopt the current safety management practices. Its finding shows that factors like “regulatory requirements” and “owner/client demand” are on the decline, while factors linked directly to positive effects of a strong safety culture are on the rise.

The benefits of a strong safety culture are increasingly recognized, leading companies to realize the difference a passive approach makes in comparison to an active one. Companies that passively react when a workplace incident happens tend to face a much larger cost. Additionally, this summer OSHA announced adjusting its civil penalty amounts for inflation starting August 1, 2016. Following the new rule, OSHA’s maximum penalties which had stayed the same since 1990, now increase by 78 percent. Top penalty for serious violations hence increases from $7,000 to $12,471 and maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations increases from $70,000 to $124,709.

Understanding the risk at hand, more companies are actively investing in safety management practices to prevent unfortunate incidents from happening. The 2016 SmartMarket Report asked survey respondents to rank factors that most influenced their companies to adopt the current safety management practices. Its finding shows that factors like “regulatory requirements” and “owner/client demand” are on the decline, while factors linked directly to positive effects of a strong safety culture are on the rise.

Here are the top five reasons companies invest in current safety management practices in the construction industry:  

Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons Companies Invest In Current Safety Management Practices”

7 Aspects of A World Class Safety Program (Part 2)

Strong safety leadership, regular safety meetings, strong emphasis on communication, and prompt and thorough incident and near miss investigations, are all critical aspects of a world class safety program.

We’ve discussed the three aspects of a world-class safety program, the importance placed on which showed the most striking difference between 2012 and 2015, according to the SmartMarket Report’s longitudinal study. Besides jobsite workers’ involvement, ongoing access to safety training for supervisors and jobsite workers, and hazard assessments and safety plans at each new jobsite, the other four significant elements include: strong safety leadership abilities in supervisors (considered essential by 82 percent of the 2016 SmartMarket Report survey respondents), regular safety meetings with jobsite workers and supervisors (80 percent), strong emphasis on communication for company and project (71 percent), and lastly, prompt and thorough incident and near miss investigations (63 percent).

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[Whitepaper] How To Implement An Effective Health And Safety Training Process

Regardless of the employer offering or requiring training courses, an ongoing and effective training program can make a huge difference between a measurable presence of a safety culture, or just an image of one.

While nearly all of the 2016 SmartMarket Report survey respondents (97%) indicated that their companies provide environmental health and safety (EH&S) training, fewer (87%) stated that their companies require all of jobsite workers to have basic EH&S training. Regardless of the employer offering or requiring training courses, an ongoing and effective training program can make a huge difference between a measurable presence of a safety culture, or just an image of one.

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Aspects of A World-Class Safety Program: Trends & Applications

A world-class safety program requires continuous improvements, and should also be measurable. The SmartMarket Report survey respondents were asked to pinpoint essential aspects of a world-class safety program in 2012 and in 2015.

The term “world-class,” in short, indicates being among the best. Having a world-class safety program means having the highest quality, most effective, and cutting edge safety program that moves the incident rate towards zero. A world-class safety program requires continuous improvements, and should also be measurable. The SmartMarket Report survey respondents were asked to pinpoint essential aspects of a world-class safety program in 2012 and in 2015. The data collected allows for recording of changes and trends over these three years. The most striking difference observed was the role of jobsite workers’ involvement in safety planning (66 percent indicated as a necessary aspect of a world-class safety program in 2012 vs. 85 percent in 2015). Other significant changes included: ongoing access to safety training for supervisors and jobsite workers (69 percent in 2012 vs. 77 percent in 2015) and hazard assessment and safety plans at each new jobsite (70 percent in 2012 vs 76 percent in 2015). We discussed jobsite workers’ involvement in safety and health planning in this blog. This article will focus on the latter two aspects.

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[With Infographic] The ROI of Workplace Safety Practices: 3 Key Areas

Beyond saving lives, occupational health and safety investment gains advantages in other areas of a business as well, including talent management and financial benefits. Within the construction industry specifically, more contractors reported seeing positive impacts from safety investment in 2015 than in 2012.

Workplace safety practices result in lower injury rates. Yet beyond saving lives, occupational health and safety investment gains advantages in other areas of a business as well, including talent management and financial benefits. Within the construction industry specifically, more contractors reported seeing positive impacts from safety investment in 2015 than in 2012, according to the SmartMarket Report’s longitudinal study.

Continue reading “[With Infographic] The ROI of Workplace Safety Practices: 3 Key Areas”