You Can Only Improve What You Can Measure: Why Not All Safety Culture Assessments Are Equal

Sep 4, 2018

When trying to improve your organisation’s safety results, the first step is to gain a strong understanding of the current state of your workplace safety by assessing your existing safety climate and culture. That’s because trying to improve your organisation’s safety results without a clear understanding of the current state of your safety culture is akin to firing an arrow at a target with a blindfold on. While you might occasionally hit the bullseye, most of your attempts will be far off the mark, leading to wasted resources and minimal results from your safety improvement efforts.

That’s why today, we want to help you take off the blindfold by understanding exactly what to look for in an effective safety culture assessment that will actually help you incite long-term change across your organisation.

If Knowledge Is Power, Then Strategy Is Currency

While a safety culture assessment offers the promise of helping you understand the state of your workplace safety, the real value that it brings is in its ability to provide you with a strategic direction to address the issues that are identified.

The most important question to ask yourself when comparing various safety assessments is this—how do the results that I’m provided actually help me address the safety issues at hand?

Is the report comprehensive enough to not only provide you with information regarding the state of your workplace safety, but to also give you active avenues to address the issues identified and positively influence your safety culture?

Because the main factor that defines a great safety assessment against an average one, isn’t just the analysis provided at the end of the assessment.

It’s the strategy that’s provided alongside it to help you leverage the results identified to get you to the positive safety outcomes that you undertook the assessment to achieve in the first place.

It’s Not Just About What’s Happening, It’s About Why

The next key factor is to ensure that the safety culture assessment you choose leverages a multi-faceted research approach, consisting of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. By utilising a combination of these types of data, you can not only get a snapshot of what’s currently happening in your organisation, you can also start to understand why it’s happening.

While quantitative research methods such as detailed surveys provide you with a quantifiable analysis of your current safety climate, qualitative research methods such as 1 on 1 interviews, focus groups and workplace observations serve to uncover the deep-rooted beliefs and values regarding safety that permeate all levels of your organisation.

Understanding The Difference Between Safety Climate And Safety Culture

Safety culture is an organisation’s shared attitudes, beliefs and values about safety— essentially, ‘the way things are done around here’ with regards to safety. It influences safety performance and the likelihood of safety incidents occurring. It is deeply embedded into the fabric of an organisation, often below conscious awareness, making it difficult to observe. It requires a qualitative approach to measurement and an expert, third-party analysis to eliminate potential bias.

Safety climate is more easily measurable and reflects employees’ shared perceptions of the extent to which safety is valued within an organisation. It’s essentially a snapshot of an organisation’s safety culture at any one point in time. Safety climate is commonly measured via quantitative methods. The most effective safety assessments infuse both these methods of analysis to not only provide you with a deeper insight into your workforce’s safety attitudes, but also give you the reassurance that the outcomes you’ve evaluated are accurate. By cross-checking the results from both methods of data analysis, you can have a holistic view of the state of your workplace safety with the confidence that your results are accurate.

What An Effective Safety Culture Assessment Really Looks Like

An effective safety assessment that takes a multi-faceted approach to analyse your organisation’s safety culture should serve to answer three key questions:

  • WHAT is the current safety climate within your organisation?
  • WHY do these attitudes and perspectives about safety exist?
  • HOW can any identified issues be effectively improved upon?

By leveraging a holistic approach to evaluate your workplace safety, an effective assessment should not just serve as an avenue for information. It should be presented as a guideline, outlining the existing issues and attitudes that exist within your organisation and providing you with a roadmap, filled with strategic avenues for you to improve your overall safety outcomes.

That’s Where We Come In

As passionate safety culture experts, we understand what it takes to not only evaluate the current state of your safety climate, but to actually identify the core cultural drivers that have led to those issues in the first place. Our focus is not just on taking a snapshot of your existing safety climate, but also measuring shared attitudes towards safety and safety leadership. This allows us to deliver safety culture programs that are tailored to address the specific issues facing your organisation.

By the end of our comprehensive safety assessment process, you won’t just receive detailed reports and step-by-step debriefs that outline exactly how safety is managed on site. We’ll also highlight any key discrepancies between the perspectives that your leadership team has about your organisation’s safety culture and the reality of what’s actually happening within your workplace.

We’ll then provide you with an actionable roadmap and personalised support to help you address any key points of concern, while leveraging areas of safety excellence for improvements across your entire organisation.Instead of a one-size fits all approach to safety culture assessments, our tailored diagnostics process allows us to deliver safety culture improvements that actually have a lasting impact and drive bottom-line results for your organisation.

That’s because our role isn’t to just help you assess and understand the state of your workplace safety culture. It’s to help you improve it.

So if you’re ready to receive a holistic view of the state of your workplace safety and a roadmap to take you to a new level of safety excellence, just get in touch with one of our expert consultants who’ll help you get started with one of our renowned safety culture assessments.

Remember, the first step in improving your workplace safety is to ensure that you truly understand it. So, let’s get clarity on the state of your safety culture, together.

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