With October being National Safe Work Month, now is probably a good time to think about the safety culture in your business or where you work, it is an essential part of your safety and I would argue your business performance.

Safety culture represents a workplace’s collective attitude and approach to health and safety, but I also believe this extends much further than just your safety culture.

The patterns of behaviour that are promoted through safety culture determine the level of proficiency and commitment to your health and safety program but they also are directly related to the level of quality, service and general proficiency of the business. I believe that you cannot provide a great service with high-quality finish without being safe, it’s a mindset thing. To be high quality, high service you need to do things the right way, be organised and perform consistently, it would be hard not to be safe with that mindset. With that in mind when you are reading the rest of this article, where is your business at?

Depending on the safety maturity of your organisation, your business could be at different stages of a safety culture. The stages are:

  • Pathological:

Not taking any account of safety in its operations.

  • Reactive:

Having a system of administrative and engineering controls and being largely compliant with legislation, but otherwise only responding to incidents.

  • Calculative:

Having reactive systems and more sophisticated technological and systematic controls designed to remove identified hazards.

  • Proactive:

Having calculative systems incorporating higher levels of compliance by workers with those safety systems, through behavioural and cognitive influences such as attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, skills, social norms and other socio-psychological factors.

  • Generative:

Having proactive systems and positive cultural and sub-cultural influences that improve the adoption of safety standards. For example, a culture within the organisation that although the customer is always right, safety comes first.

As an outsider to the businesses we work with it’s easy to see where they are at on this scale but as a business owner it is really worth spending time to assess where your business is at, not just in terms of safety but across the board. Are you madly scrambling from job to job or are you so far out in front of your business that you know what’s going to happen before it happens?

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