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In my consulting work and in presenting to large groups, the topic of creating or supporting a safety culture comes up without fail. What I find most often is a varied understanding of what is needed by leaders and employees to ingrain a safety culture into the fabric of their organization. It’s important to begin with a common definition of a safety culture: a set of core values and behaviors that emphasize safety as an overriding priority.
While values are the foundation, safety culture is ultimately expressed through what is said and done—through behavior. Each organization has or should have its own description of an ideal safety culture (based in values) however there are some elements that should be common to all. Following are seven keys to an effective safety culture:
Once you have defined the ideal safety culture for your organization, the science of behavior analysis can be used to develop behaviors consistent with that culture. Targeted positive reinforcement of desired behaviors leads to rapid change and the effects multiply quickly as all employees begin to not only display desired cultural behaviors, but to reinforce those behaviors in others.
Read about Judy Agnew's newest book "A Supervisor's Guide to Safety Leadership: Preventing Injury in the Workplace."
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