Our latest Safetip is about measuring your safety climate as a way to evaluate the strength of your safety culture.
Safety Climate and Safety Culture
Two years ago we published a blog post on the difference between safety culture and safety climate. In summary, a safety culture is about shared beliefs, values, attitudes and customs with regards to workplace safety. A safety culture can take time to develop, sometimes even years.
What about safety climate? It’s not the same thing as safety culture. There are many definitions out there but I like this one in a factsheet from the Australian state of Queensland:
“Safety climate is the perceived value placed on safety in an organisation at a particular point in time. Therefore, we can think of safety climate as the ‘mood’ of an organisation, based on what workers experience at a specific time.”
Since safety climate is a snapshot of safety at one point in time, it can change quickly, sometimes even on a daily or weekly basis, according to the same factsheet. For example, safety climate could be heightened after the implementation of a new safety procedure or after an incident.
Measure Safety Climate to Evaluate Safety Culture
You should measure your safety climate periodically because it will help you evaluate the strength of your safety culture. Henry Skjerven explains the connection between the two very well in a Safeopedia article:
“Taking a measure of your organization’s safety climate is a way to take the temperature of its safety culture. If the climate is positive, then the safety culture is probably strong. If it’s negative, you might need to take steps to foster a stronger culture of safety among your workforce and management.”
Also, measuring safety climate allows you to compare your perception of how safe your workplace is with its actual safety performance, Skjerven says.
To measure safety climate, you can use employee surveys, team discussions, and input from your safety committees.
But the most important thing is to act. If your safety climate is not good, be sure to execute a plan to strengthen your safety culture.
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