Ask the Expert, Safety Culture

Ask the Expert: Measuring Safety Culture

In our latest installment of Ask the Expert, brought to you by KPA, we hear from Jill Schaefer, product director of content management, about how to measure the effectiveness of an organization’s safety culture.

Q: What’s the best way to measure the effectiveness of your company’s safety culture?

The fact that you’re reading this article means you care! I love that. Caring is fundamental to workplace safety. An exceptional safety record doesn’t happen by accident. Safety culture is the culmination of strategic planning, a commitment to safety, and the right habits — a combination of EVERYONE’S attitudes and actions at your organization.

However, how do you know if your safety efforts are paying off?

How to Measure Safety Culture Effectiveness

  1. Track safety performance metrics. 

How many incidents, near misses, and safety violations/citations are happening at your facilities? If applicable, look at your OSHA 300 report from last year. These numbers reveal stories about your safety culture. Plus, you can use these metrics to identify improvements to prevent future issues.

While a spreadsheet can get the job done, it may not be sustainable. Ideally, you also have a smart EHS software platform or consultants in your corner that help alert you to leading and lagging indicators.

  1. Conduct safety perception surveys.

These surveys help you gauge how employees approach safety in the workplace. By asking questions about safety policies, procedures, and training, you can identify areas where your safety culture is strong and areas where it needs work.

  1. Calculate your safety ROI.

Who doesn’t want employees to return to their families safe and sound? Environmental health and safety are investments that matter. Study after study confirms that organizations that invest in safety save money, boost productivity, and perform better.

A safer workplace can lead to:

  • Fewer incidents: Between workers’ compensation, insurance, legal fees, and potential fines, every incident carries significant upfront and subsequent costs.
  • Improved productivity and efficiency: Fewer injuries mean fewer disruptions, lost hours, and employee days away from work.
  • Higher workforce morale: The safer people feel, the better they tend to do their jobs.
  • A better reputation: Companies that prevent safety incidents avoid negative publicity and brand associations among customers, prospective hires, and shareholders.
  • Easier hiring: People would rather work for a company that prioritizes worker well-being.

How can you get your executives to conceptualize safety culture’s financial impact? Try the National Safety Council’s calculation

your safety investment × 2 = your safety ROI.

  1. Factor in training frequency.

Another metric that matters is if you’re doing all OSHA-required training, such as emergency response and hazard communication, and job-specific hazard training. Who was trained? Who wasn’t? Who needs additional onsite training or mentoring? Inspections, written programs, and posting proper signage are also part of a positive workplace safety culture.

In conclusion…

There are many ways to meaningfully measure the impact of safety culture, including tracking metrics, getting worker feedback, and evaluating your safety ROI. With an effective safety culture, you help keep your company and employees safe!

About the Author: Jill Schaefer is KPA’s Product Director of Content Management. Jill has 20 years of communications experience. She’s a writer at heart who has spent her career teaching and storytelling on important topics like safety and compliance. She enjoys the power of words as much as pizza. She has been with KPA for 6+ years, incorporating research and creativity into resources that positively affect safety culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.