EHSDA Shorts: Elements of a Positive Safety Culture

On this week’s episode of EHSDA Shorts, we hear from Jill Schaefer, director of content management at KPA, about some of the elements of a positive safety culture. Tune in to hear her insights.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Question: What are some elements of a positive safety culture?

Schaefer: So, at a glance, these are the six elements that are important for a so-called good or positive safety culture.

You have leadership, and we’ll get into this a little bit more in the subsequent slides.

But you have leadership that believes in safety, they’re not just like, yeah, whatever, they actually put it as part of like the organization’s mission, if not the value system.

And they walk that talk, you don’t have managers who are saying like, oh yeah, you know, you shouldn’t cross this guardrail, and then they do it. So, they’re following by example.

And then, our videographers and consultants at KPA, when I talked to them about safety culture and the things that they’re seeing when they’re visiting our clients, they’ll say that within maybe 5-10 minutes of being at a client site, they can tell what that organization’s safety culture is like.

They might need volunteers as part of the duties that they’re going through and organizations that have a strong safety culture, they have employees who are basically like willing and able to assist, they’re helping clean up spills, they’re pointing things out.

And also generally, the work environment is kept cleanly because it kind of speaks volumes when you’re an organization and you’re trying to say, oh yeah, we care about safety culture, but then you’ve got like some, you know, mysterious substance that’s leaking in the corner and that hasn’t been cleaned up.

So, it’s the little things that are being addressed across the organization.

I’d be remiss not to mention that anytime you’re going to focus on safety, there’s going to be some give and take.

You’re going to have to be willing as an organization to understand that maybe our production levels aren’t going to be as high as they were yesterday, but we’ve got to take care of this spill, or there’s debris in the aisle or whatever the situation is that’s happening.

But basically, not just having this attitude of let’s just press on, [or] that we don’t care about that thing over there.

So that’s what I mean by allowing some give on production, is just kind of understanding that like when people are actively pointing out some safety things, they might not be producing as much as they would otherwise.