Safety Climate Affects Safety Culture
Does everyone in your company feel responsible for safety and pursue it on a daily basis? Do employees go above and beyond to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, intervene, and correct them?
If the answer is no, your company may not have a strong safety culture (as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Although developing a culture of safety is something to strive for, its abstract nature can be difficult to achieve.
Definitions, like the one above from OSHA, can put us on the right track. So can tools such as the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)’s Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT).
According to CPWR, the safety climate on a construction jobsite “refers to management’s and workers’ shared perceptions about the extent to which safety is rewarded, expected, valued and reinforced.”
“These safety perceptions provide a snapshot view of the company’s jobsite safety climate,” reads CPWR’s S-CAT website. “A strong jobsite safety climate has a positive impact on a company’s overall safety culture, just as a strong safety culture positively affects jobsite safety climate.”
The free online test allows contractors large and small, in English or in Spanish, to obtain information regarding employee safety perceptions and self-assess their own safety and health programs.
Leading vs. Lagging Indicators
According to CPWR, construction companies often rely on lagging indicators to evaluate safety, such as the number and types of injuries. This approach, while important, doesn’t prevent those injuries from happening in the first place. S-CAT focuses on eight leading indicators of a company’s safety climate to enable companies to “proactively prevent accidents and improve future safety outcomes.”
Here are the eight leading indicators:
1) Management regularly demonstrates its commitment to keeping workers safe through words and actions.
2) Safety is a core value integrated into all company activities. Safety is never compromised for productivity.
3) Everyone, from top to bottom, is held accountable for safety.
4) Supervisors are empowered with the authority and ability to correct hazards on the jobsite.
5) Workers are involved in safety-related planning and decision making. They are encouraged to discuss potential hazards.
6) The organization effectively communicates about safety, formally and informally, by talking and by listening, through words and actions.
7) All employees receive effective training specific to their roles and responsibilities.
8) Clients and project owners are also involved in the safety climate.
Get Results, Make Changes
S-CAT requests the user to answer a number of questions about each of those eight leading indicators. Based on the user’s responses, S-CAT will generate a personalized feedback report outlining the company’s safety climate, opportunities and ideas for improvement, and benchmarking information to compare results to other construction companies.
To receive a report based on responses from multiple employees, contact the S-CAT team via the S-CAT website, safetyclimateassessment.com, for a unique survey link to share with employees. CPWR suggests having employees take the S-CAT periodically to track how the organization’s changes are affecting its safety climate.
“Upon receiving your S-CAT report, it is important to take time to review it and think about what the scores mean for you and your company,” reads the S-CAT website. “If the scores indicate there is room to move one or more of the indicators closer to being exemplary, think about realistic ways that can be done.”
The recommendations within the report offer some opportunities to improve your safety climate, establish your company’s safety culture, and—most importantly—keep your employees safe every day.
Take the S-CAT today at safetyclimateassessment.com to get started improving your safety climate.