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Understanding the current strengths and opportunities to develop a Safety Culture is a crucial first step in designing the optimum improvement programme. A Safety Culture has more than one component and it is the interaction of these that form an Organisational Safety Culture. Whilst formal Safety Systems are a necessary and key element in a Safety Culture and should be the first thing that are considered, focusing purely on systems will only drive safety improvement so far before the law of diminishing returns sets in.
However good an organisation’s safety systems are, a focus on those alone is ultimately insufficient to drive continuous safety improvement.
Safety Culture is shaped by the collective values/beliefs of a work group related to the importance of safety. These values, beliefs and attitudes are often expressed in day-to-day work-related behaviours, and therefore can have a direct impact on the operational safety of a plant, factory, worksite or office. Crucially there are also indirect impacts on organisations that work with, for, or under the direction of that work group, for example contractors, or within the supply chain.
Attempts to improve H&S can often be influenced by the organisation’s level of development, which is characterised by the degree to which employees feel that they can openly communicate information and trust the management to act appropriately. Although levels of development can be thought of as a continuous line, discrete stages of development can be defined. These stages are outlined in the RyderMarsh OCAID Safety Culture Development Map. These stages of development provide key behavioural indicators that are representative of an organisation at each Safety Culture Development Level. RyderMarsh OCAID defined six discrete stages of development, these are: Avoidance of Safety, Minimal Compliance, Broad Compliance, System Obsessed, Human Focused and Fully Integrated Safety, as shown in the diagram below.