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How you can create a health and safety culture in the workplace

by , 27 February 2015
When it comes to any workplace, remember this rule: Safety first!

But sometimes growing a health and safety culture in the workplace can prove rather challenging.

But you can overcome this. And create a working health and safety culture...

Here's how you can overcome any obstacles in this area...

First of all, did you know that the trend of a safety culture grew into a mandatory field after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986? That's right, the most catastrophic nuclear accident the world has ever seen is the reason health and safety is a top priority in your - and every other - company all over the world.

The reason?

Chernobyl highlighted the importance of creating a safety culture, as well as the impact of managerial and human factors on the outcome of safety performance, explains Kurina Baksh, HSE Consultant.

And here's something you probably didn't know either: Safety culture was actually defined in the International Nuclear Safety Group's 1988 'Summary Report on the Post-Accident Review Meeting on the Chernobyl Accident' as, "an organisational atmosphere where safety and health is understood to be, and is accepted as, the number one priority."

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Today, when we say "safety culture", we refer to the means in which safety is managed in the workplace, involving attitudes, behaviours, beliefs, values, and ways of doing things.

Do you think your company is developing a health and safety culture?

What aspects do you think are being overseen?

Kurina Baksh also explains that culture refers to the factors that influence the overall attitudes and behaviours within organisations, for instance:

- leadership and management style,
- institution mission and goals,
- organisation of work processes.

Culture provides the background against which day-to-day tasks are performed and has been shown to be strongly associated with worker perceptions of job characteristics and organisational functioning.

Keep in mind the basic elements of a safety culture!

Here they are, as given by the previous source:

>>    All individuals within the organisation believe they have a right to a safe and healthy workplace;

>>    Each person accepts personal responsibility for ensuring his or her own safety and health; and

>>    Everyone believes he or she has a duty to protect the safety and health of others

Knowing this, what changes do you have in mind for the health and safety culture?

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