Online Program

Designing Safety Culture from the Ground Up

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

James Gibson, MPH, PhD, Office of Environmental Health & Safety, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Safety culture is a term that is becoming more commonplace outside of the safety industry but is not consistently applied nor is it fully understood.    This paper describes the basic infrastructure necessary to develop an effective safety program that produces measureable improvements in safety culture.

This paper describes how this infrastructure was developed and includes:  methods to obtain active engagement of leaders and managers; effective communication of safety issues to all levels of staff and management; establishing goals and measuring results; establishing clear expectations for safety performance and holding team members accountable for performance; and implementing effective training programs.

Development of an effective safety program that yielded safety culture dividends was achieved by using a systematic multi-pronged and parallel approach. First, a clear definition of safety requirements and expectations was developed and were and systematically distributed to managers, supervisors and workers.  Effective training was implemented.  A clear and simple structure for reporting incidents was developed that included procedures for identifying and implementing corrective actions.  Finally, a comprehensive inspection program that focused on developing a collaborative partnership to solve problems rather than simply identify them was implemented.  Finally, a robust data collection and management system was developed that allowed for the measurement of performance and behavioral changes associated with a shift in safety culture. 

This study demonstrates the basic approach necessary to develop a strong safety program as well as the systems necessary to measure performance including behavioral shifts that directly reflect changes in the safety culture of an organization.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Identify concrete steps in designing safety programs that contribute toward measureable improvements in the culture of safety.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have the knowledge and experience.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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