The difference between good and bad safety cultures

Differences between good and bad safety cultures, according to Michael Hewitt, vice president, Global Workplace Safety Practice, DuPont.

By Paul Studebaker, CMRP, Editor in Chief

Differences between good and bad safety cultures, according to Michael Hewitt, vice president, Global Workplace Safety Practice, DuPont (http://www2.dupont.com/Consulting_Services/en_US/):

Good culture: Consistently supports safety as a core value (as opposed to a priority) by committing to put human life ahead of all other demands.
Bad culture: Safety is a priority and priorities change. When money becomes tight, safety often takes a back seat.

Good culture: Give employees the right and responsibility to call a time-out and reward them for doing it, even if it’s a false alarm.
Bad culture: Doesn’t support open communication. Personnel might not feel they can call a time-out without fear of reprisal.

Good culture: Management demonstrates and communicates a personal commitment to safety in all of their actions.
Bad culture: Management doesn’t demonstrate or reward safe behaviors. They may engage in at-risk behaviors and tolerate them in others.

Good culture: Elevate personnel who support a culture of safety and eliminate those who tolerate at-risk behaviors, even if those people are top producers.
Bad culture: Promote people based solely on operational performance regardless of whether risks were taken to achieve the outcome.

Good culture: Train people to observe at-risk behaviors and provide effective feedback that motivates a person to change their behavior.
Bad culture: Provide no training or only training focused on technical skills.

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