Managing safety risks in international companies : establishing a proactive safety culture
There is increasing evidence that organisations with a strong safety culture are more effective in managing safety risks. The new ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management system requires organizations to develop and promote a positive health and safety culture in the organization (BSI, 2016). Therefore, it is important to understand how a proactive safety culture can be developed and supported.\ud Although many researchers have attempted to explore how to develop a strong safety culture, there is a lack of theoretical frameworks (Nielsen, 2013, Antonsen, 2012) and a lack of empirical data exploring cultural elements and practical approaches. (Ellis, et al, 2001)\ud This research critically investigates the safety culture in one organization in the UK. It attempts to identify how to assess the safety culture and to identify best practices on how to develop a proactive safety culture. It uses mixed method research to address the three interrelated aspects of safety culture: psychological aspects, behavioural aspects and organizational aspects with a focus on organizational aspects. Data were collected from questionnaires, interviews and participant observations and triangulated to produce a holistic view of the safety culture in the organization.\ud The major findings indicate that safety culture is strong in the organization with the organization taking a proactive approach to managing safety risks. All key elements of the Safety Management Systems are in place with regular leadership involvement, support and communication on safety as a core company value. There were some small gaps which indicate that some new employees didn’t fully understand their safety responsibilities and were inadequately involved. This underlines the importance of engaging employees in the safety management process through improving behaviour safety programs in the organization to better involve employees and increase employees’ ownership of safety. Further integration of safety into every aspect of business is needed so that safety is every employee’s daily job. By looking at how one organization attempts to foster a proactive safety culture, the research has identified a clear framework and performance path that all organisations should seek to embrace.
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