Safety starts at the top. The attitudes and actions of those in leadership positions have a powerful effect on the attitudes and actions of others in an organization and therefore on the overall safety culture.
A positive safety culture is defined by a number of key dimensions, including:
- safety and health hazards and concerns are addressed
- trust and respect saturate the work environment
- each person in the organization is personally invested and accountable for safety and health
- the work environment is inclusive, regardless of role or background
- continuous learning is a feature of the organization.
Good safety leaders are vital to creating such a culture. They empower others in the organization, regardless of their status or function, to identify and raise safety concerns, and they make sure those concerns are addressed. They make safety a fundamental value of the organization and instill this value in others. They treat safety incidents as an opportunity for learning rather than reprimand. They maintain trust by ensuring their actions align with their stated values and beliefs. Above all, good safety leaders provide a positive role model by exhibiting the safety behaviours and attitudes they expect of others.
While corporate leaders such as company owners, CEOs and managers are most crucial to safety leadership, in a positive safety culture everyone can and should be a safety leader. They can do this by identifying and raising safety concerns, following safe work procedures as part of everyday actions, and being a role model to their fellow workers, including young and newer workers.
Check out our Safety Culture Toolkit and our Shop Talk about leadership. (Below the FAQs are more resources related to leadership.)