Long read: Andrew Hopkins on "safety culture"
Safe Work Australia have put up this
of a recent address by Prof Andrew Hopkins, one of the world's acknowledged authorities on organisational H&S failures.
It's a long read but well worth it.
Great speech. I can also commend it, having just read it.
In his closing comments, Prof Hopkins appears genuinely relieved to have personally abandoned the word culture as it may apply to safety.
For our long-suffering Forum safety advisors of all types, I think we should also be encouraged by this quote:
"Now, to which I say, wow, if I were a safety practitioner, I would breathe a sigh of relief. I can ditch this concept of safety culture, and get on with what's important, it's the practices in this organisation. I don't need to worry about whether I call this culture, or safety culture. I don't need any other language to deal with this, I can get straight on to the issue of getting, focusing on the organisational practices and getting them right."
Leadership and consistency are all we need, although I think he might have been more explicit about the role of open and authentic employee engagement.
Totally agree Simon - my evidence concurs also.
I'm going to dissent here...
'Safety Culture' is simply part of the wider company culture. The problem comes when, like other safety aspects, you try to silo it out. Whatever words you use to describe it (or not) doesn't change the fact that all companies have an inherent attitude and approach to safety.
Attitude is in my opinion one of hte most important aspects to safety - if your staff and management have a poor attitude towards safety, then you'll never achieve a safe workplace.
I agree with him that Safety cannot be prioritised, however it can be considered a core value. This was the concept we had in the Airforce, with our motto being "mission first, safety always".
Presumably not safe for the people who were being bombed or shot.
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