Resource Library

Safety Culture: Techniques for Building Positive Organizational Change

Cover image for "Safety Culture" publication showing a safety committee meeting with middle-aged man in foreground and various safety publications at the table while others talk in the backgroundSafety culture is not easy to define or measure. It is made up of both individual and group beliefs, attitudes, experiences and customs surrounding safety. A positive safety culture places a high level of importance on safety and is shared by a majority of the people within the workplace.

Safety culture can have a significant impact on an organization, either positive or negative, depending on the shared values, practices and attitudes about safety. The culture can influence:

  • Productivity
  • Morale
  • Absenteeism
  • Reputation
  • Operational costs

Benefits of a Positive Safety Culture

Every MCIT member entity should strive for a sustainable, positive safety culture. Putting initiatives in place to encourage every employee to become an engaged safety advocate can:

  • Reduce injuries
  • Lower absenteeism and costs related to injuries
  • Increase productivity and morale
  • Help maintain a positive organizational reputation

Building a Positive Safety Culture

Building a positive safety culture takes time. Focusing on creating an organizational commitment to safety, opening channels of communication and creating a solid base of safety literacy are steps to achieve that goal.

Using This Resource

This publication is broken into three concepts that contribute to a positive safety culture.

  1. Foundational elements are important to building a positive safety culture. The Chapter 1 assessment helps identify policies, procedures and measures already in place. Using this data, leadership can identify those areas that could use more attention. Chapter 2 focuses on creating an organizationwide, visible commitment to safety, opening lines of communication and bolstering safety programs. These foundational elements make it easier for other initiatives to find a solid footing upon which to build.
  2. Pillars of safety reflect the Minnesota AWAIR (an accident and injury reduction) program and provide ideas to help reduce injury, often with the collaboration of employees. Even if the foundational elements are not fully in place, the ideas and programs in these chapters can help to reduce incidents and injuries.
  3. Safety culture tools can be used by safety committee, those in charge of safety and managers to boost awareness, bolster commitment and encourage communication about safety.

Most chapters include a “Going Further” section, which provides ways to incorporate other topics from this publication to enhance the use of that chapter’s safety culture concept.

Download a PDF of the entire publication or individual chapters below.