Ignorance is bliss
An organisation or team with a pathological culture is barely paying any attention to safety at all. The organisation does not see the point of preventive safety measures. Organisations on this step frequently believe they are ‘OK’ and do not want to waste time or money on prevention. Safety is more of a secondary issue than a main issue and investment in improving safety behaviour is limited.
Any change in behaviour is ad-hoc and temporary
In a reactive culture, the organisation only takes action after an incident happens. Actions are often ad-hoc and short-term. Once an incident has been resolved, attention for safety falls away again. Although managers do point out rules and procedures to employees, there are no consequences if employees do not comply with them. There is little structural attention for safety: it only comes into play when an incident happens.
The focus is on systems but not on implementation in the workplace
In a calculating culture, attention focuses mainly on safety management systems and overviews designed to manage risks and prevent incidents. A lot of emphasis is put on gathering information and data. The organisation believes it is working safely because everything is well-organised on paper. However, safety and compliance with regulations and legislation is more of a concern for managers than for employees. This means that near accidents, accidents and unsafe situations sometimes go unreported. Any changes mainly involve the formulation or tightening of rules and procedures.
Everyone in the organisation is safety aware
In a proactive culture, the focus is on attitudes and behaviour, improving safety awareness and managing unexpected events. Everyone in the organisation is alert and aims to prevent unsafe situations on a daily basis. Employees are well-informed and see awareness of safety at work as a shared responsibility. Everyone helps each other remember the agreements made, both internally and externally. Management facilitates and encourages the active involvement of employees. If incidents do happen, they are used to learn from and prevent them happening again.
Attention to safety is self-evident in all business processes
In day-to-day practice, the same priority and attention is given to safety as to time, money and quality.
There is a strong focus on ongoing improvement, learning from wanted and unwanted events, the ability to adapt and also on acting appropriately in a given situation. These attitudes are completely normal and evident at every level in every organisation and in every process. From planning, design, decision-making, implementation, monitoring, reflection to learning. No distinction is made between managers and employees where safety is concerned. Management know about problems because employees feel they can share this information without any repercussions.