SCL 2016 versus SCL 2.0

The SCL for all sectors

The Safety Culture Ladder (SCL), which was originally called the Veiligheidsladder, was the brainchild of ProRail. Today, many others sectors are interested in the SCL as well, which is why we have widened the target group to which it applies. SCL 2.0 has been available since September 2023 and audits against SCL 2.0 have been permitted since 1 January 2024. 

What has changed?

1. The assessment method

  • Points-based assessment has been replaced by a colour-based assessment: green, orange and red. Green means ‘satisfactory’, orange ‘not satisfactory yet but on the right track’ and red ‘not ‘satisfactory. This system makes it easy for you to see what you are scoring well on and what you could still improve. The new SCL is more growth focused.
  • More importance is placed on the ‘behaviour’ aspect than on the ‘conditional’ aspect. So, this aspect is now described far more explicitly than it was in SCL 2016. The descriptions accompanying each step make it easier for the auditor to assess behaviour.

2. Health and safety (H&S) explained in more detail

To clarify what falls under H&S, this term is explained more extensively in SCL 2.0. H&S is broader than just occupational safety. It also includes psychosocial work stress, psychosocial safety, well-being and integrity. And other safety standards too. Cybersecurity, structural safety, machine safety, and fire safety should certainly not be forgotten either. H&S relates to the overall health and safety of the organisation’s employees and users and the environment as well.

3. Improved reports

Reports are prepared on the basis of an assessment of five themes (see Section 5 of the standards document). They describe an organisation’s strengths and the areas in which it could improve. This is followed by a final conclusion per theme. Reports give organisations an insight into their strengths on a certain step and also into where possibilities for improvement lie.

4. Content-related changes

  • Rail-related terms (ProRail) have been removed.
  • SCL 2.0 is more concise than the original SCL 2016: duplicate information has been removed.
  • Step 1 has been added to the descriptions.
  • The descriptions per step are presented in ascending order.
  • There is more of a focus on the ‘why’ and on the result envisaged instead of on the format.
  • There is more of a focus on attitudes, behaviour and interaction instead of on methods, working methods and systems.
  • More system-oriented requirements and technical or field-specific references have been removed.
  • The descriptions for Steps 4 and 5 have been described better instead of placing them in a separate interpretation document.
  • A handbook was produced for SCL 2016, whereas SCL 2.0 is set out in the Certification Scheme.

Transition period

If you obtained an SCL certificate or statement in 2023 or before, don’t worry. It will continue to be valid for the time being. The transition from SCL 2016 to SCL 2.0 will take place gradually, in a transition period.
In 2024, you will be able to have your organisation certified or recertified against both SCL 2016 and SCL 2.0. As of 1 January 2025, certification and recertification will only be possible against SCL 2.0. As of 1 January 2028, only certificates issued against SCL 2.0 (or later editions) will be valid.