What is your Safety Climate? Are you measuring it?

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If you don’t know the answer to these questions, let me introduce you to the Safety Climate Tool. No, this is not about being safe in bad weather, the Safety Climate Tool explores workers attitudes and perceptions in key areas of health and safety and their understanding of how things are done in your organisation. You need to know where you aren’t going so well, so you can fix it early and not sit back and wait for the incidents to roll in.

I first heard about the HSL Safety Climate Tool in a plenary given by Lawrence Waterman at the AIOH Conference last year (another reason why you should attend…you find out all sorts of interesting info!). Lawrence spoke about using that tool during the construction of the London Olympic Games and found it to be an invaluable measure to evaluate attitudes to health and safety. To quote Lawrence, “too much time is spent discussing both cultre and leading indicators in vaugue and imprecise ways – prejudice not evidence. The data we obtained from each project team and across the programme’s workforce meant that we could take specific initatives to develop the safety culture…”

For those working in large organisations, you have probably already been on the back end of many a safety survey, but how useful has the output of all of it been? I was intrigued, so I sat down with Hannah Tomlin at the HSL and she took me through it.

First up, the entire system is online and accessible from anywhere. I was interested to see how applicable this survey was for use in Australia, and I was to learn that the HSL provides this tool globally to many multi-national companies with ease. What was apparent from the outset was how simple it was to set up. We set up a dummy survey in a few minutes, although for a large organisation it might take an hour or so to get your key messages right etc. All responses by your workers remain anonymous, so staff should be able to be open about how things really are. There are a series of 40 questions which link to eight key factors to measure employees attitudes on health and safety.

Once the survey is complete, this is where the real fun began. The tool automatically generated a written report, and provided hints and tips to help improve the organisations safety culture. It also compared our dummy workplace with the industry average. You can break it down by area of your company, or by groups etc, but the obvious selling point is that data is easily manipulated and graphs are easily downloadable. Safety professionals routinely get stuck crunching the numbers, but this tool does it all for you…score!

Overall I found this tool to be both simple and effective at providing a great insight of the safety culture of an organisation. I encourage you to contact the team at the HSL for more information!

(Image courtesty of http://www.hsl.gov.uk/products/safety-climate-tool/key-features-of-the-sct)

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