Safety climate surveys

Safety climate/attitude surveys

Safety climate/attitude surveys (eg. RSSB safety culture survey; HSE Climate survey)

Description

  • Questionnaires designed to elicit workforce attitudes on key aspects of safety culture. 
  • Generally the whole workforce is surveyed.

Advantages

  • Allows all the workforce’s views to be considered.
  • High profile – and if used correctly can help to enhance belief in the company’s commitment to health and safety.
  • Reveals current attitudes & perceptions towards safety and safety management.
  • Can clearly point to issues that need to be addressed.
  • May be capable of identifying issues in some aspects of the safety management arrangements.

Limitations

  • May only identify some inadequacies of the safety management systems.
  • High profile raises workforce expectations about responses – can lead to management losing credibility if response perceived as being inadequate.
  • High response rates required to ensure results fully reflect organisation’s culture – this can be difficult to achieve unless implemented well.
  • Results often do not directly identify what underlying issues cause responses hence:

-        need to do further investigations to interpret results;

-        understanding the problem does not necessarily identify how to improve

When and how to use

  • As part of a committed safety culture improvement programme as a high profile intervention AND when prepared and committed to respond to the outcomes.
  • Repeat surveys (every 18 months – 2 years) for benchmarking and sign of continuing commitment.
  • As a way of enabling all employees to participate in a safety improvement activity.
  • As a means of demonstrating management commitment – BUT only if prepared to respond promptly and fully to outcomes.
  • DO NOT use if uncertain what issues are likely to be revealed, or without planning, resourcing and being committed to address outcomes.