Five levels of safety culture
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5 levels of safety culture

Key features of each of the 5 levels of cultural maturity underpinning RSSB’s model are given below:

Maturity Level

Key Features

Level 5 – Continually improving

  • The prevention of all injuries or harm to employees is a core company value.
  • The organisation has a sustained period (years) without a recordable accident or high potential incident – but there is no feeling of complacency.
  • The organisation uses a range of (leading and lagging) indicators to monitor performance but it is not performance driven – it has confidence in its safety processes.
  • The organisation strives to be better and find better hazard control approaches.
  • All employees share the belief that health and safety is a critical aspect of their job and accept that prevention of non-work injuries is important.
  • The company invests considerable effort in promoting health and safety at home.

Level 4 - Cooperating

  • The majority of staff are convinced that health and safety is important – from both a moral & economic view point.
  • Management recognise that a wide range of factors lead to accidents – and the root causes are likely to stem from management decisions.
  • Front-line staff accept responsibility for their own and others’ health and safety.
  • The importance of all employees feeling valued and treated fairly is recognised.
  • The organisation makes significant effort into proactive measures to prevent accidents.
  • Safety performance is actively monitored using all data available.
  • A healthy lifestyle is promoted and non-work accidents are also monitored.

Level 3 – Involving

  • Accident rates are low, but have reached a plateau.
  • Organisation realises employee involvement is essential for safety improvement.
  • Management recognise that a wide range of factors lead to accidents – often stemming from management decisions.
  • A significant proportion of front-line employees are willing to work with management to improve health and safety.
  • The majority of staff accept personal responsibility for their own health and safety.
  • Safety performance is actively monitored and the data used.

Level 2 – Managing

  • Safety seen as a business risk and management time and effort devoted to accident prevention.
  • Safety focus is on adherence with rules, procedures and engineering controls.
  • Accidents seen as preventable.
  • Management perceive that the majority of accidents are solely due to the unsafe behaviour of front-line staff.
  • Safety performance measured with lagging indicators (eg. injury rates).
  • Safety incentives based on reducing loss time incidents.
  • Senior managers only become involved in health and safety if accidents increase; punishment likely to be used.
  • Accident rates are near the industry sector average – but tend to have more serious accidents.

Level 1 - Emerging

  • Safety focus is on technical and procedural solutions and compliance with regulations.
  • Safety not seen as a key business risk.
  • Safety department perceived as being primarily responsibly for safety.
  • Many accidents seen as unavoidable.
  • Most front line staff not interested in safety – only used as a lever on other issues.


For more information:

See the HSE's Safety Culture Maturity Model ® Offshore Technology Report 2000/049 [Safety Culture Maturity ® is a registered trademark of The Keil Centre Limited].