10 Steps to Create a Safety Culture in Your Organisation

Creating a safety culture in the workplace isn’t just about avoiding accidents. It’s about making safety an integral part of your company’s values. A strong safety culture ensures everyone goes home safe and sound. It also boosts morale, increases productivity and saves costs in the long run. Here’s a guide to building a safety-first environment in your organisation.

What is Workplace Safety Culture?

Workplace safety culture is employees’ collective attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values regarding safety. It’s how safety is prioritised in day-to-day operations and decision-making. A means everyone, from top management to new hires, values safety and works together to maintain it.

Signs of a Poor vs Strong Safety Culture

Poor Safety Culture

  • Lack of Communication: Safety issues are rarely discussed, leading to a lack of awareness and unaddressed hazards.
  • Complacency: Employees and management neglect safety protocols, assuming accidents won’t happen to them.
  • Blame Culture: Accidents lead to finger-pointing rather than learning, creating a hostile work environment.
  • Inadequate Training: New and existing employees don’t receive proper safety training, leaving them unprepared to handle potential dangers.
  • Poor Incident Reporting: Near misses and accidents are not reported and addressed frequently, preventing the identification and correction of underlying issues.

Strong Safety Culture

  • Open Communication: Regular discussions about safety improvements, fostering an environment where everyone feels comfortable raising concerns.
  • Proactive Approach: Everyone actively identifies risks and prevents accidents, enabling collective responsibility for safety.
  • Learning from Mistakes: Incidents are analysed to prevent future occurrences, ensuring continuous improvement in safety practices.
  • Continuous Training: Employees regularly attend safety training sessions to stay informed about best practices and new safety protocols.
  • Effective Reporting: All incidents and near misses are reported and addressed promptly, allowing swift action and preventing future incidents.

Steps to Build A Strong Workplace Safety Culture

  1. Leadership Commitment

Management must lead by example. When leaders prioritise safety, employees follow suit. Visible commitment from top management is crucial as it sets a benchmark for the entire organisation. This means actively participating in safety meetings, wearing appropriate safety gear and making safety a core value in every decision.

  1. Clear Safety Policies

Develop and implement clear, concise safety policies. These policies should be easily understandable for all employees. Ensure they cover all workplace safety and are regularly updated to reflect new regulations and best practices. If necessary, providing these policies in multiple languages can ensure everyone understands them.

  1. Offer Training

Provide regular training sessions that cover general safety practices, specific hazards and emergency response procedures for all employees, including new hires. Use a variety of training methods, such as hands-on demonstrations, online courses and interactive workshops, to cater to different learning styles and keep employees engaged. 

The IOSH Working Safely course is an excellent option for equipping employees at all levels with essential health and safety knowledge. It covers topics like hazard identification, risk understanding and safety measures. Enrolling employees in an online IOSH Working Safely course ensures a solid foundation in safety practices for everyone and allows flexible, self-paced learning from anywhere.

  1. Open Communication Channels

Encourage employees to express their concerns about safety without fear of retaliation. Open communication fosters trust and cooperation. Create various communication platforms, such as suggestion boxes, safety meetings and anonymous reporting systems, to ensure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.

  1. Incentivise Safety

Reward employees who follow safety protocols and contribute to a safer workplace. This can be through recognition programmes or incentives. Incentives might include bonuses, extra time off or public recognition during company meetings, which can motivate others to prioritise safety.

  1. Regular Safety Audits

Perform routine safety assessments to uncover potential risks. Use these audits to improve safety measures continuously. Audits should be thorough and involve internal and external inspectors to provide an unbiased view of workplace safety conditions.

  1. Engage Employees

Involve employees in safety discussions and decisions. Their on-the-ground insights are invaluable for identifying and mitigating risks. Form safety committees with representatives from different departments to ensure diverse perspectives are considered in safety planning and improvements.

  1. Promote a No-Blame Culture

Emphasise learning from errors rather than penalising individuals. This encourages reporting and helps prevent future incidents. When employees know they won’t be blamed for accidents, they are more likely to report near misses and unsafe conditions, which are crucial for preventive action.

  1. Use Technology

Implement safety management software to track incidents, training and compliance. Technology can streamline safety processes and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Features like real-time reporting, automated training reminders and digital audit trails can significantly enhance safety management.

  1. Regular Reviews

Continuously review and update safety policies and practices. Regular reviews help adapt to new challenges and maintain high safety standards. These reviews should be based on feedback from safety audits, incident reports, and employee suggestions to ensure they are comprehensive and practical.

Role of Managers in Promoting Workplace Safety Culture

Managers play a pivotal role in fostering a robust workplace safety culture. By prioritising safety in all operations, managers set a clear example for their teams, demonstrating that employee well-being is a top priority. They are responsible for implementing comprehensive safety training programmes, conducting regular safety audits and promoting open communication about safety concerns. 

To effectively understand and execute these duties, managers should be provided with the IOSH Managing Safely course. This course equips them with essential knowledge and skills to manage health and safety effectively, aligning with best practices and legal requirements. Additionally, IOSH Managing Safely Refresher courses are crucial to keep managers updated on the latest safety regulations and practices. 

By ensuring managers are continually educated and aware of the evolving safety landscape, organisations can cultivate an environment where every employee feels responsible for maintaining a safe workplace. This will ultimately lead to reduced incidents and a more productive, engaged workforce.


Promoting a safety culture is an ongoing process that requires commitment from everyone in the organisation. By following these ten steps, you can build a strong foundation for safety, ensuring that it becomes an integral part of your organisational culture. 

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