Changing the Workplace Safety Culture: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Changing the Workplace Safety Culture

1st Edition

By Ron C. McKinnon

CRC Press

252 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2013-07-15
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Despite the fact that workplaces have implemented and followed new safety innovations and approaches, the majority of them have seen little, if any, significant progress in the reduction of accidental deaths and injuries. Changing the Workplace Safety Culturedemonstrates that changing the way an organization views and practices safety will impact the behavior of all employees including executive and line managers. It delineates how safety culture change can be implemented and defines the roles of everyone in the safety culture, including management, employees, and unions and their members.

Rather than focus on behavior-based safety measures, this book provides step-by-step procedures on how to establish a long-lasting integrated safety management system in any organization. It explores how to change the safety personality of an organization. The author covers the management principles and functions that need to be applied to bring about safety culture change and includes many real-life examples. He goes on to explain the activities needed to implement safety change and the benefits of getting others involved in the safety management system.

The only way to ensure that accidents and their consequences are tackled at the source is to identify and eliminate the workplace risks before, rather than after, the event. To be truly effective, safety activities must be integrated into the day-to-day business and become a way of life for management and employees of the organization. This book provides a blueprint for creating an active safety culture that prevents accidents before they occur and becomes the key component in ongoing safety success.


"Ron McKinnon informs the reader of how management's role really sets what safety culture is all about. He guides the reader through a detailed discussion of why safety culture isn't just limited to a collection of random worker behaviors but is much more of a purposeful outcome of the active policies that management embraces, demonstrates, and leads with by example."

—Jonathan Klane M.S.ed., CIH, CHMM, CET, 2012, Klane’s Education Information Training Hub

Table of Contents


Is Safety Really First?

Safety Culture


An Overview of Safety Culture

Neither a Buzzword nor an Easy Fix

MSHA Defines Safety Culture

The History of Safety and Safety Culture

Safety at the Workplace

How Well Are We Doing?

Consequence Concentration

Injuries Almost Irrelevant

Upstream Actions

Near-Miss Incidents

Modern Safety Culture

Work-Related and Non-Work-Related Accidents

Homes More Dangerous Than Workplaces?

Status Quo

H.W. Heinrich

Frank E. Bird, Jr

Bird vs. Heinrich


Accident Causation Theories

Accident Sequence

Failure to Assess the Risk

Lack of Control

Basic Causes or Root Causes

Immediate Causes

Contact and Exchange of Energy

Injury, Damage, or Loss

A Measure of Safety


Safety Culture Change Management Functions



Management Leadership

What Is a Manager?

Basic Safety Management Functions

Safety Planning

Organizing for Safety

Safety Leading

Safety Controlling

Safety Culture Change Management Principles


Safety Management Principles

Safety Culture Change Success

Principle of Safety Management Results

Principle of the Key Safety Advocate

Principle of Safety Leadership

Principle of Setting Safety Objectives

Principle of Resistance to Safety Change

Principle of Safety Communication

Principle of Safety Participation

Principle of Safety Definition

Principle of Safety Reporting

Principle of Safety Authority

Principle of Interest in Safety

Principle of the Critical Few

Principle of Safety Recognition

Past Safety Experience Predicts Future Experience Principle

Principle of Safety Application

Principle of Point of Control

Principle of Multiple Causes


A Culture of Fear


Embedded Culture

International Culture

Safety Bribery

Injuries Off-the-Job

Underground Mine Injury

Safety Incentives

E’s Story (as told to me)

Condoned Practice

Fear of Reporting




The Biggest Challenge

Declaring Amnesty

Cardinal Rules

Creating a Safe Space

Case Study


Key Attributes of a Positive Safety Culture


Safety as a Value

Safety Ethics


Safety Strategy

Mission Statement

Safety Philosophy

Safety Principles

Safety Policy Statement

Health and Safety Standards

What System Are You Running?

Strong Leadership in Place

Management Training



Establishing Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability

Declaration of Safety Amnesty

A Trust Forum between Employees and Management

Employee Empowerment in Safety

Safety Matters Receive Attention

Development of Employees and Unions

Ongoing Improvement

Constant Monitoring of Progress

Safety Standards Set and Maintained

The Safety Team

The Workplace

Safety Communication Systems

Building Blocks of a Good Safety Culture

Safety Management Systems

Safety Management Systems

Risk Based

Management Led

Audit Based

Internationally Accepted Risk-Based Safety Systems

NOSA and SPI Five-Star Safety and Health Management System

British Safety Council Five-Star Health and Safety Audit System

International Loss Control Institute International Safety Rating System (ISRS)

British Standards Institute Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series System (BSI-OHSAS 18001)

SANS OHSAS 18001:2011

SANS OHSAS 18002:2011

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)


Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 1


Major Decision


Safety Leadership Team (SLT)

Management Training

Declaration of Safety Amnesty (No-Blame Culture)

A Safe Space

Credibility of Culture Change

Development of Employees and Unions

Sharing of Knowledge

Employee Empowerment in Safety

Listening to the Workforce

All on Board

The Next Steps

Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 2

Risk Assessment

Risk Control

Establishing Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability

Appointment of a Senior Manager

Example of an Accountabilities Standard

Safety Audits

Safety Culture Survey

Action Plans Based on Audit Results

Taking Action


Safety and Organizational Goals

Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 3


Business Order (Good Housekeeping)

The Buildings and Floors

Demarcation of Work Areas and Walkways

Stacking and Storage


Toilet, Washroom, and Lunchroom Facilities

Mechanical and Electrical Environment

Ergonomic Surveys

Occupational Hygiene Risks


Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 4

Implementing the Safety System Controls


Management Control

Implementing a Safety Management System (SMS)

Developing Safety System Standards

How Does a Safety System Impact Safety Culture?

Changing the Culture


Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 5


The Safety Department

Duties and Functions of a Safety Practitioner


Occupational Hygiene

Safety, Health, Environment, Quality, and Liability (SHEQR)

Professional Behavior

Key Role

Appointing Champions for Change

The Safety Advocates

Safety and Health Representatives (Safety Representatives)


Steps toward Shifting the Workplace Safety Culture—Part 6

Monitoring Progress

Keeping the Culture

Recognizing Safety Achievements

Riding the Bicycle


The Aluminum Company Case Study


The Situation as It Was

Safety in the Safety Department

Training Areas

Support of Safety Team

Culture Change

Executive Safety Committee

The First Fatality

The Second Fatality

My Predecessors

The Safety Committee

The Showdown

The CEO Saves the Day



Some Safety Culture Achievements during the 2 Years


And Then What Happened?

The Copper Mine Case Study


How It Started

Initial Contact

The Implementation Phase

As It Was

Management Closeout

Only the Plant

The First External Audit

The Mine Buys into the System

No Follow-Up from NOSA

The Contract

The First 3 Months

The Safety Leadership Team

Reporting Hierarchy

Restructuring of the Safety Department

Injury Management

The Safety and Health Representatives


Managers Now Attend the Training

Safety System Development

Resistance to Change

Staff Development

One Five-Star Area

Copper Company Merger

New Corporate Safety Director

MSHA Training

Training of Safety and Health Representatives and the Jackets

Internal Accredited Auditor Training

External Audits

Reductions in Injury Rates

Safety Culture Change




About the Originator


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety