I recently had a conversation with a colleague employed by a regional Safety Association who mentioned he doesn't believe there is such thing as "Safety Culture". There was interruption before I could clearly understand what he was attempting to communicate. We know Safety can never be "FIRST" (this is a commonly used misnomer) because we need to create return for stakeholders. Whether a small organization looking to make ends meet and small profits to feed and clothe the families , or a multinational conglomerate reporting, through a Board of Directors, to shareholders: Profit needs to be on the table or there is no organization.
"Management must always in every decision and action put economic performance first. It can only justify its existence and its authority by the economic results it produces.”
— Practice of Management, Peter Drucker
So when we look at core values and a corporate culture, what does this mean and where does Health, Safety and Environment fit in?
I believe my colleague and I have a mutual understanding there is no separation between "Safety Culture" and Corporate Culture, and therefore the statement regarding no such thing as "Safety Culture" should be that Safety is an integral part of the Corporate Culture and needs to be addressed in front lines of defence.
Resilient, Sustainable Organizations develop Corporate Culture from their core values and communicate these clearly throughout the Organization. A "Safety Culture" has to be in line, and built into the Corporate Culture to properly function.
To create this Corporate Culture of the Resilient (able to spring back quickly…), Sustainable (able to be maintained, long lasting…) Organization, it is my strong belief every organization, no matter the size, must properly define Risk Tolerance of the organization, in written policy, and properly communicate this throughout all business units.
For this to happen, a Corporate Culture where everyone is on the same page, working for the sustained development of the Organization, and sharing the core values by demonstrating not only compliance to regulation but continually creating Best Practice in industry by sharing these values throughout business units and clearly communicating ideas changes and challenges. In an ever changing world where our processes are being tweaked continuously where do we find continuity and alignment?
An Organization working to remain competitive in an ever changing, global environment needs to closely look at what will keep them long lasting; read sustainable, resilient. Creating the Resilient Sustainable Organization is about having core values shared and clearly communicated; read Corporate Culture. Within this culture we have to incorporate the best business practices to ensure our workers, the general public, stakeholders and the environment are properly protected in all areas, which means a Safe, Healthy, Happy and Productive workforce, and partners, stakeholders, neighbours, the general public and environmental concerns.