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Safety Culture - Theory and Practice

Safety Culture - Theory and Practice,Patrick Hudson

Safety Culture - Theory and Practice  
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Safety Culture is seen as a way of ensuring high levels of safety performance in organisations, in contrast to the systematic engineered management of hazards and effects. This paper examines the notion of a safety culture in terms of the characteristics of being informed and trusting. These notions are related to more general organisational dimensions describing behaviours an attitudes. Cultures are seen as being defined by their Values, their Beliefs, their Common working Practices and also the ways in which they respond to unusual situations. In a Safety Culture these are all aligned to ensure safe operation even, or especially, when hazardous operations are undertaken. The evolutionary framework of cultures from the Pathological and the Reactive, through the Calculative or Bureaucratic to the Proactive and Generative cultures are described. The Generative culture is equated with the High Reliability Organisations identified in studies of military and civil high risk operations. Next a model is proposed for how to change organisations in order to acquire a safety culture. Finally the barriers to successful intervention are discussed. These include the nature of bureaucratic organisations, the conflicting goals of regulators, failures of management and the fact that change processes are hard.
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