24_HSE_Corner HSE CORNER: Building a Positive Health and Safety Culture

A positive workplace health and safety culture is a vital part of a successful and effective health and safety system. It is created and embraced by the mentality, attitude, and behaviour of employees, supervisors, managers and company directors towards health and safety in the workplace.

The idea of building or changing a company health and safety culture may seem difficult because your workplace may have fallen into a pattern of complacency and does things in a certain way. However, this mind-set may potentially lead to accidents, incidents and occupational illnesses, which will have a negative effect on the company.


Key elements in establishing and maintaining a positive health and safety culture in your workplace are:


Good Communication

One method in increasing safety communication and building a positive health and safety culture is by holding weekly or monthly safety meetings or briefings. By letting employees lead these will get a better response and give the employees a sense of ownership. Establish health and safety policies and procedures, which are easily available electronically or on paper, and use the company intranet to communicate safe methods of working, the company’s expectations, and best practices when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.



Training employees demonstrates the company’s commitment to health and safety. Employees who are trained tend to embrace a health and safety culture more easily because they understand hazards and the effect that they can have on maintaining workplace safety. It is important to remind employees of key points from the training to reinforce the message and ensure they understand what is required.


Leading by Example

Leading by example and following health and safety policies and procedures will encourage employees to do the same. If the company management commits to health and safety, employees will follow. Employees buy-in is crucial to a positive health and safety culture. Workers won’t buy-in to health and safety if they don’t see policies and procedures being followed by their superiors.


Positive Reporting Process

Reward employees who report hazards. A positive health and safety culture will be much easier to build and maintain when employees feel comfortable reporting issues and believe that the reporting process is positive.


Employee Engagement

Building and maintaining a positive health and safety culture starts from the ground up. Involving employees in the process will enable better buy-in in achieving the objective. Ask employees how they would like the reporting process to work and get feedback on the company’s current methods of communicating.


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