Pinnacol: September Newsletter

Editor’s Note: Association Newsletter Article–September 2008
Contact: Judy Stowell (303-361-4779,

Creating a Safety Culture Takes Time—But It’s Worth It

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that developing a strong safety culture within a company can have a greater impact on accident reduction than anything else you can do. While it takes time to implement a culture in which safety is an integral part of daily operations, the payoff can be lower employer turnover and absenteeism, higher productivity, and the ability to hold the line on your workers’ compensation costs.

In a strong safety culture, everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis. Employees go beyond the “call of duty” to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, and they intervene to correct them. Management values and rewards behavior that helps foster the safety culture.

So what does it take to develop a safety culture? Here are what the experts say are the necessary steps:

  • Obtain buy-in from top management.
  • Continue building buy-in for needed changes by forming an alliance or partnership between management and employees.
  • Build trust at all levels of your organization.
  • Conduct self-assessments/benchmarking.
  • Conduct initial training of management/supervisory staff and safety and health personnel to create a core group of people to draw upon as resources.
  • Establish a steering committee to facilitate, support, and direct the changes necessary to achieve a safety culture.
  • Develop a safety vision, key policies, goals, measures, and strategic and operational plans.
  • Align the organization by establishing a shared vision of safety and health goals and objectives vs. production.
  • Define specific roles and responsibilities for safety and health at all levels of the organization. Safety and health must be viewed as everyone’s responsibility.
  • Develop a system of accountability for all levels of the organization.
  • Develop measures and an ongoing measurement and feedback system.
  • Develop policies for recognition, rewards, incentives, and ceremonies.
  • Conduct awareness training and kick-off for all employees.
  • Implement process changes.
  • Continually measure performance, communicate results, and celebrate successes.

If you would like more detailed information on these steps, get OSHA’s fact sheet on creating a safety culture at

Assessing Your Safety Culture

Once you’re on your way to creating a safety culture, which can be a multi-year process, you will want to assess your progress. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How does the reward for safety performance compare to the rewards for production, quality, and the like?
  • Do the supervisor(s) and manager(s) receive rewards or recognition for their safety efforts?
  • Does the reward or recognition equate to the efforts or expectations being made?
  • Who is perceived to be in charge of safety in the organization?
  • Is safety a part of the performance evaluation system?

For more information on creating a safety culture, contact your Pinnacol Assurance marketing representative.



Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
 290 East Speer Boulevard Denver, CO  80203
 Telephone:  303.831.1722  |  Facsimile: 303.831.4205