Safety culture assessments are used to further support an understanding of the safety and health program
and to promote continuous improvement. Specific protections for vulnerable workers should be used.
Safety culture is a set of shared values and beliefs that influence actions and practices regarding workplace
safety and health, shaping how decisions are made, how the organization operates, and how peers and
leadership build safe and healthy workplaces.
Safety culture is part of the organization’s culture. It does not exist in isolation. Safety culture cannot be
managed, but it can be supported and influenced.
A workplace with a strong safety culture shares common values (e.g., what is considered important) and beliefs
(e.g., how values are achieved) which include:
• People expect safety and health in the workplace
• People in the workplace are our most valuable resource
• Safety and health is valued with productivity, quality and pay
• Workplace injuries and illnesses can be prevented
• Leaders drive improvement
• We all play a part in building safe and healthy workplaces
A workplace enacting these values and beliefs characterizes a workplace with a strong safety culture.
Safety climate is related to safety culture − it is a snapshot of the attitudes and the shared perceptions workers
have regarding safety. Understanding attitudes of workers, and their perception of the employer’s commitment
to safety and health, can reveal information that may not be readily assessed through documentation or
Workers should have confidence in the safety and health of their work and workplace. Worker perceptions
should be considered in managing safety and health.
SAFE Work Certified Audit Framework
Safety culture is not scored as part of an audit, rather it is used to support an understanding of the safety and
health program relative to the organization and for continuous improvement.
The Safety Culture element uses three distinct assessment tools requiring the auditor’s assessment and
1. Safety Culture Assessment (developed in collaboration with the Institute of Work and Health) provides the
workplace with an assessment which can further an understanding of their safety culture and contribute to
continuous improvement. Using the measurement scale provided for each of the 12 statements, the auditor
must determine the percentage of time each practice takes place within the organization as a whole. For
the purpose of this assessment, an audit means a formal process of evaluating and reporting on how the
organization manages safety and health in accordance with a recognized standard (e.g., CSA, OHSAS, ISO)
or a professional safety and health audit. “Regular” means that an audit is repeated at regular intervals (e.g.,
once every year or once every two years). The Safety Culture Assessment aligns to each of the safety culture
values, beliefs and dimensions. Assessment results will be used to support the broad evaluation of the SAFE
Work Certified program and safety culture in Manitoba. See: Appendix 4 for a sample of the Safety Culture
2. Safety Perceptions - Where workplaces have used safety culture assessments (e.g., surveys,
focus groups, etc.) the SAFE Work Certified auditor will also consider these results including:
• corrective actions
• feedback loop to workers.
The SAFE Work Certified auditor must comment on workers’ perceptions of the organization’s commitment
to safety and health (see: questions 15 and 16 from worker interviews). Where there are negative responses,
or responses that are inconsistent with overall audit findings, the auditor should provide a recommendation to
improve safety perceptions.
3. Culture of Safety Maturity (Adapted from: www.energyinst.org/heartsandminds) - This tool is used to
indicate where an organization sits on the culture of safety and health spectrum. Upon completion of
audit activities, the auditor must indicate his or her assessment of the organization’s overall performance as
either: Generative - safety and health programming is fully integrated as a priority into all aspects of business
operations, Proactive - safety and health programming is driven by leaders and values that drive continuous
improvements, Calculative - safety and health programming is driven by managing hazards, or
Reactive - safety and health programming is driven by responses to incidents.
RETSD Prescriptive Objective Evidence (Best Practices and Standard Identification)
RETSD Performance Based Objective Evidence (Execution of Best Practices and Adherence to Standards)
RETSD Action Plan for Continual Improvement (Plan, Do, Study, Act)