When Your Safety Culture Is A Lie

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A quick update on my research.

I recently watched on YouTube and then read Navigating the safety culture construct: a review of the evidence (July 2016) by Dr Dominic Cooper. I think it’s a nice well-rounded and provocative piece of work, something I intend to revisit from time to time. In my first read, I gathered two points that I’d like to share with you:

First, in research terms, core assumed basic assumptions are invisible, taken for granted beliefs and values that underpin safety culture. They can also come with an inherent flaw. Workers can be impulsive and agree with whatever core assumptions are put before them. And as a result, their safety culture can be a facade. The point Cooper makes is that there’s nothing to anchor those assumptions.

A safety culture without credible foundations is like a wardrobe without hangers – an empty closet.

Second, Cooper also moots that core assumptions could be better replaced by values. Oddly enough in a previous post (and as in other studies) I’ve promoted the five common tikanga Māori values as values.

So here I go again about the benefits of traditional indigenous values and safety culture. I think that indigenous cultural values can anchor core assumptions because those values have a longer history and stronger sense of affiliation with indigenous workers. Again, I see no reason why those values could not be supplemented by other values to enfranchise other workers from other cultures.

It feels good to run across Navigating the safety culture construct: a review of the evidence (July 2016). It confirms that I’m on the right track.

So What?

Do your homework – Your safety culture needs to be anchored by strong recognizable values and those values need to be validated.

Next Post

In my next post I’m going to promote a taxonomy for indigenous safety culture.

Author: VK Walker

I am wanting describe a model for indigenous safety culture. As a PhD student I am interested in health and safety research including cultures, diversity and the use of traditional indigenous knowledge to inform modern health and safety practices. I am also a New Zealand Government Health and Safety Inspector.

2 thoughts on “When Your Safety Culture Is A Lie”

  1. Good takeaway. I particularly like your summary “A safety culture without credible foundations is like a wardrobe without hangers – an empty closet”. Well said and keep up the good work. It would be very interesting to see how Maori values align with the Schwartz 2012 model of values. Please keep me posted


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