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Safety leadership and culture

To develop a positive safety culture in your business, you need to show strong safety leadership.

Safety leadership

Safety leadership is influencing others to adopt health and safety as an important work goal. Through leading by example in the workplace, team leaders, managers and executives can:

  • help build workers’ safety knowledge and motivation
  • increase compliance with safety rules
  • encourage proactive safety behaviours.

Leaders should demonstrate their commitment to work health and safety by being actively involved in their business and encouraging and valuing workers’ participation.

Strong safety leadership will influence the safety climate and build a positive safety culture. This will result in improved worker safety behaviours.

Safety culture is about the value placed on placed on safety by everyone—it's often described as the personality of an organisation, while safety climate is referred to an organisation's 'mood'.

A positive safety culture exists when an organisation’s structure, systems and processes help workers to operate safely consistently over the long term.

Safety climate is a snapshot of safety at one point in time and it can change rapidly. For example, safety climate might be raised after putting a new safety procedure in place or after an incident. If that higher safety climate lasts a long time, it can lead to changes in the underlying culture.

The following model demonstrates the many elements that impact a strong safety culture.

Diagram showing the different elements of the Safety Leadership at Work model

Learn how to measure and improve your safety climate and culture.

The LEAD model

The LEAD model brings together many different theories of safety leadership into one practical framework that you can apply in your place of work. It describes the specific skills that are needed for certain work situations.

Learn how to apply the LEAD model in your place of work.

Note: We are transitioning the LEAD Survey Tool to a new Measures of Safety Culture survey in early 2021. Measures of Safety Culture will be a broader survey of safety culture including safety leadership. For more information contact safetyleadership@oir.qld.gov.au

The Safety Leadership at Work Program aims to improve safety culture and contribute to reducing work-related injuries and fatalities in Queensland workplaces.

Through the program, safety leaders at all levels can learn from others, develop their safety leadership skills and build a positive safety culture in their workplace.

Join the program.

We've developed a series of webinars on the following topics:

  • Introduction to safety culture and climate webinar
  • Safety culture and climate in transport webinar
  • Safety culture and climate in public administration and health and community services
    • Safety culture and climate in public administration and health and community services - case studies
  • Safety culture and climate in construction webinar
  • Conclusion and next steps
  • Additional webinars on safety culture and climate

View the webinars.

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