For some years I’ve distinguished between the “business of safety” and the “culture of safety.” The term “business of safety” is my way of describing those things some organizations tend to do first, such as conducting criminal background checks or adding fences, cameras locks and bulletproof glass. These are usually the first things an organization does because they can be readily executed and the organization can require compliance from its employees and volunteers. Sadly, this is not only where many organizations start, it is also where they stop.
But we also have the “culture of safety” which is my way of describing those things that cause people to take pride in their safety program, to take full ownership of safety, to hold others accountable, to strive for continuous improvement and even aspire for a certain level of excellence through safety. These are not things that we can demand of the people within an organization, rather they are the things that people must choose to do.
The culture is the key to change, which is why business guru, Peter Drucker, famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”