DOMAIN SPECIFIC INSTRUMENTS
Presented here are a collection of safety culture assessment tools and instruments sorted into categories by industry. Where available, psychometric information is provided along with peer-reviewed publications and references. Please follow the links to view the instruments for each industry:
Several assessment tools have been developed to help assess safety culture: questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, observations, and document analysis. No one tool is completely valid; therefore, to effectively assess safety culture it is suggested that all of these tools be used jointly. If it is not feasible to use all of the assessment tools, then one tool representing each of the following categories should be used to gain an accurate safety culture assessment:
CATEGORY 1: ASCERTAINING INFORMATION FROM EMPLOYEES
Safety culture questionnaires assess the attitudes, values, and perceptions of employees regarding their organization’s safety culture. Self-completion questionnaires are the easiest, least expensive, and the most commonly used assessment tool. However, their usefulness is limited as they assess an organization’s safety climate rather than safety culture. Therefore, they can provide only a snapshot of the tangible aspects of an organization’s safety culture. Although this information can be valuable, it does not give a complete view of the organizational culture.
Interviews are a good method for gaining information on experiences and personal practices pertaining to safety culture as well as detailed information on how participants view and interpret safety within their organization. There is no standard practice when it comes to performing an interview; however, safety culture interviews are typically semi-structured and consist of open ended questions.
Focus groups are a flexible way to gain information on a specific target group’s perceptions, values, and opinions of safety culture. Focus groups can also be used to brainstorm and come up with solutions to safety issues within an organization. Small groups of people tend to work best when creating a focus group.
CATEGORY 2: TAKING ACTION
Observation is a useful way to find out what actions and activities are actually taking place within the workplace (e.g., employees’ accepted safety practices). Observation generally takes a good amount of planning in order to be effective and can be costly. It can also be biased if the individuals being observed know that they are being observed.
CATEGORY 3: OUTCOMES OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Document analysis is an effective way to track a safety record, examine previous incidents, and get a baseline for where an organization is in terms of safety culture. Documents included in the analysis are typically: minutes from safety meetings, risk assessments, incident reports and investigations, audit reports, maintenance records, and training records.