Safety culture is a concept which has garnered increasing interest within the pipeline industry in recent years. Made up of the attributes and values of a company as well as the perceptions and values of the individuals within it, safety culture reflects the organization’s commitment to safety. Improvement of an organization’s safety culture can result in a reduction in the frequency of undesired events.

The assessment of safety culture presents a number of challenges, including the appropriate selection of models and data gathering methodologies that provide measurable and repeatable results and address both personal and process safety; the development of action plans which drive change within the appropriate levels of an organization; and the measurement of improvement efforts and outcomes.

The objective of this paper is to share lessons learned and guidance based on experience conducting semi-quantitative safety culture assessments. This paper will describe: researching and selecting a safety culture assessment model; selecting, developing, and customizing the assessment methods (e.g. document review, surveys, interviews, and observations); undertaking the assessment itself; quantifying and analyzing the findings of the assessment; developing recommendations that improve safety culture; and considerations for the implementation of action plans to ensure continual improvement.

The guidance provided in this paper is intended to help organizations improve the safety culture at all levels of the business in order to advance both personal and process safety performance.

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