Safety culture is not a new concept, with origins dating back to 1986 and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The recognition of safety culture in organizations and its influence on incidents has been growing, with gaps in safety culture having been cited as a major contributory factor to recent failures in the oil and gas industry including the Piper Alpha event nearly a quarter of a century ago and was most recently identified as a causal factor in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Many different approaches have been developed to measure and assess organizational attitudes and behaviours, with the goal of improving safety culture. Traditional approaches for measurement have focused on:
▪ Questionnaires or surveys.
▪ Focus groups.
▪ Document analysis.
While these approaches have provided valuable information regarding safety culture, more progressive approaches are being considered by leading companies. The establishment of Safety Culture Indicators and Continuous Monitoring as a method for improving safety culture is becoming more prevalent. This new approach enables companies to leverage the management systems that already are in place for managing their increasingly complex operating environments. Regulators have recognized this too and are beginning to recommend that continuous monitoring be included in a company’s toolbox as an additional approach to assessing internal safety culture.
This paper describes a comprehensive safety culture maturity model created to provide organizations with a method to review their management system and assess their existing safety culture. The assessment aids the development of a suite of organization-specific indicators to facilitate application of a continuous monitoring approach for ongoing improvement of safety culture.