Safety Culture Evaluation

The QualaTech Safety Culture Evaluation/Assessment process is designed to identify the kind/type of Safety Culture - comprising of three categories: Reactive, Calculative or Proactive - in effect within an Organization.

This is in keeping with Annex 19 Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), confirming the importance of developing and promoting a positive Safety Culture to support the SMS. Therefore, an organization’s Safety Culture (the people), directly affect the effectiveness of the SMS.

Various SARPs specific to Annex 19 and others, promote 'Safety' as a fundamental process in business success. SMS is a dynamic system, established on policy, procedure and process.

Establishing the type of Safety Culture, benchmarking it and assessing the effectiveness is a very difficult process to accomplish from within an Organization without bias or equally as damaging, without an Apprehension of Bias. The best practice is via a nonpartisan 3rd. Party Organization, which can accomplish the Safety Culture Evaluation/Assessment without prejudice.

A rigorous Safety Culture Evaluation/Assessment is not only good for Business and Safety alike but equally, is excellent proof in attaining due diligence. Without understanding the status quo (benchmark), it is not reasonable or possible to improve and/or reform a deficient Culture, Safety or other.

To quote the IATA"

"An SMS is not enough to ensure safety

ICAO Annex 19 – Safety Management, has made safety management programs compulsory over the last five years. ICAO has now taken it one step further, amending Annex 19 to introduce recommendations for a positive safety culture. This amendment is applicable
from November 2019 and affirms that safety is inherent in the business.

Any organization that is required to implement a safety management program must now measure and continuously improve its internal safety culture. This includes airlines, manufacturers, training organizations, ANSPs and airports, all of whom have already been covered by Annex 19’s safety management system (SMS) provisions.

The amendment also explicitly addresses the key role of States and civil aviation authorities in not only establishing a positive safety culture, but in its promotion. In particular, since the safety policies of service providers to the aviation industry are contingent on national requirements, the role of States is pivotal."

A Safety Culture is defined as a set of six enduring values, behaviors and attitudes, shared by every member at every level within an organization.

  1. Commitment: The extent to which every level of the organization has a positive attitude towards safety and recognizes its importance. Top management should be genuinely committed to maintaining a high level of safety and motivating the workforce to do so as well.
  2. Justness (“Just Culture”): The extent to which safe behavior and reporting of safety issues are encouraged and/or rewarded while unsafe behavior is discouraged.
  3. Information: The extent to which information is distributed to the right people in the Organization. Work-related information must be communicated in the right way to the right people.
  4. Awareness: The extent to which the workforce and management are aware of the risks for themselves and for others implied by the Organization’s operations. The workforce and management should be constantly maintaining a high degree of vigilance with respect to safety issues.
  5. Adaptability: The extent to which employees and management are willing to learn from past experiences and are able to take whatever action is necessary in order to enhance the level of safety within the organization.
  6. Behavior: The extent to which every level of the Organization behaves to maintain and improve the level of safety. From the management side, the importance of safety should be recognized and everything needed to maintain and enhance safety should be put in place.

A positive Safety Culture relies on a high degree of trust and respect between the workforce and management. This is why the QAC Safety Culture Evaluation considers the views and perceptions of both managers and regular employees.

Embodied within a positive Safety Culture is a shared responsibilities towards achieving the Organization’s safety objectives. Accountability for safety is promoted systemwide and everyone is continuously striving to preserve and enhance safety. Every person must be willing and able to adapt and change to safety issues: and equally, they are willing to communicate safety concerns.

Within a 'Safety Culture' six sub-cultures can be identified. The sub-cultures comprise:

  1. Informed Culture: Provides current knowledge about the human, technical, organisation and environmental factors.
  2. Flexible Culture: Adapt in the face of high-tempo operations or certain kinds of danger.
  3. Reporting Culture: People are prepared to report their errors and near-misses.
  4. Just Culture: There is an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged (even rewarded) for providing essential safety-related information, but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
  5. Learning Culture: An organisation must possess the willingness and the competence to draw the right conclusions from its safety information systems along with the will to implement major reforms.

To learn more about the QualaTech 'Safety Culture Evaluation' Service/process, please contact QualaTech for more information.