Culture is best defined as “the way things really are around here.” That means every operation everywhere in the world has a safety culture. So, if you want to know what the safety culture is, all you have to do is stop, look and listen.
But, mainly, look: for all the talking, culture really boils down to how people behave.
When you start trying to figure out the culture – something everyone does, whether or not they realize they are doing exactly that – you have to have data. That’s because culture isn’t what any one person does: culture is what most people do.
Here’s a perfect – and tragic – recent example of safety culture, from the Liberty County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office:
A sixty year-old truck driver, Manual Rodriguez, was killed at about 8:30am this morning when he fell beneath the wheels of his dump truck. According to Liberty County Sheriff’s Lead Investigator Deputy Brad Taylor, he was a contract driver and was attempting to enter a security gate at the Trinity Materials Company located at 28125 Hwy. 146 north in order to get a load of sand.
Although there appears to have been no eye witnesses to the accident, Deputy Taylor said that sources told him that it is common practice for incoming drivers to open the door of their truck and stand on the running board or outside gas tank and “swipe” their entry card past the card reader as it is difficult to reach the card reader while sitting in their truck seats.
It appears that Rodriguez was standing on the side tank of his truck with the truck still in gear and slowly moving when he was knocked off the side of the truck by a nearby post and fell under the wheels of the truck where he sustained fatal injuries.
Don’t fall victim to the safety culture!