Much of the information presented here was provided by stakeholders who participated in a CPWR sponsored Safety Culture/Climate in Construction Workshop held June 2013. To read the full workshop report please go to: This information was made possible by cooperative agreement number U60-OH009762 to the CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NIOSH.

Review the ideas below and check the short-term (1-2 months), mid-term (6-12 months), or long-term (1-2 years) cycle to indicate which you will commit to adopt and by when. Congratulations, if you’ve already adopted the idea.

Idea 1—Integrate safety expectations into policies, procedures, and guidelines to ensure they are aligned with other organizational priorities

It may be that safety is not relevant to all policies and procedures, but it probably is to most of them. By incorporating and integrating appropriate safety language into those that are, organizational members will trust that the company really does value safety, and more importantly values their employees. Of course just writing it down does not make it happen. Adequate training and resources need to be made available to those responsible for implementing safety policies, and ensuring that worker safety is really the primary value.

Already Adopted     Short-term      Mid-term     Long-term

Idea 2—Bring together people from different departments and groups to discuss project related safety strategies

A positive safety climate thrives when employees in different departments or groups within an organization (or across different organizations) are given the opportunity to communicate about project-specific safety issues. For example, architects, engineers, construction workers, subcontractor managers, and even human resource employees have different perspectives on project-related safety implications and likely have different strategies for managing them. By bringing all parties to the table to discuss safety during project planning and execution, relationships are built, mutual trust is established, and safety becomes integrated and valued.

Already Adopted     Short-term      Mid-term     Long-term

Idea 3—Reinforce safety through on-going training

Supervisors and workers play an important role in identifying and addressing potential hazards. Ensuring that supervisors and workers receive training to effectively implement safety based on their roles helps everyone better understand their responsibilities for creating safe jobsite conditions. It also indicates that the organization values safety as part of productivity. Supervisor training should emphasize that safety cannot be compromised. It should focus on hazard identification, leadership, and communication skills needed to create and sustain a positive safety climate on the jobsite. Training for workers should equip them to be proactive agents in identifying and reporting potential safety hazards. Workers should also be aware of their right to stop work in cases of serious or imminent danger.

Already Adopted     Short-term      Mid-term     Long-term

Idea 4—Ensure safety is discussed at all regularly scheduled meetings

Incorporate safety issues into production and design meetings, weekly supervisory meetings, and other regularly scheduled management meetings. Start all meetings with a “safety minute”. Safety should be the focal point at all on-site, weekly, and daily planning meetings. Train supervisors to carry out safety-focused discussions with workers throughout the day about potential hazards and any close calls/good catches they may have experienced or witnessed. Whenever hazards are identified in any of these meetings they should be promptly addressed and all employees should be informed of how the issue has been or will be mitigated.

Already Adopted     Short-term      Mid-term     Long-term

Idea 5—Periodically assess if the company’s espoused safety-related values are aligned with other values such as productivity, reducing cost, etc.

Gathering both quantitative (surveys, audits) or qualitative (informal interviews, focus groups) safety climate data from workers and managers can help determine if there is a gap between what a company says about its safety values and its employees’ perceptions. The information can be used to reveal where changes may be needed. Data should also be collected after changes are made to determine if safety climate has improved.

Questions can assess the degree to which:

  • employees share a proactive vision of safety;
  • organizational safety goals are understood;
  • accountability is equal and applied evenly at all levels;
  • management demonstrates commitment to worker safety and health;
  • the roles and responsibilities for implementing safety are clearly defined and understood;
  • employees are a part of the safety process;
  • safety is valued equal to or greater than production;
  • workers feel empowered to stop work if they identify a hazardous situation;
  • the principles of prevention through design (PtD) are embraced; and
  • safety is integrated into planning and part of everything the organization does.

Already Adopted     Short-term      Mid-term     Long-term

Source: CPWR