We are now arriving at what has seemed to be an elusive solution as to why the hierarchy of controls is not wholly effective in reducing risk and harm to employees. During the past 20 years there has been increasing evidence of the role that corporate, or organizational, culture plays in determining safety performance.
A company’s culture can be simplistically described as what an organization says it values and how it acts on these values. Managers who say they believe in working safely yet stress production over safety, encouraging shortcuts, are not acting in line with what they espouse as their values. This inconsistency between what is said and what is done generally leads to employee distrust of management. Safety performance does not depend on only the compliance-driven safety program. It also depends on whether or not the company encourages or hinders the safety program.