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Definition Examples of Safety Culture and Overlap with Safety Climate

Definition Examples of Safety Culture

Below are examples of definitions of safety culture.

American Nurses Association (ANA)

A culture of safety describes the core values and behaviors that come about when there is collective and continuous commitment by organizational leadership, managers, and healthcare workers to emphasize safety over competing goals (ANA, 2016).

The Joint Commission (TJC)

Safety culture is the sum of what an organization is and does in the pursuit of safety (TJC, 2021).

T.R. Lee

The safety culture of an organization is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management (Lee, 1996).

Descriptions of Safety Culture

  • Collective reflection of the perception, attitudes, and shared experiences of the safety culture
  • Your smaller work unit or “microcosm” should reflect the organization’s positive safety culture

Attributes include:

  • Emphasis on quality
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership support
  • Communication
  • Non-punitive response to errors
  • Perception of organizational commitment
  • Work design
  • Staffing and workload

Resources (Gershon et al., 2004; Stone et al., 2005).

Overlap and Differences Between Safety Culture and Safety Climate

The terms ”safety culture” and “safety climate” are often used interchangeably.

  • Safety culture is a broad term encompassing overall organizational culture, values, and actions.
  • Safety climate is a narrower term focusing on staff’s current perceptions about supervision, resources, and policies that support how safety practices are monitored and managed through trust and transparency (TJC, 2021).