Chapter 10.2.2: Organisational Culture – Reviewed and Repositioned

Chapter 10.2.2: Organisational Culture- Reviewed and Repositioned


The construct of ‘safety culture’ remains alive and well in industry and among researchers. However, research evidence linking safety culture with better occupational health and safety (OHS) outcomes is weak. While industry may not talk about ‘safety climate,’ the research findings linking safety climate with better OHS outcomes is strong. Therefore, OHS professionals should emphasise safety climate over safety culture. Specifically, OHS professionals should adopt an intervention evaluation process using safety climate to measure the effectiveness of interventions. Safety climate measures may also be used to target interventions in the first instance. A significant gap is identified between research and practice, and the research findings may not always reflect industry experience. This companion chapter to OHS Body of Knowledge 10.2.1 Organisational Culture: A Search for Meaning draws on a range of information sources, including a review of the post-2014 research evidence base and focused discussions with OHS professionals and organisational psychologists. Ultimately, it will be the law and workers who will judge whether an organisation’s efforts to create a healthy and safe working environment have been effective.

Organisational culture, safety culture, safety climate, OHS

First year of publication: 2019

Current Version: 2020

Chapter 10.2.2: Organisational Culture- Reviewed and Repositioned

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Research versus practice
3 Industry needs
4 The post-2014 evidence base
4.1 Six systematic reviews
4.2 Safety culture maturity model studies
4.3 Accident case studies
4.4 Summary of results
5 An evidence-informed statement
6 Industry needs versus the evidence base
7 Research-to-practice and practice-to-research gaps
8 From ‘safety culture’ to ‘culture of safety’
9 Intervention evaluation
10 Implications for OHS practice
11 Conclusion
12 Summary
Appendix 1: Excerpt from OHS Body of Knowledge 10.2.1 Organisational Culture: A Search for Meaning
Appendix 2: Summary of the post-2014 safety culture/climate evidence base
Appendix 3: Findings from focused discussions with OHS professionals
Appendix 4: Perspectives of organisational psychologists

David Borys PhD, MAppSc(OHS), GCertEd, AssocDip(OHS)

David Borys is an independent safety educator and researcher based in the United States. He provides research supervision support at RMIT University and Federation University Australia and taught safety management at East Carolina University. Previously he was the Program Coordinator for the Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management at Federation University Australia.

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