a safe production culture

Our model of Safe Production Culture, built using years of operational experience and academic research, relies upon four groups of four dimensions each to fully understand the intricacies of what drives Safe Production behavior, and what levers exist for organizations to enhance their Safe Production. Rooted in the fundamental relationship between Attitudes, Behaviors, and Results, we understand that to produce long-term, enduring results, organizations must change attitudes and behaviors, and our experience has shown that these sixteen dimensions provide the most efficient and effective path to do so.

Created to bridge the gap between traditional models of safety culture, which often fail to contemplate or incorporate the business and operational contexts of safety, and many organizational culture models, which do not fully consider the nuances of safety upon enterprise culture, the Culture of Safe Production Model provides a method of interpreting and understanding observations within an organization’s culture that offers both process-driven and people-focused lenses. Each dimension provides a unique method of understanding and interpreting organizational Safe Production Culture.

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Our research has demonstrated one of the key dimensions to driving a safe production culture is organizational learning. Not only does it improve safety performance, but it also improves profitability while reducing absenteeism and employee turnover.

Ask yourself these four questions to determine how you are doing in terms of organizational learning.
1. What learning processes do you have and how operationalized are they?
2. Do workers feel safe? Do they feel part of a blameless culture?
3. Do people get defensive when you provide feedback?
4. What happens when people challenge the status quo?

We are Propulo; Safety Culture Transformation advisors working with fortune 500 companies looking to change and transform their safety culture. With eight offices and over 15 years’ experience.

strategic dimensions


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An organization’s Direction provides a unifying goal or mission and a set of values to align the actions of the workforce around, and this dimension provides a focus on the presence and effectiveness of that goal-setting, including its integration into work, its embodiment by leaders, and its effective internalization by the employees.


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Organizational learning is a vital component of culture, whether as it relates to safety, operational excellence, or customer experience, and this dimension examines the availability, utilization, and effectiveness of organizational learning capabilities, including training, incident investigation, and continuous improvement.


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Representing the degree to which employees are prepared for emergencies such as injuries or catastrophic equipment failure, as well as the degree to which the organization is ready for external emergencies, such as significant weather events or major changes to the business, the Emergency Preparedness dimension is a vital input to Safe Production Culture.


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Effective organizations convey information in a manner by which the employee feels that they are a part of the organization’s ‘story,’ and this dimension examines the ways and effectiveness of the organization’s inclusion of the employee in that story, as well as the overall feeling by the employees of the tone of the company’s narrative.

structural dimensions


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Incorporating insights from the structure, design, orientation, and function of the organization, as well as the key facets of talent development and the consideration of job design, career path development, and individual skill integration, this dimension focuses on the manner in which the company’s structure, design, and practices affect its culture.


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Procedures reflect the established, official, codified ways of doing something. Whether the work itself, the process of reporting incidents, the way that work is planned, disseminated, and recapped, or the way that the work site is cleaned and prepared for the next shift, procedures provide standardization and ensure that best practices are incorporated into daily activity.


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Organizations are only as effective as their plans, and the ability to plan, forecast, and incorporate goals – including those that are customer-focused, production-focused, and safety-focused into their planning activities is an essential component of winning cultures, regardless of geography or industry.


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Whether hammers or computer systems, hard hats or speakerphones, the physical tools that an employee utilizes to do their job are an essential component of culture; this dimension examines the presence, quality, maintenance, and procurement of the equipment, as well as the degree of trust that employees have in the tools that they are provided.

interpersonal dimensions


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Engagement is an evaluation of the degree to which employees are involved and embrace the processes of production management, safety management, and quality management that affect their day-to-day work. Reflecting the commitment that employees have to bettering their work lives, engagement reflects the levels of discretionary effort expended by workers.


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Any organization’s culture of Safe Production is built on the backbone of effective leadership, and the Oversight dimension examines this culture of leadership, including the general capabilities of leaders, their methods, the presence or absence of a management operating system, and the approach that leaders take related to proactive excellence.


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Effective Communication occurs in four directions – upwards, downwards, laterally, and internally – and includes a verbal, written, and visual component; each of these characteristics of the culture is assessed in the Communication dimension, one of the most impactful areas of a culture that we will examine.

social dynamics

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Reflecting the degree to which employees interact with one another and with management when it comes to safety and general workplace activities, the Social Dynamics dimension includes a look at external cultural factors as well as an examination of the ways in which employees act toward one another as it relates to safety.

intrapersonal dimensions


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Including both employee Perceptiveness of hazards and threats, as well as the Perceptiveness of leaders as it relates to working conditions, this dimension presents a view of the organization’s relative awareness of where they are as it relates to performance, as well as the degree to which employees and managers can recognize possible improvement areas.


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Providing insight into the degree of accountability and the level to which employees feel that they can influence outcomes, as well as the degree to which the organization integrates safety into performance management, and company’s relative social responsibility, this dimension offers insight into the overall degree of ownership that employees hold.


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Potentially related to Emergency Preparedness, the Security dimension examines the degree to which employees are safe and secure from threats outside their direct, day-to-day, work; this includes an assessment of the organization’s financial security and its impact on job security, as well as the security of the workplace itself.


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Far more than just ‘change management,’ the dimension of Adaptability includes examinations of the degree to which the organization has structured itself in an outside-in manner, the existence – and utilization – of change readiness processes, and the inclusion of employee perspectives and efforts in organizational change.

The Propulo Maturity Model exists to provide organizations with a broad sense of their enterprise cultural maturity. Clearly, there will be aspects of an organization’s culture that exist at each level of the Safe Production Maturity Model; however, rather than attempting to evaluate maturity for any one dimension, or even any group of dimensions, our approach is to assess cultural maturity at a broad, organizational level, understanding it in the context of the enterprise.

The Maturity Model consists of six levels of cultural maturity, each characterized by a different set of criteria, general ‘feelings,’ cultural markers, behaviors, and decisions made by the organization.

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Decisions and actions are detrimental to organization (active disengagement).


Rules are followed for the sake of following rules, not because belief in them.


Rule-following is because of hazard avoidance (e.g., ‘if you do X, you won’t have Y happen to you’.


Emerging focus on the achievement of safe/good outcomes rather than the avoidance of hazards/problems.


Focus is not just on their own performance, nor that of their team, but on the operational and overall performance of the organization.


Social responsibility is prominent. People think about the impact of their decisions on other divisions of the company, their customers, and the general public.

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