Improving safety culture through the health and safety organization: A case study: Safety Journal Club Discussion, Sept 29, 2020

Led by:

Kali A. Miller

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Nielsen, K. J. Improving safety culture through the health and safety organization: A case study. Journal of Safety Research2014, 48, 7-17.

Rae, D.; Provan, D. How do you know if your safety team is a positive influence on your safety climate? Safety of Work: Ep. 3, December 1, 2019.


What specific aspects of your organizational safety climate are you trying to improve right now?

  • Publishers enforcing safety information sections in research publications
  • Uncovering how work is actually being performed in academic research laboratories – it seems too much is either “surprising to find out” or unknown by those who should know since they are the ones designing trainings and policies to address safety matters
  • Academic researchers being more willing to communicate to safety professionals what the problems are; want the opportunity to address the problem so that this encourages others to share problems
  • Want to get researchers to be more systematic in use of SOPs – use them and make sure the content is relevant. For risk assessment training, I want to make this useful – not so general that it is useless, but not so detailed that it is overwhelming
  • Ventilation is a serious problem in our building. An engineering study was done in 2016, but with change in administration of the last few years, fixing this issue has dropped on the priority list – even though students are reporting headaches and nausea when working on the top floor of the building.
  • Not addressing major safety issues undermines trust that students have in safety culture and education efforts: if you don’t care enough about safety to fix these problems, then why should I be mindful of my safety practices? (bad example)
  • Dealing with COVID; discovering the resilience of a smaller institution; it is a different thing to deal with because we are considering “community protective equipment”
  • Due to COVID, we are aiming to create videos to introduce 1st years to the research labs; hope to incorporate discussions about research safety in the labs into these videos – could even be useful post-COVID
  • In the long term, ask one’s self every day: Have I impacted anyone’s life positively (or negatively)?

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