7

Building a Safety Culture

Just as there are two ways to look at ‘human error,’ there are two ways to look at safety culture. The research on safety culture (and by now, there is a lot) has been saying this for a while.1 Depending on what view you take, you will either believe or reject the idea that you can “build” a safety culture. Or that a “safety culture” is separable and recognizable as such at all. The two views are:

•   the interpretivist view;

•   the functionalist view.

Don’t get put off by the big words, though. The two views are summarized in Table 7.1 overleaf. You will probably recognize what your organization believes about “safety culture.”

Table 7.1      The interpretivist and functionalist views of safety culture

Interpretivist ...

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