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Safety Culture: Measuring the Unmeasurable

Safety culture is one of the most provocative topics in the profession. But what is safety culture exactly?  And, maybe even more importantly, what isn’t safety culture? With seemingly endless definitions, proprietary assessment tools, and maturity models, the field of safety culture has become confusing and controversial. At the same time, regulators have recently begun to require organizations to describe, measure, and report safety culture. 

In this study we will attempt to create a useful scientific definition by exploring which dimensions of safety culture may be empirically observed, and which cannot. We will then seek to measure the empirical dimensions using validated scientific criteria, ensuring that we at least measure what we think we are measuring. By underpinning safety culture with logic and evidence, we may begin to understand where we stand and how we can measurably improve. 

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