Components of a Safety Culture

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

Safety Culture. Those two words sound simple enough, but sometimes can be very complex within tree care companies. Throughout the 18 plus years of working with tree services, I’ve boiled down the complexity of safety cultures to three main components. 

Attitudes and Feelings – Certainly when all three components are present, a tree care company’s safety culture will be the strongest, however, without a solid focus on the attitude and feelings of the team towards safety the overall culture will suffer. That’s why the most important part of a tree care company’s safety culture are the attitudes and feelings of everyone involved. Essentially this begins with the leadership’s commitment towards getting everyone home safe each night and permeates throughout every individual on the team. The messaging that is used helps all believe in a safe workplace and therefore feel secure that everyone is looking out for their own and other’s safety.

Written Programs/Policies – I’ve said it many times before, the commitment to safety must be in writing in the form of a written safety program and policies. Safety is merely a concept that may be hard to grasp for some people, which is why specific expectations and procedures must be outlined in writing for your team to follow. Not only does it create consistency for all involved it gives a physical aspect to the importance of the topic. When a team member can hold a safety program in their hand, there is a transition that happens subconsciously from safety as a concept to a tangible part of their every day work. 

Training – Henry Ford is quoted as saying “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Can you imagine where your business would be today if you did not offer training to your team? Training your employees is the only way to ensure they understand the risk involved with every task they perform and operate in a way that you want for your organization. Training also enables your employees to feel confident that they are working for a company who values their individual safety and personal development. 

Focusing on these three components will drastically improve your safety culture and position your company for great success. 

Since ArboRisk’s mission is to get every arborist home safe each night, we’ve designed a specific consulting package to work one-on-one with your organization. Visit our webpage for the Thrive Safety Package to learn more. In addition to the Thrive Safety Package, all ArboRisk clients receive a Safety Culture Assessment that allows you to peer into your safety culture and find areas that need improvement.