There is no doubt that organizations with a better safety culture are successful in preventing accidents and injuries. But what are the best approaches and tools for diagnosing and improving that safety culture? Is a questionnaire to define an intervention programme enough? Should you hire a consultant or can you do it in-house?
Establishing a safety culture should be considered a long-term investment, but to establish a well-functioning safety culture is challenging. This course will show you, from a pragmatic and interdisciplinary perspective, what it takes to assess, develop and manage safety culture.
In this course, we approach the topic of safety culture from various angles: anthropology, psychology, sociology, engineering, regulatory and business administration – all illustrated by case studies. Where applicable, we provide additional information on philosophy and linguistics. You will learn how to assess, address and manage safety culture in a sensible and effective way, including various options for an intervention program.
We will use research and case studies from high-safety cultures like commercial airlines, the petro-chemical industry and nuclear power, but also from industries where safety is less pronounced (such as healthcare, military, fire brigades, etc.).
Culture is difficult to measure, but we shall ask questions to test and sharpen your conceptual knowledge as well as your perceptual and intervention skills. In this course, we use a variety of teaching methods: lectures, self-study by reading (theoretical) literature and analyzing different case studies. Students are further invited to contribute to forums with dialogues around case studies and their own experiences.
Learn from world-class experts:
- Interaction via group case studies.
- Feedback on final assignment/paper.
- 'face-to-face' meetings on campus or via skype.
- Personalized feedback throughout the course.
This is the right course for:
- Managers and key staff (line manager, director, HSE professional) who have a responsibility for improving and/or maintaining the safety culture within their organization.
- Engineers who plan to obtain the Chartered Engineer qualification of The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI).
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Formulate a programme/policy to diagnose and influence the safety culture within your own organization.
- Evaluate the merits and limitations of different safety culture paradigms.
- Be able to describe the current safety culture situation within your organization and recognize the importance of cultural symbols, rituals and practices.
- Be able to develop communication strategies to shape, encourage and deliver a safety culture.
Drawing on different disciplines, such as anthropology, psychology and more practical engineering approaches, we will explore questions such as:
- What are safety and risk?
- What is culture?
- What is a suitable way to approach the subject?
We will examine the meaning, impact and importance of safety in various situations and for various stakeholders – both internal and external.
In this module participants will discuss the concept of 'culture'. We will further review several key models, which are currently being used for this purpose as well as assessing the pros and cons of each.
We integrate the concepts and insights from the previous modules and explore possible strategies to implement an effective safety culture within companies/organizations.
Based on your assessment of your own organization's existing culture during the previous weeks, you will develop a policy plan to improve and foster an effective safety culture within your organization.
Assignments & Assessment
Participants are invited to write a policy plan to improve and foster an effective safety culture in their own organization. We will organize a face-to face or Skype-meeting to discuss this.
Literature and Study Material
Literature for this course will be provided on the course online platform.
Following investigations of major disasters like the NASA Challenger, Deepwater Horizon and Chernobyl, independent authorities concluded that flaws in the safety culture of the organizations were a major contributing factor. Similarly, many companies found out that their safety performance does not improve in spite of large investments in Safety Management Systems and wonder 'if their Safety Culture is a contributing factor'.
We assume that safety culture is a key factor; there is no doubt that organizations with a better safety culture are successful in preventing workplace accidents and injuries and in reducing (external) damage. This course will give you the framework to define a program/policy to diagnose and improve the safety culture within your own organization. As part of your final assignment you will receive personalized feedback on your policy plan, which addresses a real safety culture issue in your environment from different perspectives.
This course is part of a range of online courses for engineers who want to meet the formal education requirements required to both obtain and maintain the Chartered Engineer qualification licensed by KIVI. This course can be taken either as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD) or of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stages.
If you successfully complete the course you will earn a Professional Education Certificate and you are eligible to receive 2.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Chartered Engineer qualification
This course can be part of your portfolio to meet the formal education requirements required to both obtain and maintain the Chartered Engineer qualification licensed by KIVI. This course can be taken either as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD) or of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stages. See all our online courses for engineers that correspond to the required competencies determined by KIVI.
This course is primarily geared towards working professionals.
The course is open to managers and key (safety) staff (line manager, director, HSE professional), who have a responsibility in improving and/or maintaining the safety culture within their organization. The course will focus on high-risk organizations (nuclear or petrochemical industry, transport, healthcare). Participants are expected to have an open, multi-disciplinary mindset.
After enrolling you will receive a confirmation email. In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to email the following document:
- a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email.