2. Improving Health and Safety through Interventions in Safety Cultures
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Changing safety cultures are regarded either as an accepted routine, a controversial effort or even an impossible approach by the different positions of scholars of safety culture. It thus remains disputed whether it is possible to purposely change safety cultures. The paper aims at critically evaluating two interventions designed to change safety cultures in the Danish Building industry targeting improvement of the health and safety. Using a symbolic interactionism analysis of safety cultures as a common point of departure, the designed intervention methods encompass elements such as using work place assessment and commonly developed guidelines to change the shared meaning of risk, of accidents and possible prevention. The methods employed to map the safety culture encompass ethnography, interviews, and documents analysis, and for the intervention action research. Strength and weaknesses of the applied methods is discussed including the multiple roles of the researchers. The paper describes and analyses first one designed intervention method used at three enterprises whereof excerpts from two are presented, and then discuss the experiences and effects juxtaposing the first evaluated method with another with a similar design. The initial analysis of the safety cultures in the selected case shows a configuration of multiple safety cultures differing over issues such as risk perception, and the stakes of prevention. The cultures stretch across sites, crews, contractors headquarter and the educational institutions. The effects of the interventions are evaluated, and the paper also raises issue with the limitations of measurability of safety culture change and improvement.