What is a safety culture and how effective is it?


A company’s safety culture can be described as the shared safety values and standards within a company [40]. Research shows that improving the safety culture often results in safer driving behaviour of the company’s drivers.

Schein [41] concludes that a safety culture is expressed in (formalised) instructions, procedures and measures and in everyday habits, conduct and external company features (and company materials), see Figure 7.

Figure 7. A company’s safety culture has three layers [41]

Companies may be characterised by five different kinds of safety culture [42]. Companies with a ‘pathological’ or ‘reactive’ safety culture hardly attach any importance to safety, or no importance at all. Legal requirements are only met when the probability of detection is deemed to be high, or safety measures are not taken until an accident has occurred. Companies with a ‘calculating’, ‘proactive’, or ‘progressive’ safety culture increasingly attach importance to safety. These companies often have damage prevention programmes including measures to prevent costs of damage to vehicles. Cost reductions, the company image and customer requirements may encourage a company to take a preventive approach.  

Most studies show that drivers drive more safely if their employers have improved their safety cultures [40]. There are indications that group discussions about safety, training of high-level skills (risk and hazard perception, risk adjustment) and rewarding safe driving behaviour contribute to crash reduction. For transport companies, damage prevention plans result in a reduction of claims [43]. In practice, however, not all companies have a safety culture. For small companies in particular, investments in training (young) drivers are meagre [33].

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Trucks and delivery vans

From 2009 to 2018, an annual average of 80 road deaths were attributable to crashes with trucks and 67 road deaths to crashes with delivery… Meer

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