Evolving Safety Culture: Leading Indicators to Look For


Interesting article on growth of safety culture in the Marcellus Shale area in the east.    It was based on a presentation given by Laura Helmrich-Rhodes, an associate professor of safety sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.   Dr. Rhodes looks at seven signs of an emerging safety culture within a company.   She says these indicators are taking hold in the Marcellus.   How does your company match up?


  • Is there true top management commitment to safety?
  • Are employees really empowered to stop work if they see an unsafe situation? Are employees involved?
  • Is there an effort to choose contractors that emphasize safety — even vendors for noncore activities like janitorial or catering services?
  • Is there an instant investigation into any near-miss scenarios so that change can be made.
  • Are near-miss and incidents reported not just to management but to all employees so lessons can be learned?
  • Are risk takers terminated and not celebrated?
  • Is safety given its share of the budget?

Two things that make this notable –  First, drilling in the Marcellus only started about five years ago.  There have been growing pains and a steep learning curve for companies and workers.   The second thing is that Dr. Rhodes believes the safety culture that is taking hold in the Marcellus drilling fields could hold important lessons for other industries, like construction.

Leave a Reply