Safety Culture Project

Safety Culture Assessment

Safety culture has been linked to the occurrence of some of the most dramatic and sensational accidents of the past 50 years — Exxon Valdez, Space Shuttle Challenger, the Chatsworth commuter train collision, and many others.

Intended Use

Identify the strengths of your safety culture, how your culture compares to that of other organizations, determine areas in need of improvement, develop a yardstick to evaluate the success of your training programs.


The Safety Culture Survey has been scientifically validated and normed on a state department of transportation, commuter railroads, and a major shipping conglomerate. An online or in-person survey can be administered to members of an organization or unit quite easily. The individual survey takes 10–15 minutes per person to complete. Results are available almost immediately. Observations of critical operations and Interviews with key informants and staff are also conducted to ensure a thorough in-depth assessment. The identification of key leadership behaviors associated with safety culture norms is also undertaken to facilitate ongoing organizational development.


The assessment provides information on the following factors proven by research to affect the formation and maintenance of an effective world class safety culture:

Safety Culture Factors table

Aspects of Safety Culture have been shown to be related to the occurrence of accidents and incidents in the workplace. The pie chart shown here depicts what percentage each factor of the Safety Culture Survey contributed to the number of accidents reported in the workplace. As can be seen some factors, such as Management Commitment of Immediate Supervisor has the largest contribution to the occurrence of accidents.

Safety Culture Variance Associated with Accidents chart

A visualization of the data is presented in the following graph:

Safety Culture Variance Associated with Accidents graph


Based on survey results and expert judgement a list of possible actions can be developed

  • Benchmark current organization against Ideal Safety culture in transportation industry
  • Identify needed leadership activities
  • Identify key areas (i.e. Trust, Safety Knowledge, and Safety Priority) for intervention
  • Identify key departments or units (i.e. Operations) for intervention
  • Improve Management Commitment – develop communication plan
  • Address knowledge and enforcement of Safety Practices
  • Address commitments and improve Credibility and Trust
  • Examine data for differences by Region and Department and Job type

Full Publication

View the full publication, "Further Validation of Safety Culture Measurement Tool for Improving Safety in Commuter Rail Operations," at the link below.

View Publication