11.3 Definitions

Continuous Safety Improvement

The process of enhancing the safety management systems to achieve ongoing improvement in overall health and safety performance in line with organizational health and safety policy and performance objectives. 

Safety Management Systems

Components of effective safety management systems consist of the following:  

  • Management Leadership: visible participation and support from University and department leaders is key to effective safety improvement. Leadership is also demonstrated by establishment of clear policies, performance measurement, accountability systems, and allocation of resources.
  • Employee Involvement: employee empowerment and participation in committees and decision making and operational processes relative to hazard identification, safe work practice development and implementation, and compliance.
  • Workplace Analysis: processes to assess and analyze the workplace to identify opportunities for improvement to include: chemical and other hazard inventory systems, incident and near-miss reporting, incident investigation, audits, surveys, inspections, and data analysis.
  • Hazard Prevention and Remediation: processes to identify, communicate, and implement best practices. Design and change management, preventive maintenance, SOP development.
  • Safety Education and Training: systems to identify training needs and deliver appropriate information to affected employees.

Safety Culture

A culture where employees behave in a manner consistent with the philosophy that ALL workers (front line staff, faculty, researchers, and administrators) accept responsibility for the safety of themselves, their co-workers, students, and visitors. This is facilitated by an organization that acknowledges the high-risk nature of research activities; prioritizes safety above financial and operational goals; encourages and rewards the identification, communication, and resolution of safety risks; provides for organizational learning from accidents and near misses; and provides appropriate resources, structure, and accountability to maintain effective safety management systems.