How Does Your Mine Site Safety Culture Compare?

Only 11% of mine sites operate in a positive safety culture.

That leaves 89% with a safety culture that could be detrimental to worker safety, increasing the risk of serious incidents and fatalities.

So, how do you know where your mine site sits?

There is a scale of safety culture maturity, between a negative safety culture (1) to a positive (5):

  1. Counter-Productive: A dismissive attitude towards safety with opposition to rules and regulations. Workers have a self-centred focus on getting the job done, the easiest way possible, an attitude often fuelled by a perceived lack of care and investment from management/the company. There may even be deliberately unsafe behaviours.
  2. Superficial Compliance: Safety procedures are only followed when the boss is looking or they are unavoidable. There is no inherent drive to adhere to safe practices; they are seen as a burden.
  3. Investment in Safety: Workers believe safety regulations are in place to protect the workforce and feel a responsibility to comply. There is an inherent choice to adhere to safety procedures.
  4. Teamwork: As well as feeling self-responsible, workers pull together as a team to uphold site safety and look out for one another. There are open, positive conversations about safety and peer-on-peer monitoring.
  5. Core Value: Workers believe safety is at the core of the company values and conduct themselves with safety as their own core value. There is a common focus on striving for better, reflected in the sharing of conversations and learning opportunities the arise.

Your Safety Culture

Consider the following to give you an indication of which category your culture may fit into:

  • How many incidents are occurring on your site?
  • What is the attitude of workers towards safety?
  • How acceptable are positive conversations about safety?
  • How many complaints about safety procedures are made? (Note below regarding reporting and open communication)
  • How many disciplinary incidents for non-compliance are occurring?
  • What is the core value of the company and of workers – safety; efficiency; quantity; quality?
  • What is the maintenance schedule on equipment – regular, or ad hoc when there’s a breakdown?
  • How often are management and leadership onsite – regularly, or only when needed to implement control?

What can be done?

Most mine sites, 89%, will fall into the first or second category. So, it’s clear there is a lot to do to shift gears and elevate safety culture. Luckily, there are many tools, methods and strategies which can turn a negative safety culture into a positive one. Change is possible.

Safety Procedures

Should be reviewed regularly, be simple, practical and clear to understand. Overly complicated procedures lead to non-compliance and create a perception that safety procedures are part of a legal requirement, rather than primarily to support workers. Engage and consult workers in the process, to avoid an ‘us vs them’ culture.

Rewarding Safety

Recognising safe behaviour and adherence will support change. Workers will feel more motivated to respect safety procedures, report unsafe actions and begin to prioritise safety. It will also demonstrate the company believes safety is worth investment.

Manager Involvement

Leading from the front; its important workers see the leadership team onsite, interact with them and role model safe behaviours and attitudes. This includes listening to workers feedback and request in terms of safety.

Open Communication

Create a culture where reporting unsafe behaviours is respected and workers are heard, without fear of disciplinary reprisal. Investigations should be focused on shared learning, rather than adhering blame and punishment, which would discourage future reporting.

Change Management

Open communication is also a key factor in change – changing culture is difficult. Consultation and information are crucial for big picture changes as well as “smaller” ones that directly affect life at work.

Accumax Global

Our continued ambition is to provide innovative safety solutions, tailored to our customer’s specific needs, to create the lowest-risk environment possible for your employees.

We understand the unique challenges of the mining industry and how integral it is to our economy and keeping Australia running.

Accumax Global delivers specially manufactured, customised risk-management products at trade prices.

See how we can help elevate safety at your site. Contact us on 1300 222 862 or visit

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