Innovations at workplace: an evidence-based model for safety management
Safety culture is a sub-unit of organisational culture, which affects members’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to organisation’s ongoing health and safety performance. Many companies want to enhance their safety culture or some aspect of safety behaviour trying to find the effective way forward. Safety culture in small and medium-scale (SMEs) enterprises has received very little attention in Estonia. Estimates suggest that these enterprises have serious problems aggravated by limited access to human, economic, technological resources as well as lack of relevant occupational health and safety (OH&S) knowledge. The current paper commences with a discussion on the Reciprocal Model of Safety Culture and different perspectives on a framework espoused by Cooper (1999). The concept of safety culture and knowledge management is also discussed. Authors present supplemented Cooper’s Reciprocal Model of Safety Culture with Knowledge Management System Dimensions. The exploratory study based on workplace visits and interviews with owner-managers of SMEs manufacturing enterprises gives an overview of the most characteristic oH&S representations and practices. An overview of the current Estonian OH&S system is also presented based on occupational health (OH) physicians’ questionnaire surveys conducted in 2002 and 2009. The study suggests that there is need for discussion and improvement of collaboration between employers and OH professionals in order to strengthen knowledge management and infrastructure as well as safety culture at the Estonian enterprises. Competence and expertise in work and health topics is the foundation for the added value of OH professionals to the health of working population.