Understanding your HSE culture
|Sample pages||Facilitator presentation|
(how does my behaviour...)*
|Score sheet*||Score calculator*|
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New edition for 2018 now available!
(English language version only - all other languages currently available as previous edition)
Understanding your HSE culture is one of the world's most widely used tool for measuring HSE culture. The tool measures organisational HSE culture against the Hearts and Minds/Hudson and Parker safety culture ladder.
Culture can be divided into five levels of development, from the ‘Pathological’ to the ‘Generative’, as shown in the picture below:
- Pathological: people don’t really care about HSE and are only driven by regulatory compliance and/or not getting caught.
- Reactive: safety is taken seriously, but only after things have gone wrong. Managers feel frustrated about how the workforce won’t do what they are told.
- Calculative: focus on systems and numbers. Lots of data is collected and analysed, lots of audits are performed and people begin to feel they know "how it works". The effectiveness of the gathered data is not always proven though.
- Proactive: moving away from managing HSE based on what has happened in the past to preventing what might go wrong in the future. The workforce start to be involved in practice and the Line begins to take over the HSE function, while HSE personnel reduce in numbers and provide advice rather than execution.
- Generative: organisations set very high standards and attempt to exceed them. They use failure to improve, not to blame. Management knows what is really going on, because the workforce tells them. People are trying to be as informed as possible, because it prepares them for the unexpected. This state of "chronic unease" reflects a belief that despite all efforts, errors will occur and that even minor problems can quickly escalate into system-threatening failures.
How it works
Understanding your HSE culture helps organisations explore their culture by providing descriptions of how companies behave at the 5 different levels of culture. Version 5 uses 18 ‘cultural dimensions’ (things common to most companies that could be used to assess the culture) – and now this has been expanded to 23 dimensions in version 6 (only available in English).
In a workshop, people in the organisation are asked to select those descriptions that most closely reflect how they believe the organisation behaves. This allows the organisation to compare themselves against each cultural level, and to identify areas of strength and weakness.
1. Run the Understanding your HSE culture exercise in a workshop with up to 20 people from a cross-section of the organisation.
2. Each person will need a copy of the Understanding your HSE culture booklet and a score sheet to do this (score sheets for version 6 can be downloaded at the top of the page).
3. Calculate your results (a spreadsheet is downloadable at the top of the page for version 6) and feed these back to the group using the PowerPoint presentation (downloadable at the top of the page).
4. Use the results to encourage the workshop participants to discuss where they believe the safety issues are and how these can be improved.
The findings of the workshop should help you understand your cultural level, and plan your culture change programme, including which issues to focus on and which (if any) Hearts and Minds tools to use. Essentially, the purpose of the workshop is to turn the generalised issues raised using the questionnaire into specific issues. Some of these issues may be the focus of other Hearts and Minds tools, and many won't be.
Q. What is the difference between version 5 (HSE005) and version 6 (HSE201)?
A. Version 5 is available in all languages (including English for a limited period of time), and has been in use largely unchanged since 2004. Version 5 has 18 questions. Process safety is not really a focus of version 5, but is a bigger focus of version 6. Version 6 has 23 questions. Below is a summary of changes to version 6:
- Firstly, we have made general improvements across all questions. These included general improvements to wording of the cultural descriptions to make them clearer. In doing so, it became apparent that many of the descriptions needed to change to better reflect how companies behave at those cultural levels, particularly at the higher levels of culture – becoming a generative culture is not easy, and the updated tool better reflects this. 6 of the original 18 questions were changed in this way.
- Secondly, whilst the majority of the original question set remains in the tool in some shape or form (although two questions were removed in favor of similar questions), we altered the focus of many of the questions to either be more specific or more general, as necessary – for example, a question about how leaders communicate became communication in general, whereas a question about showing care for colleagues became focused on leadership. 9 out of 18 questions were changed in this way.
- Lastly, we added 5 new questions (and modified several others) to provide a greater focus on process safety culture, including questions on operational safety, maintenance, and barriers. Also, elements of systems thinking and operational excellence were incorporated throughout the new dimensions, as well as increased focus on organisational learning at the higher levels of culture.
We believe the new edition of Understanding your HSE culture is much more well-rounded and relevant for today’s organisations.
Q. Can i still use version 5? (HSE005)
A. Yes. For legacy purposes, version 5 will still be available, however this may only be for a limited time. All non-English versions are version 5. If you are conducting a culture survey using several different languages then you may want to use version 5 to ensure parity. However, if you are only using the English version then it is recommended you use version 6 (HSE201).
Q. Will version 6 be translated into other languages?
A. We do not currently have plans to translate version 6. This will be subject to 'popular demand'. If you do want this translated (or can help with the translation) then please contact us.
Q. Why was version 6 created?
A. Version 6 was created to ensure that the tool covers process safety and not just occupational safety. It was also created to ensure the culture descriptions remain up to date with current practice.