EI - Hearts and minds

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Understanding your HSE culture

Sample pagesFacilitator presentation
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:

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.

Next steps

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.

Further information

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:

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.