Measuring and improving safety culture in organisations: an exploration of tools developed and used in Belgium

Karolien van Nunen, Genserik Reniers, Koen Ponnet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


To support organisations in addressing their safety culture, practical tools have been developed worldwide. Based on such practical tools, it is possible to measure where an organisation is situated regarding its safety culture in order to identify priority areas, formulate appropriate improvement strategies and determine changes over time. In this paper, it is examined which practical tools to measure and improve safety culture are provided on the Belgian market. In total, 15 Belgian tools were identified, of which 8 agreed to cooperate. Amongst the included tools, there is a lot of variation regarding the methods to diagnose the safety culture and the overall procedure to improve the safety culture. The importance to adapt the tool to the specific needs and context of organisations is acknowledged in most of the tools, as well as the importance to use a multi-method approach to measure the safety culture. Also, it is recognised that all hierarchic levels should participate during the process of diagnosing the safety culture. A point of attention is this overall participation during the validation of the results of the diagnosis, and the priority setting of the recommendations, which is mainly done by the higher management. The development of the Belgian tools is based on experience with a focus on direct practical application, which leads to the fact that none of the tools are validated through scientific evidence. Another point of attention is that organisations pay too little attention at the continuity of safety culture research. And finally, the question can be raised if the safety culture tools actually address the concept ‘safety culture’, or if they address only a subset of the concept. When safety culture is addressed, a comprehensive approach should be used, where technological, organisational, human and external aspects are taken into account as interacting and interrelating elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Belgium
  • improving
  • measuring
  • organisations
  • safety culture

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