This introductory paper to the special issue on Safety Culture considers some of the key issues relating to the nature, measurement and utility of this concept. It argues that there are many important questions still unanswered: what is safety culture and what is its theoretical basis (the question of definition), is it synonymous with safety climate, what are the essential characteristics of a ‘good’ safety culture and how might they be best measured, what are the reliability, validity and utility of existing measures of safety culture, and how does the concept contribute-if at all-to good safety systems and performance ? Can an organization’s safety culture be related to additional parameters (such as accident and incident performance) which are judged both within and outside the organization by the full range of stake-holders? Finally, the authors consider future issues and the future direction of work in this area.
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