Impact of cultural aspects on health and safety
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Dina Maria : Cultural aspects when developing health and safety

Published: September 14, 2021

Create an inclusive environment to talk and work with people

Dina Maria

As a former agricultural engineer in Peru, Dina ’s environmental background inspired her to explore a career in health and safety. She explains why the ability to climb a wind turbine, understand the impact of cultural aspects, and highlight the positives can help keep health and safety firmly on track.

Q. Do you think the impact of culture both from an employee and business perspective needs more consideration in health and safety programmes?

Dina Maria: I think there’s a natural tendency for companies to try and replicate systems across the business ecosystem. But the way I see it, there is no one recipe for health and safety. Whether it’s Asia, Europe or Latin America, it’s critical to incorporate cultural aspects when developing health and safety programmes. This is because how people respond and behave often has a deep cultural context.

This awareness of peoples’ needs and behaviours also feeds into the company culture. So imposing a health and safety programme without understanding the risks and practicalities will not be as effective as it could be. In my current role, this could be climbing a wind turbine to understand the hazards workers face on a daily basis. Or it could be recognising that the time difference to roll out a health and safety training programme isn’t great for Asia. Or that training on a Friday is out of bounds for certain religions. You have to create an inclusive environment to talk and work with people on understanding their health and safety needs.