University of South Florida


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Safety Culture: The Key to a Safe and Secure Workplace

Many of us have been appointed to manage programs and teams. We have enough experience to know when our key performance indicators are lagging and adjustments are needed to meet the quarter, year, or function goal. Yes, we are managers, but are we leaders in our organization? What is the difference, and why is it paramount? Why is this important in safety culture? The answers to these questions may come from self-assessment and self-reflection.

Knowing there is a difference between a leader and a manager is essential. While there are many definitions and inspirational posts on these, it is important to know that one who manages is responsible for fulfilling specific organizational duties or goals. Managers may be appointed for long-term needs to run departments or divisions or short-term needs like finding solutions for an organization’s pressing need or an event. A leader is not always appointed. Leaders have the gift to influence those around them. For those of us with a military background, we have heard and been charged to ‘lead by example.’ Some of my favorite qualities of a leader are the ability to grow leaders, spread inspiration, and continuous learning.

OSHA defines safety culture as “the environment where the attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of all workers are reflected in the health and safety of the workplace.” As safety and health managers, we are entrusted with laying the foundation to establish and maintain a healthy and safe work environment. We may already have proven practices to perform functions and manage programs. Still, we may be lacking in enabling an environment where the mindset of health and safety is a priority. Our prime responsibilities are met, but what happens during our time off? Is it time for us to move to a different role? We may need to scout around for someone to replace us or one we can entrust during our absence. Is your organization’s morale on the downward slope? Perhaps this is your opportunity to ignite enthusiasm and inspire those you manage or answer to. Is the workforce at different levels being utilized to their full potential? This may be your chance to engage and get to know the employees and find any special interests or backgrounds. There may be times when we need to switch out our managerial hats and wear leadership hats. Knowing when this switch is necessary for your organization’s safety and health culture can make impactful differences!

Here at USF SafetyFlorida, we have more than 150 years of combined occupational health and safety leadership experience spanning multiple industries. Our senior professionals are committed to helping you provide quality service and protecting your employees. Call us at (866) 273-1105 or visit to learn more about how we can help improve your company’s safety culture.

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Welcome to the USF COPH news page. Our marketing and communications team is entrusted with storytelling. Through written stories, photography, video and social media we highlight alumni, faculty, staff and students who are committed to passionately solving problems and creating conditions that allow every person the universal right to health and well-being. These are our stories.