Country HSE Manager, ABB UK and HSE Manager for ABB Motion, ABB

June 18, 2018

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Health & Safety Culture

Health culture assessment tools – are you out there?

We hear a lot about building positive health cultures, but how can you assess how your organisation is doing? David Day, Head of SHE at nuclear specialist Nuvia UK, takes a look at a few health culture assessment tools.

As you walk around our industry expos, you see companies selling health and safety culture assessment solutions. These tools provide organisations with a great insight into what people think about health and safety. However, a little investigation shows that they often overlook the health cultural element.

So, if an organisation wishes to understand their health culture, where do they go? What tools are out there? I thought it would be useful to investigate. Starting with my own broad definition of health culture, which is based previous definitions of organisational culture: ‘Something that an organisation has (tangible), in terms of the structures, systems, practices, controls, and policies and something that an organisation is (intangible), in terms of beliefs, attitudes, and values of its employees regarding the pursuit of health’.

I conducted some research to find out what health culture assessments tools (HCATs) are out there. Here is what I found (for each tool, more information can be found by clicking on the link).

Questionnaire Self-assessment (QSA)

The QSA, developed by the European Network of Workplace Health Promotion in 1999, is a self-assessment tool designed to help organisations assess the quality of their workplace health promotion (WHP) programmes.

Based on the “Excellence Model” from the European Foundation for Quality Management, the questionnaire comprises 27 questions focusing on six aspects: WHP and corporate policy, human resources and work organisation, WHP planning, social responsibility, WHP implementation, and WHP results. The QSA can be used to help plan improvements for future WHP or to plot performance against other organisations.

Organizational Health Audit (OHA)

The OHA, originally developed by Tri Fit Incorporated in 1998, is a checklist-orientated tool designed to assist organisations in developing strategic improvements in health promotion. It is designed to be completed by members of a workplace health steering committee.

The category headings cover corporate culture, policies, procedures and work processes, programmes and services, and the physical environment. The output from the OHA grades the healthiness of a workplace in terms of three incremental categories: bronze, silver and gold.

Occupational Health Maturity Matrix (OHMM)

The OHMM, developed for the Olympic Delivery Authority, is a tool designed to be completed by an Occupational Hygienist to assess health maturity in the supply chains. The tool is broken down in to four areas: strategy, occupational health focus in the workplace, occupational health focus on the worker, occupational health focus on wellbeing.

The OHMM measures the leadership, the supervisor, and the worker and subcontractor behaviours through five cultural levels: infancy, development, evidence, establishment, ending with integration.

Each contractor then receives a cultural maturity rating in each area; from this contractors then develop and implement action plans to improve occupational health. The developers’ report that this tool left a legacy with users involved in the Olympic development.

Health Risk Management Maturity Index (HeRMMIn)

The HeRMMIn was developed for the construction industry, and it provides an organisation with a score of their health culture maturity. The tool comprises of three parts.

In part one, the participant completes a section covering the specifics of the organisation, for example number of employees in the organisation.

For part two, the tool is broken down in to six building blocks: business beliefs, fairness, mindfulness, collective responsibility, leadership, and learning. Each building block is then broken down by occupational health elements; each element is complete with five health culture descriptions, labelled A-E: A – Unknowing, B – Unconsidered, C – Conforming, D – Considered, and E – Enlightened.

Finally, in part three, the participant is asked questions about health risk management data health. Upon completion, the organisation receives a health culture score. Although the HeRMMIn is in its infancy, currently it is used by the Health and Safety Executive to collect benchmarking data of construction companies’ health culture maturity.

Health Enhancement Research Organization Scorecard (HERO Scorecard)

The HERO Scorecard is an online assessment tool developed by HERO in collaboration with the private sector organisation Mercer. Originally developed in 2006 – now in its fourth version – the Scorecard is designed to help organisations improve their health and wellbeing programmes.

The Scorecard investigates six areas of health and wellbeing including: strategic planning, organisational and cultural support, programmes, programme integration, participation strategies, and measurement and evaluation. Upon completion, the organisation submits a scorecard through an online portal, which is then converted into a report. Organisations then receive a benchmark report that allows them to assess themselves against their peer group.

It is designed to collect employer-specific data describing employee health management programmes, which are then used to identify best practices.


So what does all this mean? This research tells us that HCATs are out there – and they are wide and varied. The next step is to use these tools and integrate any findings into our existing organisational cultures to improve the way we manage health risks for our colleagues.


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