Safer Times: The Good Day's Work Blog

Dupont Bradley Curve - Should I Learn More About Safety Culture?

Posted by Marty Huseman on Oct 26, 2017
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Why would a big corporation’s safety culture model have any relevance to safety in Agriculture?  If you are not familiar with the DuPont Bradley Curve, I strongly suggest learning more about it as it can shape how you think about safety first and its effect on productivity, quality of work, the work environment and profitability. The Bradley Curve shows an evolution of an organization's safety culture. This model allows you to place your organizations' culture along the curve and give insights to the vision of zero injuries. 


DuPont Bradley Curve - MH2.jpg

The DuPont Bradley Curve provides an illustration on how agribusiness can achieve a safety culture that minimizes injuries and empowers employees to be safe.


COMPLIANCE - External Motivation (Rules, Procedures, Protocols)

In this model you can find where your organization is at in terms of safety culture.  On the left side of the illustration is a higher rate of safety recordable incidents where employees tend to be more reactive in their behaviors. They tend to rely on their natural instincts for safety. Here the employee looks out for only themselves. They may decide to participate in safety activities when they feel like it and not....when they don't feel like it. There's normally a lack of management commitment to safety, more breakdowns in communication and inconsistent safety leadership in this first quadrant. This is also where there is quality and performance are the lowest and incidents are highest. 


As you move to the right, along the curve, you'll see the next stage is to move from reactive to more of a dependent cultural state. There is more management commitment, rules, training, and awareness at this stage.  The main motivation for safety comes from supervisors and managers. In these two sections of the graph, employees might say; "I follow the rules because I have to." The findings of the research showed as the culture moved from reaction to dependence, the rate of incidents declined and productivity improved. 


COMMITMENT - Internal Motivation (Felt Leadership, Role Modeling, Influencing, Engagement)

This next section is interesting as there is shift in the thinking of the employee and business culture. Now, there's a shift from being supervised to employees taking ownership of their safety and accepting responsibility. Employees become "Independent" because they see the value of following safe work practices and will follow these practices whether there's a supervisor around or not.  These employees have a sense of personal pride, professional skill and performance. Incidents go down and productivity and quality go up. 

The last section of the Bradley Curve is "Interdependent" phase.  This is where employees recognize the we need each other, I need you and you need me.  Your safe work affects me and mine affects you.  We watch out for each other so everyone is safe. These employees take ownership and immense pride in their organization and team. This group believes and knows zero incidents is possible. Wherever you find yourself along the curve, continuing moving to the right will help build, maintain and improve the strength of their safety culture. 

Though the descriptions above are brief, I hope you see the value in learning more about the Bradley  Curve and how it can guide your safety vision for the future. 

Final Thoughts

The Bradley Curve demonstrates that the stronger the cultural strength is for the company the lower the amount of recordable incidences.  In addition, there are other key business factors that increase with cultural strength, such as productivity, quality of work and profitability.  Safety culture works when every employee commits to minimizing accidents, look out for each other while taking pride in the work they do.  Everyone is needed so that everyone can Get Home Safe. 




Topics: safety culture, OSHA law & compliance, productivity / goals / motivation

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