The influence of the Eskom North Western Region’s safety vision on the organisation’s safety culture
Moleko, Reginald Mokoena
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The North Western Region suffered a very poor safety performance over a number of years (2001 to 2008) leading to the establishment of a safety vision in 2008. A safety vision was developed and implemented in the NWR but its desired effects are not visible. The primary objective for the study was to investigate the influence of an electricity supply industry’s safety vision on its safety culture. The study was to evaluate further the relationship between a safety vision and a safety culture from an electricity supply industry’s perspective. The empirical approach to the study was to use a quantitative survey. A sample of 350 employees was identified for the study, with a reasonably good response rate of 291 employees (83.14% of the identified sample). The study revealed that a significant positive relationship between the Eskom NWR safety vision and the organisational safety culture exists. The vision is not only articulated at the highest possible level in the organisation but has positively contributed to the existing organisational safety culture. The study has however also revealed a disconnection between employees and management as far as what the priority is between production and safety. This might be due to the importance given to production on both the employee performance dashboards and scorecards. In these, safety’s percentage target is far lower than production. With a target of 20 per cent, the safety target might be confusing to employees as having a lesser weight and importance than production. This was however not an expected outcome. It can be concluded that the employees in the NWR are currently driven by the conciseness, future orientation, abstractness, desirability, and ability of their safety vision. This vision has become a very strong option in a quest to change behaviour. The employees have accepted and are clear on the strategy behind the vision. Their norms, values, and beliefs system are developing towards achieving the organisational objectives. If leadership continues to employ this vision with vigour, it is bound to have far-reaching implications on both organisational safety and performance.