As employers look to reduce losses due to employee accidents and injuries, making safety part of the organization’s culture is essential.

“Culture is the key,” said Andy Johnson, chief risk officer at Captive Resources LLC and chairman of the National Safety Council. “It’s what the company and its people are doing when nobody’s looking, when you don’t have to measure it, you don’t have to think about it, it just is. It’s always there.”

Mr. Johnson and other speakers discussed safety culture as part of a webinar titled “Culture Is the Key!” presented as part of the Captive Insurance Companies Association’s Building on the Best 2020 webinar series.

The value of a making safety part of an organization’s culture can be particularly apparent when companies move to captive insurance. Mr. Johnson used the example of a produce company for which workers compensation “was just an allocated cost” prior to joining a group captive, with little perceived relationship between claims and costs.

“The captive model lowered their premiums significantly,” he said. But becoming an insurance company owner also had a dramatic impact on the organization’s culture, Mr. Johnson said.

“That drove automatically a total shift in the culture of safety and risk management within the organization,” he said. “It wasn’t just an expense, and it wasn’t just some insurance company handling their claims or that they transferred the risk to. It suddenly was their dollars. It was really meaningful to them, to their bottom line.”

For the produce company, there was “a total shift in thinking from the buying of insurance to the owning of insurance,” Mr. Johnson said.

As companies look to develop a safety culture, it’s important to get involvement from across the organization. Management’s participation is essential, but it’s also important to listen to the voices of employees, said Gordon Padera, executive vice president at Gallagher Bassett Services.