9 Safety Culture Leadership Quotes Everyone Should Read

It’s well-known by now that improving safety culture in the workplace is a good place to start to keep your employees safe for the long-term. And, best of all, it happens naturally.  If everyone is on the same page, you’ll see an increased awareness of safety measures and potential hazards, as well as a reduction in workplace accidents.  

Research by the Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) has even shown that a good safety culture leads to the following benefits:

  • Higher productivity
  • A better quality of work
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Reduced costs 
  • Greater employee satisfaction

Besides, a strong and positive safety culture empowers your employees to speak up and prevent a large number of injuries, near misses, and fatalities.

Although creating a brand-new culture around safety can seem like a big task, one small step is to start by using safety culture leadership quotes. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons to adopt quotes and how you, as a safety leader, can influence the workplace culture. We also go over some example quotes that are applicable to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Why use quotes in safety?

Here at SafetyStage, we talk a lot about delivering your safety training and messages in short and snappy ways. These might include things like OSHA violation memes, funny safety moments, or even safety slogans that rhyme. This is important because delivering shorter messages in your toolbox talks or safety briefings can be remembered better by your staff and used on a regular basis. 

For example, if you give your employees a 6-hour safety briefing full of statistics, they might struggle to pay attention to all of it and to take away the key messages. However, by using daily, weekly or monthly safety slogans, memos or quotes, your employees will have one message to remember. This helps your safety messages really stick, and your staff will be more likely to follow them. 

Our favorite tip on how to use these quotes is in workplace safety games for adults — this is a fun way to get safety messages across without feeling like it’s training or “hard work” for your staff. Safety games are engaging and very effective, so don’t ignore them as part of your training strategy. 

Take a look below at some of our favourite safety culture leadership quotes, and don’t be afraid to use these as an ice-breaker in your next toolbox talk!

9 safety culture leadership quotes

“Tomorrow: Your reward for working safely today.” — Author unknown

While it might sound dramatic, it’s true that there are real-life consequences to a lack of safety procedures at work. Between 2017 and 2020, OSHA reported over 4,300 deaths due to workplace hazards, with many of these known as “preventable accidents”. With some deaths due to things as seemingly small as a slip, trip or fall, it’s important that everyone is responsible for their own safety, as well as that of those around them.

This quote is easy to remember and easy to repeat at the end of your daily toolbox talks or safety briefings. It gets across in a simple way how important safety is in the workplace — at all times. This is also one of the most-used quotes for safety posters, so be sure to display this in staff areas and on bulletin boards as a reminder.

“Better to be late in this world, than early to the next.”  — Author unknown

This is another punchy quote that really shows the consequences of rushing and hurrying. This is an easily recitable quote that’s ideal for check-ins and safety briefings to remind everyone regularly that safety is a matter of life and death.

This one is particularly important. It clearly shows that safety is a team effort — something that everyone is responsible for. And that, even good people can’t turn a bad system around. Remember that this quote is literal, too! It should also help each team member consider their own responsibility for keeping their colleagues safe at work and at home. If your colleagues don’t understand, explain to them the importance of “the sum of our contributions”, rather than the actions of one person.

“Shortcuts cut life short” — Pal Singh

This quote is perfect because it’s short, to-the-point and punchy. Hopefully, it’s so punchy that your employees will think about this whenever considering a safety shortcut. This can be suitable when talking about electrical construction or your LOTO program

“Safety brings first aid to the uninjured.” — F.S. Hughes

As a safety leader, you may find yourself talking frequently about first aid at work. However, you don’t want first aid to be your last line of defense. Instead, remind your staff about how the actions they take can avoid the need for medical help altogether and keep them safe.

“Remember the safety ABC: Always Be Careful.” — Author unknown

The safety ABC is very easy to remember. You can use your safety moment of the day to ask your staff if they remember their “safety ABCs” to keep this in the forefront of their minds. If you want to take this further, you can do a sort of an intellectual exercise, exploring the whole alphabet of safety regularly with your workers and coming up with safety topics for each letter.

“Prepare, Protect, Prevent.” — OSHA

This is a personal suggestion of our team at SafetyStage. This quote is taken straight out of the OSHA handbook and is actually intended for winter driver safety. However, the concept applies to most processes and activities at work and even to most aspects of life. So, the acronym “PPP” can be used to make this quote even easier to recall.

“Don’t think because an accident hasn’t happened to you that it can’t happen.” — Author unknown

This one is key, and it’s important to remind your staff of it regularly. Safety is a state of mind and it should be nurtured regularly because lots of people might see accidents or deaths or disease and think “that won’t happen to me”. However, it can happen to anyone where the correct safety procedures aren’t followed. Unfortunately, no one is above workplace injuries or illnesses.

“It takes leadership to improve safety” — Jackie Stewart

This quote is perfect for safety leaders. If you’re considering building on or creating a new safety culture at work, you should keep in mind your own contribution to this. We’ll talk more about this in the next section but this is a great quote to keep with you.

How can leaders influence safety culture?

A bad safety culture can cause a larger problem. A good safety culture starts with good safety habits. It all boils down to this: Are you leading from the front? 

One of the best places to start with influencing safety culture is by demonstrating best practice yourself at all times. Employee engagement is important so, if you don’t, you risk undermining your own message. 

Some simple ways to do this include:

  • Ensuring that your team is always following best safety practices (inc. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), following all rules, regulations and procedures as set by OSHA and your workplace).
  • Demonstrating a healthy and positive attitude towards safety at all times.
  • Engage with your employees, ask them where they think there is room for improvement both in individual processes and gaps in knowledge. If you’re worried about bias, try using safety culture perception surveys to see where you stand.
  • Keep your safety training up-to-date, with regular safety briefings and relevant short safety topics.

As a safety leader, we also recommend becoming or allocating someone as your safety champion. Some of the tips to do this include the following:

  • Keeping the workforce motivated with a positive attitude to safety
  • Contributing safety ideas from themselves as well as their colleagues
  • Understanding workplace hazards and risks and helping mitigate these
  • Supporting the safety leaders and management team with safety

Remember that creating a safe work environment is your role as a safety leader. If you do find that you have a safety problem due to bad systems (that can lead to bad results), you should address this as soon as you can. Once this is done, you can build on this to create a positive safety culture.

Tips on how to find your safety quotes 

There are plenty of ways to find safety quotes online. A few simple and free ones include:

SourceType of content
Pinterest safety quotesImages with text
YouTube workplace safety channelsVideos
Wise SayingsText
Quote GardenText
Aviation QuotationsText

These are free resources that can all be watched, viewed and downloaded to find safety leadership quotes and to engage your staff with them too. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this list has given you some tips on some of the most well-known safety leadership quotes out there. We’ve also covered some pointers for you, as a safety leader, on how you can use these to get across your safety messages and critical training to your staff. Whether you follow the Just Culture Algorithm™, the philosophy of Behavior Based Safety or some other methodology, safety quotes can be a great tool for making your ideas memorable. And that’s a great way to keep everyone safe at work, avoiding preventable accidents, workplace hazards and work injuries wherever possible. 

References and further reading