09.11.20

The Sociality of Safety

What is psychological safety, at its most basic level?

Yes, it is about emotional safety, physical safety, and safe decision making … And…

Put simply, psychological safety is ‘Social Safety‘. It is about understanding the social (or cultural) aspects of decision making, and knowing that; It is not just the individual you are dealing with … it is their perception of the social elements that are at play, that is most important. Let me explain:


People make safety decisions based on…

Social Influence

(The words, actions, or just presence of others)
How am I expected to act’?

Social Situation

(The specifics of the event, not the human)
‘How would others act in this situation’?

Social Cognition

(How will this situation impact on me and others?)
‘Will I get rewarded and recognised or resented and ridiculed’?


For a while now, worker #safety has been all about the individual.

It is time to make it about the social (work and cultural) aspects of the decision making process!

And, it is more than just ‘Safety Culture’. Safety culture is a macro concept that looks at the big picture, and the sweeping statements like ‘culture starts at the top’. Safety culture is important, but it is more than that. Psychological safety is about the “Sociality of Safety”. 

The word sociality means to be part of or interact in groups, and at its simplest form, it applies to when groups of people (at work or not) are together and interacting. The interaction that happens, from a psychological and physical safety perspective, between the workers in those groups (our teams) will influence how they behave. It will influence their decisions, and their motivations.

From a leadership point of view, it is how we foster a safety sociality focused on the team as a whole, not the individual, that matters. Contemporary leaders need to look at their statements (what they say), their symbols (what they do), and their support (what they share) to really unpack if they are creating a social environment where workers both FEEL safe, and ACT safe.

We are in a new era, the era of Safety 3.0. This era is the time for the leader and the team to shine!

#safetyleadership #healthandsafety #cultureofsafety


Anton Guinea is the safety leadership expert. His journey is unique, having survived a workplace incident which he transformed from a cautionary story into powerful, psychology-based safety programs that has moved the hearts and minds of organisations globally. 
For 15 years, Anton has worked with over 150+ businesses and their leaders, to help make safety safe; safe to talk about, to engage in, and to report about. Working in the space of where Safety meets Leadership, Anton founded The Guinea Group as the safety support network to help businesses to LEADsafe365.
Get in touch with Anton today.

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