Risk Management, Safety

Developing an Effective Safety Culture at Your Company

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.

Course Description: Every company has its own “safety culture.” It’s there behind the scenes, shaping attitudes, investments, training and behavior. Some safety cultures are strong and successful. Others reflect a lack of awareness, corporate support and employee buy-in. This course will examine the safety culture concept, and show how, step by step, the safety culture at your company or facility can be improved.

Course Goals: This course aims to provide grain-industry employees with an appreciation for what “safety culture” really means, and why practicing safety is always a good business decision. It will also provide the tools needed for evaluating a company’s current safety culture and then continuously improving it.

Target Audience: This course is intended for safety officials, location and regional managers, facility supervisors, operations directors, shift leaders, safety committee participants and others interested in improving safety performance at their companies.


Chris Goulart MS, CSP, ARM, CSHM, CDT  RCI SafetySee Bio

Chris Goulart has been a practicing safety professional for over 20 years and is considered a world-class expert in the fields of Behavior Based Safety, Safety Culture, Risk Assessment, Accident Investigation, Safety Training, and Safety Management Systems. He has been the Director of Safety Services at RCI Safety for 4 years. Prior to that, he was an international safety consultant with Bureau Veritas and a Senior Technical Loss Prevention Consultant with Liberty Mutual for 10 years. He began his career as a District Loss Prevention Manager with the Home Depot. Chris is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM), Certified Driver Trainer (CDT) and also has the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) Designation. He has a master’s degree in Safety Management from Oakland University. Chris is a member of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council (NSC), and the Organizational Behavior Management Specialty Group (OBM).

Joe Mlynek   Progressive Safety ServicesSee Bio

Joe Mlynek is the president and safety and loss control consultant for Progressive Safety Services. Prior to forming Progressive Safety in 2009, Joe worked as a safety professional in a wide array of industries including: automotive, chemical, railcar repair, retail, metal fabrication and grain handling. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and analysis from Bowling Green State University and is a certified occupational health and safety technologist.

Tom Winkel  MaxYield CooperativeSee Bio

Tom Winkel continues to build the Safety Culture at MaxYield Cooperative in Northern Iowa as Safety Director and Assistant Operations Leader. Winkel’s unique mix of 25 years in law enforcement, 24 years farming 1,200 acres, along with 37 years at this retail cooperative lends itself well to understanding the balance of safety and productivity. Although now retired from farming, Tom continues to serve as lead Sheriff Deputy Reserve and is very active in critical organizations such as InfraGard and the Ag Cooperative Safety Directors of Iowa, which helps with ongoing challenges of balancing productivity goals and core safety values.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 –The ROI on a Good Safety Culture
The ethical and moral considerations should be obvious to all, but safety is important to grain companies for financial reasons, too. This lecture will examine how investing in safety can provide positive returns, and point out the potentially devastating costs of accidents, deaths, lawsuits, facility shutdowns and bad publicity. It will then investigate the meaning of “safety culture” and how it affects ROI. Can companies have poor safety cultures? What does it mean to have a good safety culture?
Lecturer: Chris Goulart

Lecture 2 – Safety and Organizational Culture
Although companies with good safety cultures have fewer and less-severe accidents than their competitors — and tend to rate higher in productivity, employee retention, customer service and quality of work — safety cannot be created in a vacuum. This lecture will examine how a company’s overall culture has a direct bearing on its ability to create a strong safety culture.
Lecturer: Chris Goulart

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Components of Strong vs. Weak Safety Cultures
This lecture will discuss components of strong and weak safety cultures, and then ask students to assess how they think their companies and facilities stack up right now. What are your company’s strong points? What are its weak points? Later in the course, students will be asked to perform the exercise again.
Lecturer: Joe Mlynek

Lecture 4 – Evaluating Your Company
To improve your company’s safety culture, you need to know as precisely as possible where it stands now. What can you measure and quantify to understand your company’s current situation? This lecture will discuss the value of perception surveys, behavior observations, recordkeeping systems and focus groups, and how to get them underway. How do you gather the information needed to establish a solid baseline?
Lecturer: Chris Goulart


Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Instituting a Safety Culture
With a baseline understanding of your company’s current safety culture established, what are the next steps? Often, the answer is institutional challenges. This lecture will examine the impediments.
Lecturer: Chris Goulart

Lecture 6 – Safety vs. Productivity: Is There a Conflict?
Companies taking steps to improve their safety cultures often have to confront perceived tensions between the need for safety and the need for productivity. Are employees conflicted about the company’s priorities? Do they feel compelled to take shortcuts when the grain facility is backed up with trains and trucks, and the need for speed seems paramount? This lecture will examine the perceived gulf between safety and production, and how leadership is essential to bridging it.
Lecturer: Tom Winkel

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Reshaping Attitudes
Companies can have long lists of rules and regulations, but attitudes also shape behavior. This lecture will examine the existence of “cultural norms” within companies, and how employees try to fit into them — conforming their behavior to the way things just seem to be.  Do they work safely even when “nobody’s watching?” What is the relationship between a company’s customs and its safety culture? Between regulatory compliance and safe behavior?
Lecturer: Chris Goulart

Lecture 8 – Winning Hearts and Minds
Without buy-in from top management down through the ranks, improving a company’s safety culture can be like pushing a rope. This lecture will discuss strategies for getting everyone within a company to take ownership of its safety culture and then take the steps needed to make it better. How do you win hearts and minds?
Lecturer: Joe Mlynek

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Financial Implications of Developing a Safety Culture and Expected ROI
OK, but what’s the bottom line? This lecture will examine the costs of upgrading a safety culture and then look at potential returns. How much work, time and expense is required to change a company’s perspectives, attitudes and methods of behavior — which might have been in place for decades? What are the financial benefits once accomplished, and what are they long-term? Real-world financial assessments will be provided.
Lecturer: Chris Goulart

Lecture 10 – Keeping the Momentum
Effective safety cultures do not stop improving, but move forward incrementally and continuously. Lecture 10 will discuss how companies can build in ways to keep the momentum going, re-assess current situations, keep track of progress and use metrics to measure even minor incidents. At this stage, students will be asked to once again to assess their company’s current safety cultures.
Lecturer: Chris Goulart