Abstract : The concept of safety culture, which was proposed to explain the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986, has become in 20 years essential in the vocabulary of industrial risks management. It became essential to the experts to make sense of their actions and to imply their collaborators; it gives researchers means to take into account under only one denomination the numerous individual and collective dimensions of the risks management. In a context where the risks generated by the industrial systems are perceived as less and less acceptable, thus developing a safety culture seems a source of important progress for all the stakeholders.
For the industrialists of the pharmaceutical chemistry sector, who count among the operators of risky systems, the development of a safety culture in the production sites is essential. Technical evolutions and implementations of specific management systems indeed enabled them to obtain results largely better than the average of companies but seem to reach a limit in the long range. Developing a safety culture in factories however requires changing the perspective on risks management. That indeed requires taking into account all dimensions of the organization by placing the human being at the centre of the concerns.
This research work is situated in the field of management research, and more precisely the analysis of the collective activity. It aims at meeting several goals. Initially, to decipher logics of actions subjacent with the concept of safety culture in order to determine the managerial project that it implies. Then, to identify the management processes implemented to implement those logics of action in order to observe how the managerial project safety culture is implemented. Lastly, to analyze some activities linked with these processes, in particular staff training and learning from experience, in order to identify levers of action allowing the development of a safety culture.
The field of intervention consists in chemicals production factories of a large French pharmaceutical company.
The approach suggested was implemented in various chemical plants and at the scale of the chemistry division of the industrial partner. It made possible to identify the levers of progress in the activities of risks management. It also made possible to develop and reinforce a safety culture that could help improving safety results in the studied chemical sites.
The proposed research approach can be adapted to other industrial sectors eager to develop or reinforce a safety culture, which are open to analyze their internal practices of industrial risks mastering.