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Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) 2.0 is here

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Safety Culture Ladder (SCL), a standard designed to encourage continual improvement in occupational health and safety, has been revised and here's what you need to know.

The Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) is a standard designed to encourage continual improvement in occupational safety awareness and safe working practices within organisations. It provides a certifiable benchmark, which companies can use to assess their current level of progress in implementing effective safety practices.

A new version of the standard, SCL 2.0, was published in September 2023 and audits against the new standard began 1 January 2024.

What has changed?

The assessment method

  • Points-based assessment has been replaced by a colour-based assessment: green, orange and red. Green means ‘satisfactory’, orange ‘not yet satisfactory but on the right track’ and red ‘not satisfactory
  • More importance is placed on the ‘behaviour’ aspect and is described more explicitly than it was in SCL 2016

Health and safety (H&S) explained in more detail

To clarify what falls under H&S, this term is explained more extensively in SCL 2.0. H&S is broader than just occupational safety; it also includes psychosocial work stress, psychosocial safety, well-being and integrity.

Improved reports

Reports are prepared based on an assessment of five themes (see Section 5 of the standards document). They describe an organisation’s strengths and the areas in which it could improve; this is followed by a conclusion per theme.

Content-related changes

  • Rail-related terms have been removed.
  • SCL 2.0 is more concise than the original SCL 2016: duplicate information has been removed.
  • Step 1 has been added to the descriptions.
  • The descriptions are presented in ascending order.
  • Heightened focus on the ‘why’ and on the result envisaged instead of on the format.
  • Heightened focus on attitudes, behaviour and interaction instead of on methods, working methods and systems.
  • More system-oriented requirements and technical or field-specific references have been removed.
  • The descriptions for steps 4 and 5 are more prescriptive.
  • A handbook was produced for SCL 2016, whereas SCL 2.0 is set out in the Certification Scheme.

Transition period

From 1 January 2024 audits will begin to take place against the new version of the standards (SCL 2.0) and there will be a one-year transition period for certified clients.

Organisations with existing SCL 2016 certification will have until January 2025 to transition to the new standard. After 31st December 2024, certificates to SCL 2016 will expire or be withdrawn.

Until 31st December 2024, audits can take place against both the old version (SCL 2016) and the new version (SCL 2.0) of the standard. However, it is recommended that standard users transition to SCL 2.0 earlier than the final cut-off date of 31st December 2024 as certificates will expire on the 1st January 2025, and certificates to SCL 2016 will no longer be valid.

For more information visit our Safety Culture Ladder (SCL) page.