This study assessed the perceived safety culture among five petrochemical production companies in Japan. Current effects of the perceived safety culture on employee safety motivation and performance were also examined. A total of 883 workers from the five petrochemical companies, which were located in the Chugoku region of Japan, provided valid responses to the survey distributed by email. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the personnel safety culture in these industries. The endogenous variables considered in this study included petrochemical safety culture, personnel error behavior and personnel attitudes toward violation behaviors. Petrochemical personnel safety motivation was a mediating variable. This study's findings highlight the importance of the perceived safety culture as a significant component of the organizational culture that influences employee behaviors and safety attitudes. This study further verifies the significant impact of the perceived safety culture in this industry sector on improving petrochemical personnel safety motivation and performance. Future research should explore the differences between the subcultures that have formed under larger safety cultures within similar high-risk industries, such as construction, aviation, manufacturing and mining.