Go to - Home Page!
Homepage > Research > Archive > Safety climate measurement
Go To - Technion Site !

Safety climate measurement
Human Performance laboratory
Prof. Zohar Dov, Dr. Luria Gil

2003

The goal of this study is to develop a measure for safety climate that will forecast unsafe employee behavior and serve as a valid measure of safety in plants.
Safety climate, is a derivative of the more general Organizational Climate, relates to the agreement between employees (in a division or plant) about the importance of performing their work while maintaining safe behavior. Previous research we have performed over previous years have shown safety climate as a good predictor of unsafe behaviors, injuries and can therefore be used as a valid measure for safety. Based on this finding, we have further developed and studied the effect of safety climate and its different components on behavior. One of the important issues that affects organizational climate is connected to the differentiation between statements and actions, otherwise seen as the difference between stated policy and applied policy. We developed a survey that allows the independent measurement of stated and applied policies in order to assess the gap between them. In the current study, we have found that employees perceive the manager's behavioral component (the actual time devoted to issues relating to safety, meaning applied policy) separately from the stated component relating to safety (stated policy). We have found that managers tend to declare that safety is very important but this importance is not always apparent in their daily behavior. This issue is of importance, since it can be a main factor in answering the question: "how really is safety important to my manager / management?" (This is the basic question in safety climate). We have found that employees pay attention mostly to the applied policy of managers regarding safety and less so to the stated policy. It is possible even that a high stated safety policy in organizations is not seen as a sign by employees that safety is important, or even that these statements strengthen the seemingly unimportant place of safety when it is unaligned with applied policy. For example: we used a safety climate survey also as a tool to strengthen the motivation of management to properly implement the safety standard in a more thorough and real manner, that will affect the perceived importance in the eyes of the employees. Rating feedback (climate grades) to management that implements the standard reflected the message they were sending the employees in their managerial activities. Safety issues have an important value also to managers that do not emphasize safety and therefore expressed, factual and reliable feedback that clearly shows the low importance implied by their behavior, can be a good motivator for change.
Until this point, very few valid predictive measures have been developed for unsafe behavior and accidents in the workplace. Therefore, the safety climate survey that allows a cheap and fast way to quantify and give feedback is a big boost to safety management.

Back to -> Research Archive's main page.