MKOPSC has partnered with members of the Texas A&M Department of Psychology to establish a research program on safety climate. The Safety Climate Research Team, headed by Drs. Mindy Bergman and Stephanie Payne, focuses on employees’ and management’s effects on workplace safety. In the following, the Safety Climate Research Team summarizes the state of the science on safety climate and reviews their recent contributions to the scientific literature, supported by MKOPSC and its partners.
What is Safety Climate?
Safety climate is employees’ shared perceptions of the policies, procedures, and practices regarding workplace safety. It has also been defined as the relative priority of safety in an organization.
Why is Safety Climate Important?
Safety climate has been linked to safety behavior and workplace accidents and injuries such that more favorable safety climates have been found to promote safer behavior and reduce safety incidents.
How is Safety Climate Measured?
Because safety climate is the shared perception of workplace safety, it is assessed by gathering individual perceptions via self-report survey. Once individual perceptions have been measured, individual responses are aggregated to the group level (e.g., organization or workgroup) to provide an estimate of the group’s safety climate.
Properties of Safety Climate
All climates—safety, financial, operating, or otherwise—have two basic properties. First is level. Level refers to the favorability, or quality of a climate (e.g., good or bad). Second is strength. Strength is the extent to which the members of a given organization or workgroup agree with regard to safety climate’s favorability. Greater agreement suggests the presence of a stronger, more cohesive climate that is thus more likely to influence employee safety behavior.