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J Safety Res. 2004;35(5):497-512.

Exploratory analysis of the safety climate and safety behavior relationship.

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  • 1Department of Applied Health Sciences, Indiana University, IN 47405, USA.



Safety climate refers to the degree to which employees believe true priority is given to organizational safety performance, and its measurement is thought to provide an "early warning" of potential safety system failure(s). However, researchers have struggled over the last 25 years to find empirical evidence to demonstrate actual links between safety climate and safety performance.


A safety climate measure was distributed to manufacturing employees at the beginning of a behavioral safety initiative and redistributed one year later.


Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that perceptions of the importance of safety training were predictive of actual levels of safety behavior. The results also demonstrate that the magnitude of change in perceptual safety climate scores will not necessarily match actual changes (r=0.56, n.s.) in employee's safety behavior.


This study obtained empirical links between safety climate scores and actual safety behavior. Confirming and contradicting findings within the extant safety climate literature, the results strongly suggest that the hypothesized climate-behavior-accident path is not as clear cut as commonly assumed.


A statistical link between safety climate perceptions and safety behavior will be obtained when sufficient behavioral data is collected.


The study further supports the use of safety climate measures as useful diagnostic tools in ascertaining employee's perceptions of the way that safety is being operationalized.

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