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J Safety Res. 2012 Feb;43(1):9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2011.10.009. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

Measuring safety climate in elderly homes.

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Occupational Safety and Health Council, 18/F., China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point, Hong Kong.



Provision of a valid and reliable safety climate dimension brings enormous benefits to the elderly home sector. The aim of the present study was to make use of the safety climate instrument developed by OSHC to measure the safety perceptions of employees in elderly homes such that the factor structure of the safety climate dimensions of elderly homes could be explored.


In 2010, surveys by mustering on site method were administered in 27 elderly homes that had participated in the "Hong Kong Safe and Healthy Residential Care Home Accreditation Scheme" organized by the Occupational Safety and Health Council.


Six hundred and fifty-one surveys were returned with a response rate of 54.3%. To examine the factor structure of safety climate dimensions in our study, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using principal components analysis method was conducted to identify the underlying factors. The results of the modified seven-factor's safety climate structure extracted from 35 items better reflected the safety climate dimensions of elderly homes. The Cronbach alpha range for this study (0.655 to 0.851) indicated good internal consistency among the seven-factor structure. Responses from managerial level, supervisory and professional level, and front-line staff were analyzed to come up with the suggestion on effective ways of improving the safety culture of elderly homes. The overall results showed that managers generally gave positive responses in the factors evaluated, such as "management commitment and concern to safety," "perception of work risks and some contributory influences," "safety communication and awareness," and "safe working attitude and participation." Supervisors / professionals, and frontline level staff on the other hand, have less positive responses. The result of the lowest score in the factors - "perception of safety rules and procedures" underlined the importance of the relevance and practicability of safety rules and procedures.


The modified OSHC safety climate tool provided better evidence of structural validity and reliability for use by elderly homes' decision makers as an indicator of employee perception of safety in their institution.


The findings and suggestions in the study provide useful information for the management, supervisors/professionals and frontline level staff to cultivate the safety culture in the elderly home sector. Most important, elderly homes can use the modified safety climate scale to identify problem areas in their safety culture and safety management practices and then target these for intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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