Culture and Climate of Safety in Organizations: Conceptualizations and Assessment
The concepts of safety culture and safety climate have received a great deal of attention from safety professionals and academic researchers as efficient non-technological means of reducing injuries and accidents within various industries. However, there is conceptual confusion regarding these constructs as there is a lack of single, unified theoretical and operational definitions for both of these constructs, which has led to a vast number of assessment tools with questionable validity and applicability. In this thesis, the author addressed some of these conceptual issues. The thesis reports two studies. In Study one, the author conducted a conceptual analysis of the two constructs, which included analysis of theoretical definitions of safety culture and safety climate, analysis of their operational definitions, and assessment of congruency between these types of definitions. Finally, a theoretical definition and an operational definition was developed and presented for each of these constructs. This conceptual analysis was complemented by the analysis of corresponding literature. In Study two, the researcher focused on developing and verifying a self-report measure for assessing safety climate in the College of Engineering. The developed theoretical and operational definitions for safety climate were used to develop the Saskatchewan Safety Climate Questionnaire. This questionnaire was administered to 267 students in the College of Engineering at a Canadian University. The developed Safety Climate Questionnaire demonstrated adequate psychometric properties and highlighted the link between safety climate and students’ experience with injuries and near misses on campus. The safety climate scores were found to be related to students’ discipline, previous work experience in industry, students’ experience with injuries and near misses, and witnessing injuries and near misses.
safety culture, safety climate, theoretical definition, operational definitions, assessment tools
Master of Arts (M.A.)