Safety Climate as an Indicator and Predictor of Safety Performance: A Case Study

Brandon Baertschi, Sang D Choi, Kwangseog Ahn


This study compared and objectively gauged the safety climate in the manufacturing facilities (high safety performing vs. low safety performing) to identify the most impactful areas to focus to reduce or prevent workplace injuries. In order to accomplish the study objective, we employed the Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) consisted of 50 items across seven dimensions. A total of 116 operations employees in the paper laminate manufacturing completed the survey. The two sites were both within the United States and had structured the same operations. The results of the comparisons showed that there was a significant difference in the total scores for the sites. The high performance site had significantly higher NOSACQ-50 scores than the underperforming site in all dimensions. The high performing site had the greater safety climate scores in the area of “management safety priority & ability”. The underperforming site recorded comparatively lower scores in the areas of “management safety empowerment”, “group safety priority”, and “worker safety commitment”. We provided the recommendations of three focus areas: commitment, involvement, and accountability. The outcomes from this study could be useful to apply resources and focus to the appropriate areas in order to make safety improvements. In turn, improving safety climate can have positive impacts on increasing employee safety while improving the viability of the organization.

Full Text:



Ali, H., Abdullah, N.A., & Subramaniam, C. (2009). Management practice in safety culture and its influence on workplace injury. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 18, 470-477.

Beus, J.M., Bergman, M.E., & Payne, S.C. (2010). The influence of organizational tenure on safety climate strength: A first look. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 42, 1431-1437.

Breslin, F.C., Polzer, J., MacEachen, E., Morrongiello, B., & Shannon, H. (2007). Workplace injury or “part of the job”?: Towards a gendered understanding of injuries and complaints among young workers. Social Science & Medicine, 64, 782-793.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2017a). Economic News Release: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary. U.S. Department of Labor. Accessed July 25, 2017.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2017b). Injury and Illness Data. U.S. Department of Labor. Accessed October 11, 2017.

Carroll, J.S. (1998). Safety culture as an ongoing process: Culture surveys as opportunities for enquiry and change. Work & Stress, 12, 272-284.

Hajaistron, M. (2014). Create safety accountability: Overcoming the discipline dilemma. Safety & Health, 189, 58-59.

Kines, P., Lappalainen, J., Mikkelsen, K.L., Olsen, E., Pousette, A., Tharaldsen, J., Tómasson, K., & Törner, M. (2011). Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50): A new tool for diagnosing occupational safety climate. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 41, 634-646.

Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index (2017). Risk Control from Liberty Mutual Insurance. insurance/Documents/Services/Workplace%20Safety%20Index.pdf. Accessed August 28, 2017.

National Research Centre for the Working Environment (2017). NOSACQ 50 – safety climate questionnaire: How to use the Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire - NOSACQ-50. nosacq-50/how-to-use-nosacq-50. Accessed February 25, 2017.

Neal, A., & Griffin, M.A. (2002). Safety climate and safety behaviour. Australian Journal of Management, 27, 67-76.

Neal, A., Griffin, M.A., & Hart, P.M. (2000). The impact of organizational climate on safety climate and individual behavior. Safety Science, 34, 99-109.

O'Toole, M. (2002). The relationship between employees' perceptions of safety and organizational culture. Journal of Safety Research, 33, 231-243.

Petitta, L., Probst, T.M., Barbaranelli, C., & Ghezzi, V. (2017). Disentangling the roles of safety climate and safety culture: Multi-level effects on the relationship between supervisor enforcement and safety compliance. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 99, 77-89.

Safe Work Australia (2017). Perceived levels of management safety empowerment and justice among Australian employers. Safe Work Australia Act. Accessed July 30, 2017.

Vredenburgh, A.G. (2002). Organizational safety: Which management practices are most effective in reducing employee injury rates? Journal of Safety Research, 33, 259-276.

Yousefi, Y., Jahangiri, M., Choobineh, A., Tabatabaei, H., Keshavarzi, S., Shams, A., & Mohammadi Y (2016) Validity assessment of the Persian version of the Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50): A case study in a steel company. Safety and Health at Work, 7, 326-330.

Yule, S., Flin, R., & Murdy, A. (2006). The role of management and safety climate in preventing risk-taking at work. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 7, 137-151.

Zwetsloot, G.I.J., Kines, P., Ruotsala, R., Drupsteen, L., Merivirta, M.L., & Bezemer, R.A. (2017). The importance of commitment, communication, culture and learning for the implementation of the Zero Accident Vision in 27 companies in Europe. Safety Science, 96, 22-32.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Industrial and Systems Engineering Review