Safety Engagement Research

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Culture and Climate of Safety in Organizations: Conceptualizations
and Assessment

Melanie Kaczur
Master's Thesis, Applied Social Psychology, University of Saskatchewan
Supervised by Dr. Valery Chirkov
Funded by SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship










The concept of safety culture, coined during the investigation into the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, has received a great deal of interest from social science researchers examining the most efficient means of reducing injuries and accidents within various organizational industries. However, a lack of agreement among researchers on the theoretical definition of safety culture has resulted in an abundance of theoretical definitions, operational definitions, and assessment tools that may not be measuring the concepts they intend to measure. This conceptual confusion is further complicated by the presence of another similar concept called safety climate. The purpose of this study was to develop a comprehensive theoretical definition for safety culture and safety climate and to use these definitions as the foundation for the development of a safety climate assessment tool. This assessment tool was then piloted on students in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. The results indicate that the developed safety climate tool demonstrates adequate reliability and convergent validity for the safety training subscale for this population. Furthermore, it was found that the safety climate scores were related to the participants’ engineering discipline and their previous work experience.




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