The utility of a safety climate scale among workers with a work-related permanent impairment who have returned to work

Publication type
Journal article
Huang YH, Sears JM, He Y, Courtney TK, Rega E, Kelly A
Date published
2022 Aug 01
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: Safety climate (SC) is a robust leading indicator of occupational safety outcomes. There is, however, limited research on SC among workers who have returned to work with a work-related permanent impairment. OBJECTIVE: This study examined three propositions: (1) a two-level model of SC (group-level and organization-level SC) will provide the best fit to the data; (2) antecedent factors such as safety training, job demands, supervisor and coworker support, and decision latitude will predict SC; and (3) previously reported associations between SC and outcomes such as reinjury, work-family conflict, job performance, and job security will be observed. METHOD: A representative cross-sectional survey gathered information about experiences during the first year of work reintegration. About one year after claim closure, 599 interviews with workers were conducted (53.8% response rate). Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to test the factor structure of the SC construct. Further, researchers used correlation analyses to examine the criterion-related validity. RESULTS: Consistent with general worker populations, our findings suggest the following: (1) the two-factor structure of SC outperformed the single-factor structure in our population of workers with a permanent impairment; (2) correlations demonstrate that workplace safety training, decision latitude, supervisor support, coworker support, and job demands could predict SC; and (3) SC may positively impact reinjury risk, work-family conflict, and may increase job performance and job security. CONCLUSIONS: Our study validated a two-factor SC scale among workers with a history of disabling workplace injury or permanent impairment who have returned to work. Practical applications of this scale will equip organizations with the necessary data to improve working conditions for this population