A model of safety climate for the manufacturing sector
This research examines the structure of safety climate in the manufacturing sector. It does so by examining and comparing attitudes to, and perceptions of, safety issues in two manufacturing organisations and one organisation involved in the supply of construction materials. The concept of safety climate, and the associated concept of safety culture, have been the subject of much research and theory building in recent years and this thesis builds on previous work. The research framework used here employed a mainly quantitative methodology in order to investigate the architecture of safety climate using structural modelling. Statistical modelling has been applied in other safety studies, often involving safety climate as one variable in a global description of safety systems. However it has rarely been used to model and describe the structure of safety climate as an indicator of safety culture, as in this research. The structure of safety climate described in this research is characterised by the interaction of organisational, group interaction, work environment and individual variables, which provide indicators of influences on individual levels of safety activity. Structural models of the data from all three participating organisations fitted the broad pattern of organisational variables influencing group and work environment variables, which, in turn influence individual variables. A more detailed comparison of organisational structures, however, highlighted slight differences between the two manufacturing organisations and more pronounced differences between these and the construction material supply organisation, suggesting that most elements in the structure of attitudes to safety described here are industry specific. These results are explained in terms of working environments. Differences in structure, consistent with job roles, were also apparent between occupational levels. The research, in line with previous work in the field, has highlighted the importance of management commitment to, and actions for, safety, as well as the role of individual responsibility in the promotion of safety activity. The work reported here has emphasised their importance in developing and maintaining an organisational culture for safety.