A Systematic Review of the Safety Climate Intervention Literature: Past Trends and Future Directions

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Abstract

Safety climate represents the meaningfulness of safety and how safety is valued in an organization. The contributions of safety climate to organizational safety have been well documented. There is a dearth of empirical research, however, on specific safety climate interventions and their effectiveness. The present study aims at examining the trend of safety climate interventions and offering compiled information for designing and implementing evidence-based safety climate interventions. Our literature search yielded 384 titles that were inspected by three examiners. Using a stepwise process that allowed for assessment of interobserver agreement, 19 full articles were selected and reviewed. Results showed that 10 out of the 19 articles (52.6%) were based on a quasi-experimental pre- and postintervention design, whereas 42.1% (n = 8) studies were based on a mixed-design approach (including both between- and within-subject design). All interventions in these 19 studies involved either safety-/health-related communication or education/training. Improvement of safety leadership was also a common component of safety climate interventions. According to the socio-technical systems classification of intervention strategies, all studies were categorized as interventions focusing on improving organizational and managerial structure as well as the personnel subsystem; four of them also aimed at improving technological aspects of work, and five of them aimed at improving the physical work subsystem. In general, a vast majority of the studies (89.5%, n = 17) showed a statistically significant improvement in safety climate across their organizations postintervention.

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