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Workplace Safety Culture Associated with Accident Rate, Study Finds

The definition of workplace safety "culture" can be hard to pin down. Does improving culture mean adding more crew trainings? Scheduling more safety days? Scheduling shorter shifts? It can include all of these (and they're good things), but it encapsulates more than just extra training or time off.

A few years ago, a group of researchers created a tool to measure safety culture via a survey. The EMS Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (or EMS-SAQ) was designed by medical directors, occupational epidemiologists, and emergency medical technicians to quantify worker safety culture so they could study workplace safety more closely.

The EMS-SAQ measures a worker's perception of workplace safety across six dimensions:

  • Safety climate
  • Teamwork climate
  • Perceptions of management
  • Working conditions
  • Stress recognition
  • Job satisfaction

One 2012 study published in Prehospital Emergency Care then used the EMS-SAQ to compare perception of workplace safety to the actual accident record for each workplace. The findings were clear: every respondent who said they'd experienced an accident in the previous three months worked at a job that scored low in at least five of the six above categories.

Is Workplace Safety Culture a Reliable Measurement of Accident Likelihood?

Admittedly, these findings only discovered an association between a workplace's accident record and their EMS-SAQ score. The exact relationship between a workplace's safety culture requires more study. However, these findings alone show that working conditions, stress, job satisfaction, and management's relationship to their workers are all linked to accident rate.

If that's the case, then accident rate is under the direct control of executive policy—and not just safety policy. Team makeup, working conditions, and worker stress are all impacted by staffing practices, maintenance practices, and other policies set by an employer. This study suggests that employers can significantly lower accident rates by prioritizing worker well-being over faster productivity.

If that's the case—and our experience says it is—then employers ought to be held financially and morally responsible for every serious workplace accident.

Call (888) 493-1629 If You Were Hurt at Work

Arnold & Itkin LLP is the most renowned work injury firm in the nation. We've obtained more than $10 billion for our clients in claims against the largest employers and insurers in the world, including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and more. If you were injured at work, we're the firm to call. We'll uncover every decision that contributed to your harm, and we'll hold all at-fault parties fully accountable. No matter what.

Call (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation today.

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