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Correlation between safety climate and contractor safety assessment programs in construction

Authors

  • Emily H. Sparer MS,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Lauren A. Murphy PhD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Center for Behavioral Sciences, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
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  • Kathryn M. Taylor MS,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Jack T. Dennerlein PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Physical Therapy, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Correspondence to: Jack Dennerlein, Department of Physical Therapy, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, 6 Robinson Hall, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston 02115, MA. E-mail: j.dennerlein@neu.edu

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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Abstract

Background

Contractor safety assessment programs (CSAPs) measure safety performance by integrating multiple data sources together; however, the relationship between these measures of safety performance and safety climate within the construction industry is unknown.

Methods

Four hundred and one construction workers employed by 68 companies on 26 sites and 11 safety managers employed by 11 companies completed brief surveys containing a nine-item safety climate scale developed for the construction industry. CSAP scores from ConstructSecure, Inc., an online CSAP database, classified these 68 companies as high or low scorers, with the median score of the sample population as the threshold. Spearman rank correlations evaluated the association between the CSAP score and the safety climate score at the individual level, as well as with various grouping methodologies. In addition, Spearman correlations evaluated the comparison between manager-assessed safety climate and worker-assessed safety climate.

Results

There were no statistically significant differences between safety climate scores reported by workers in the high and low CSAP groups. There were, at best, weak correlations between workers' safety climate scores and the company CSAP scores, with marginal statistical significance with two groupings of the data. There were also no significant differences between the manager-assessed safety climate and the worker-assessed safety climate scores.

Conclusions

A CSAP safety performance score does not appear to capture safety climate, as measured in this study. The nature of safety climate in construction is complex, which may be reflective of the challenges in measuring safety climate within this industry. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:1463–1472, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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