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The relationship between safety climate and safety performance: A review

journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-23, 02:55 authored by SNN Syed-Yahya, MA Idris, Andrew NobletAndrew Noblet
Introduction: Since its inception more than four decades ago, research on safety climate has been conducted in many industries. Subsequently, a plethora of systematic literature reviews on safety climate in various work environments has focused on research trends and measurement scales. Yet, despite these reviews, the overall picture of how safety climate influences performance is still not well understood. The current study reviews existing literature on safety climate, specifically how it affects safety performance. Method: Literature searches were conducted using EBSCOhost and Web of Science databases in March 2021. We included English-language, peer-reviewed studies that reported the results of research done on safety climate and safety performance. We extracted data (contextual, theoretical, methodological and definition of safety performance) from these studies and were deductively analyzed and categorized into common themes. Results: One hundred and sixty-two safety climate studies were identified. We found that studies on safety climate–performance were conducted in 16 types of industries while 23 different theories explained the safety climate–performance relationship. The quantity and quality of variables and methods used varied considerably across the surveys. Safety climate is predominantly used as a predictor while safety-related behavior is the most common definition of safety performance among the articles we reviewed. Few papers from the current review were methodologically strong, suggesting that current evidence on the link between safety climate and safety performance still suffers from common method bias. Conclusions: Although literature has provided evidence for the positive effect on safety performance via a strong safety climate, strong and convincing methods are still lacking and the causality of an improved safety climate still needs to be demonstrated. Practical applications: The findings of the current review offer a better understanding of how employers can improve safety climate in the workplace in various settings.



Journal of Safety Research


Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal