The Development and Validation of a Cross-Industry Safety Climate Measure: Resolving Conceptual and Operational Issues Academic Article uri icon


  • Although safety climate research has increased in recent years, persisting conceptual ambiguity not only raises questions about what safety climate really isas operationalized in the literaturebut also inhibits increased scientific understanding of the construct. Consequently, using climate theory and research as a conceptual basis, we inductively articulated safety climates general content domain by identifying seven core indicators of safetys perceived workplace priority: leader safety commitment, safety communication, safety training, coworker safety practices, safety equipment and housekeeping, safety involvement, and safety rewards. These indicators formed the basis for a generalized safety climate measure that we designed for use across organizations, industries, and construct levels. We then conducted a multilevel construct validation of safety climate using the newly created measure in two separate studies. Results from five samples spanning multiple organizations, industries, and cultural settings revealed that the identified safety climate indicators were parsimoniously explained by an overarching safety climate factor at the individual and workgroup levels. In addition, multilevel homology tests indicated that safety climates associations with past safety incidents were nearly two times stronger at the workgroup level relative to the individual level, although this difference was not statistically significant. Finally, workgroup-level validity evidence demonstrated expected associations between safety climate and organization-reported pre- and postsurvey safety incidents. On the basis of this supportive evidence, we recommend that this conceptualization and measure of safety climate be adopted in research and practice to facilitate future scientific progress.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 4.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Beus, J. M., Payne, S. C., Arthur, W. J., & Munoz, G. J.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Beus, Jeremy M||Payne, Stephanie C||Arthur, Winfred Jr||Munoz, Gonzalo J

publication date

  • May 2019