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Nova Scotia Research highlights the importance of safety climate
Nova Scotia Research highlights the importance of safety climate
Research conducted by Dr. Michael Leiter of Acadia University’s Centre for Organizational Research and Development, highlights the importance of safety climate in building and maintaining healthy and safe workplaces. The study, “Developing a Safety Climate: Shared Assumptions and Interventions”, was completed in partnership with Nova Scotia’s South Shore District Health Authority, and was funded by Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board, Saskatchewan Worker’s Compensation Board and Work Safe BC,  through the Focus on Tomorrow research program.
The goal of the research was to assess how the “Creating a Safe Climate” (CSC) intervention could enhance both the safety climate of a hospital unit, and the safety behaviour of nurses.  The intervention involved (1) increasing the levels of value that individuals place on workplace health and safety, and (2) measuring the alignment of safety practices with organizational policies and procedures. By doing this the research aimed to decrease the number of injuries for staff, create a better functioning workplace, and ultimately provide better care to patients.
The research was completed in three phases:
Phase 1 – surveys of nurses at three SSDHA hospital sites
Phase 2 – selection of four nursing units to participate in the CSC intervention, with the remainder serving as control groups.   Through the intervention tool nursing work groups identified issues, set goals for improving the safety climate on their unit, and enhanced progress towards these goals.
Phase 3 – preliminary survey was repeated and evaluated for resulting changes.
Among the research findings participants identified:
·        what they defined as more unpredictable hazards (slippery surfaces, patients, lifting) to be the cause the greatest amount of risk.
·        moderate levels of concern for workplace health and safety and rated themselves and co-workers as generally, but not consistently, compliant with safety procedures.
·        they and their co-workers followed safe working procedures most of the time, even if doing so meant it would slow them down. From the respondents’ perspective, management did not view safety as a significant concern.
Dr. Leiter’s study states: “A safety climate reflects the core values of the hospital, as demonstrated through actions of leaders at the executive and unit level.   Support from management (in terms of funding and time) is crucial to improve a unit’s safety climate.   An organizational intervention to address safety as a core value requires active and enthusiastic support from hospital leaders.”
You can find the full report “Developing a Safety Climate: Shared Assumptions and Interventions” here. 

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