Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Martin D. Slade

Second Advisor

Carine J. Sakr


BACKGROUND: Safety climates that support safety-related behavior are associated with a fewer work-related injuries, and prior research in industry suggests that safety knowledge and motivation are strongly related to safety performance behaviors; this relationship is not well studied in healthcare settings. METHODS: We performed analyses of survey results from a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Safety Barometer employee perception survey, conducted among VHA employees in 2012. The employee perception survey assessed six safety program categories, including management participation, supervisor participation, employee participation, safety support activities, safety support climate, and organizational climate. We examined the impact of safety climate from the survey results on VHA employee injury and illness rates.

RESULTS: Of the six safety program categories, VHA work-related injury and illness rates were significantly and inversely related to employee perception of supervisor participation and safety support climate. Among VHA facilities in The VA New England Healthcare System, work-related injury rate was significantly and inversely related to overall employee perception of safety climate, and all six safety program categories, including employee perception of employee participation, management participation, organizational climate, supervisor participation, safety support activities, and safety support climate.

CONCLUSIONS: Employee perceptions of superior safety climates in VHA facilities are associated with lower work-related injury and illness rates. Of the safety culture determinants analyzed, VHA supervisor participation and safety support climate were identified as the elements most strongly associated with work-related injury rates. Future implications may include improving supervisor participation and safety support climate in the VA healthcare system to reduce employee injury rates.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access