Do you want to make a difference?
Contact us at SafetyClimate@ohsu.edu for information or inquiries.
Our Mission: Ensuring individuals’ well-being through promoting Safety Climate and Culture in the workplace.
Safety Climate is a scientifically validated, leading indicator of safety outcomes.
Safety Climate has captured the attention of companies and scientists looking to reduce accidents and injuries; it reflects what happens when the rubber (safety decisions and protocols) meets the road (competing demands such as production and delivery deadlines). It is the measurable dimension of a company’s safety culture.
Research Participation Opportunity: Development and Validation of a TWH Climate Scale
We are searching for: multiple companies with 500 or more employees from any industry.
If your company is interested in participating in Total Worker Health research and receiving services free of cost, contact us at the Safety Climate Lab. Employees at each company will complete a one-time online 15-20 minute survey. The survey can be completed on any computer or mobile device (e.g., desktop, laptop, tablet device, smart phone). We anticipate collecting data in late 2021 – 2022 for the TWH Climate Scale research project.
The goal of this project is to develop and validate a Total Worker Health Climate Scale as a leading indicator of occupational safety, health and well-being outcomes that will be generalizable across industries. We want to help companies build good Total Worker Health Culture! This is a 2-year project uses a mixed method approach integrating both qualitative and quantitative methods and encompasses three dimensions of TWH Climate: Safety Climate, Physical Health Climate and Well-being Climate. The proposed approach is expected to produce a broadly applicable, integrated, reliable, and valid TWH Climate scale which can be used to identify workplace strengths and opportunities for improvement and predict outcomes that cut across safety, health, and well-being. Leaders could use TWH Climate scores for a holistic and streamlined promotion of safety, health and well-being and to evaluate the effectiveness of TWH interventions over time. This study addresses the TWH priority area of “Measuring Worker Well-being.”
Download our “A Multi-Climate Profile Score to Measure Total Worker Health® Climate” research one-pager
See our recent blog post for more information: Recruiting participants to develop a Total Worker Health® climate survey
Consulting Opportunity: COVID-19 Safety Climate Assessment
The Safety Climate Lab is offering one of the first COVID-19 Safety Climate assessments to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This COVID-19 Safety Climate Scale is designed to help organizations evaluate culture, predict outcomes and promote safety and health of employees as they return to work.
Participating organizations engaging in this assessment will invite their employees to voluntarily complete a one-time, 15-20 minute survey during their workday. Researchers will present the analyzed assessment results to the organization in a workshop, answer any questions and identify safety strengths and weaknesses.
Download our "COVID-19 Safety Climate Assessment" consulting one-pager
See our recent blog post for more information: COVID-19 Safety Climate Assessment available from the Safety Climate Lab under Dr. Emily (Yueng-hsiang) Huang
Recent Blog Posts and Podcasts
Dr. Huang has been advising organizations of business on Safety Climate evaluation and enhancement for over 20 years. From large corporations to small family-owned companies, Dr. Huang has established scientifically validated and reliable methods for administering surveys for evaluation, delivering results, and suggesting specific targeted areas for safety improvements. Each consulting project is tailored to the needs of the client.
Consulting engagements include the following:
- Safety Climate survey delivery to gather data from company members.
- Analysis of the data that is compared to industry standards across the US.
- A workshop presentation where the survey results are shared with the client and an open discussion that allows questions to be answered.
- Suggestions for improvement that are based on the results of the survey and shared at the end of the workshop.
As an Applied Science lab in the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences located at OHSU, one of the top research institutes in the nation, our research is an incredibly important part of the work that we do. It is what advances the industry of occupational health and improves health and safety in new and inventive ways. This is the work that truly makes a difference across Oregon and beyond. Participating in research is without a doubt a great contribution you can make to promote health and safety in your community.
Research projects vary in subject, complexity, and methods. Many research projects resemble consulting projects with the latest and newest updates to survey measures or subject areas.
Some potential research engagements include the following:
- Safety Climate survey delivery to gather data from company members
- A workshop presentation where the survey results are shared with the participant and an open discussion that allows questions to be answered.
- Suggestions for improvement for the participant that are based on the results of the survey and shared at the end of the workshop.
- Delivery of new interventions or training programs
- Interviews with experts, field workers, or employees
- Publishing of a peer-reviewed journal article to report on the results and advance the literature in the field
Who We Are
Dr. Emily (Yueng-hsiang) Huang's research team in the Safety Climate Lab focuses on improving the quality of life for individuals through building a healthy and safe workplace. Our lab offers consulting services, participation in research, and access to resources to improve the safety, health, and well-being of Oregonians and beyond. Participation in grant-funded research is free of charge; our consulting services are provided at cost. Engaging in either research or consulting comes with the promise of improving your understanding of safety and the possibility of enriching and saving lives.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Huang has developed and applied an interdisciplinary approach for Occupational Safety and Health research and consulting services to support employees' safety, health, and well-being. Dr. Huang was recently identified as the most prolific author in the Safety Climate field over the past 38 years and has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, 6 book chapters, presented more than 100 worldwide conference presentations/proceedings, and has provided recommendations to numerous occupational safety and health practitioners and industry professionals. After receiving her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology/Systems Science from Portland State University, Dr. Huang enjoyed 17 years with Liberty Mutual as a Senior Research Scientist, the Acting Director for the Center for Behavioral Sciences (Organizational Safety Group), and Corporate Consultant.
Our priority is to make this process as easy, informative, and enjoyable for you as possible. To aid survey implementation, our lab has 10 iPads available for clients and participants who do not have access to electronic devices needed to take online surveys.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information or inquiries.
How will you benefit?
- Financial Benefits: Our research showed that chief executives estimated that, on average, they got back $4 in return for every $1 invested in safety.
- Safer Workplaces: Reduced workers’ comp claims, lower injury rates and severity, fewer fatalities.
- More Engaged Workforce: Higher job satisfaction and engagement, lower turnover rates.
- Positive Reputation: Recognized for being dedicated to safety and a desirable place to work.
- Post-restructuring, our safety climate work helped an international utility company with over 10k employees establish safety behaviors that have generated sustained improvements in safety communication, goals, and leadership involvement.
- A nationwide supply chain company was struggling with driver turnover rates and implemented a safety climate assessment for insight into their strengths and weaknesses. Their safety team then implemented 10 major initiatives to better connect drivers with their teams, supervisors, and leadership. These efforts have helped to dramatically improve retention, stabilize their workforce, and improve the safety effectiveness of supervisors and management teams.
What is Safety Climate and Safety Culture?
Safety climate is employees' shared perceptions of the relative priority of safety in an organization and is the measurable dimension of organizational safety culture that is represented in a numerical score.
Safety culture is defined as shared safety values and beliefs that interact with an organization’s structures and control systems to produce behavioral norms.
Basically, 'safety culture' represents how safe employees think their workplace is and guides what they do, whereas 'safety climate' is the measurable component of safety culture.
Companies that understand and monitor safety climate can identify where problems may lie and take appropriate steps to proactively improve safety.
Dr. Huang's Research Findings
- Safety climate has a significant impact on lone workers' safety outcomes, such as truck drivers and utility workers. When a company has a good safety climate, their employees behave more safely and have fewer workplace injuries, even when no one is monitoring them (Huang et al., 2013a, 2013b).
- Supervisors or workers: Who rates safety climate? Our data shows that supervisors consistently score safety climate higher than workers do, and that their responses are not predictive of safety outcomes (Huang et al., 2014).
- The impact of safety climate is beyond safety outcomes; when a company has good safety climate, their employees have a higher level of job satisfaction and job engagement, and lower turnover intentions (Huang et al., 2016).
- The relationship between safety communication and safety climate shows that supervisor communication about safety uniquely contributes to safety outcomes. The construct validity of a newly-adapted safety communication scale was demonstrated with a focus on its distinctiveness from safety climate. The model demonstrated that communication had both main and moderating effects on safety behavior that ultimately predicted truck drivers' injury rates (Huang et al., 2018).
Testimonials from Consulting Clients
Fortis Construction Inc.
"The safety climate lab provides a snapshot in time from the worker’s perspective. I can’t think of a better way to provide meaningful feedback to a safety program in the works. The survey is anonymous and the report from OHSU Safety Climate Lab is comprehensive. It was refreshing to hear from the objective observers at OHSU just how healthy our safety climate is and it was inspiring to hear the actions and plans that the study generated at Fortis Construction. I’d recommend that any company, no matter what size and no matter what level of safety maturity, measure their safety climate with the OHSU team. They are the experts and they draw from a wealth of data that most of us don’t have access to. It will help your company. Be brave ...listen to the findings, and take action."
- Demetra Star, Safety Team Leader, Fortis Construction, Inc.
United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
"We have focused for too long on trying to train the driver to be safer, without considering the crucial impact of the safety climate. What I like about the safety climate approach is that it is a quantitative, peer-reviewed approach that allows for a baseline from which to measure impact. It also supports the development of targeted interventions, beyond traditional training and awareness campaigns. I very much enjoyed working with the team at OHSU, who are dedicated, professional and client-centred. Highly recommended."
- Daniel Hardy, Road Safety Portfolio Manager, United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
"DeWitt Construction has been on a journey the past three years to improve the safety awareness and culture of the company through the use of safety perception surveys and industry safety recognition such as the AGC-PRIDE designation. In 2020, DeWitt partnered with OHSU's Safety Climate Lab Research Team to draw from their data and analytics to evaluate DeWitt employee's perception of the company's safety efforts compared to other companies. The anonymous survey responses when evaluated and tabulated by the OHSU Research Team provided valuable insights into what DeWitt is doing well and areas for improvement. DeWitt thanks the OHSU's Safety Climate Lab personnel for their time and assistance."
- Dale Lindstrom - PE, CPCU, ARM, Risk and Safety Manager, DeWitt Construction
Whitaker/Ellis Builders, Inc.
“We appreciate the information and presentation. You and your team did a great job! We enjoyed working with you and I can see how your team makes significant impacts for workplace safety.”
- Bill Ellis, President, Whitaker/Ellis Builders, Inc.
“The safety climate survey and evaluation was a great experience and very insightful for us. The survey let us have a better grasp on where we could use improvement. It also informed us on where we are doing good. I would highly recommend reaching out to them.”
- Brandon Sirois, Vice President, Whitaker/Ellis Builders, Inc.
Testimonials from Research Participants
VP Safety & General Counsel
“We also enjoyed meeting with you and learning the results of your research. The information will prove invaluable in the future development of safety culture...we look forward to working with you further. Please don’t hesitate to call if the opportunity arises to work together in the future.”
Director Driver Training
“The experience was far better than we imagined. It was a true pleasure working with you and your team. The benefits of the study will provide many helpful insights for months to come…actually using some of the results in a training piece I am putting together…Hope to have future opportunities to work together again.”
“Glad we could participate. I would like to thank you, XXX & XXXXX for presenting the findings of the survey and sparking some much needed conversation among the various departments at XX XXXXXX.”
Sr. VP & CFO
“XXXXX, It was a real pleasure meeting you and XXXXX. We found the presentation to be extremely enlightening and feel it has given us new insight into what our focus should be in our overall program of reducing our accidents and improving our drivers’ impression of the company and managers’ commitment to safety. Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to participate in this very important study.”
“We truly appreciate the opportunity you and your associates gave us to be included in your project and all that we learned from it. We’re reviewing the information and will be making changes where needed.”
VP Safety, Health & Environment
“It was our pleasure. We can't thank XXXXX XXXXX enough for all the time and effort to help us better understand our safety climate and the steps we need to take to improve it. The workshop was both interesting and enlightening.”