Project: The impact of health and safety management on organisations and their staff

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 17/01/2014, published on 22/05/2008 by IOSH, and peer reviewed by IOSH

The research assessed the impact of organisational approaches to occupational safety and health (OSH) management on organisational performance, safety climate, employees’ attitudes to the organisation and employees’ health and wellbeing. The research was conducted in 31 case study organisations, covering a broad range of company sizes and industrial sectors. Seventy-eight interviews were conducted with health and safety managers, directors and workers’ representatives across the organisations to obtain in-depth information on OSH management and organisational performance indicators. The findings from the interviews were used to classify organisational OSH approaches into three categories: ‘yet to be fully engaged’, ‘complier’ and ‘very good’ (using the Continuous Improvement Cycle model). A cross-sectional survey of employees from these organisations (involving a sample of 2,067 employees) looked at the impact of company size, industrial sector and approach to OSH management on indicators of organisational performance and employees’ attitudes and health outcomes.

Public sector employees reported lower safety climate perceptions and more work-related illnesses than private sector employees. Comparisons between specific industrial sectors showed that employees in the construction industry have the highest levels of general health, safety climate awareness, organisational commitment and self-reported job performance. Employees in the utilities and property development, renting and business activities sectors also reported high levels of self-reported health and safety climate perceptions, and positive organisational attitudes. Large organisations reported higher staff absence rates, yet employees in small and medium-sized businesses reported higher levels of work-related illness. With regard to the impact of the organisation’s OSH approach on employees, ‘very good’ organisations were found to show more positive safety climate perceptions across eight out of the nine safety climate dimensions. Employees in organisations with ‘very good’ OSH management were more committed to their organisations and showed greater satisfaction with their job than employees in organisations which are categorised as ‘yet to be fully engaged’ or ‘complier’. These positive safety climate and organisational attitudes were associated with better self-reported physical and mental health.

Human factors & behavioural safety, Leadership, Risk management, Training and education
Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, Environmental and Waste management, Finance, Fire, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Local Authorities, Manufacturing, Media, Nuclear, Offices, Offshore, Other, Public Sector, Quarrying / Mining, Railway, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport

Organisation: Loughborough University

Work and Health Research Centre
Department of Human Sciences
Loughborough ,
LE11 3TU,
+44 (0)1509 222222

Principal Investigator: Prof Cheryl Haslam

Other Researchers: Dr Jane Ward and Prof Roger Haslam

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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire, LE18 1NN, UK

t +44 (0)116 257 3100

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