Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Susan Madison Smith

Committee Members

Paula Carney, June Gorski, Tyler Kress, Greg Petty

Abstract

The research study entitled "Measuring the Safety Climate of Steel Mini-Mill Workers using an Instrument Validated by Structural Equation Modeling" created and field tested a new theory based safety climate instrument validated by structural equation modeling. The study also established an employee safety climate profile at three steel mini-mill locations in the United States. The safety culture of the employees and subcontractors at three locations was measured using the newly created Hall Safety Climate Instrument. The instrument was designed to measure safety climate of an organization where employees are required to practice a high level of safety skills and consistently high safety behavior because of the level of risk associated with certain work related operations. The Hall Safety Climate instrument measures safety climate and provides a "point in time" measure of safety culture.

The Hall Safety Climate Instrument was developed using the theoretical framework of the theory of planned behavior. The theory of planned behavior uses three constructs to explain why individuals choose to perform a particular behavior.

Reliability of the Hall Safety Climate instrument was established using Chronbach’s Alpha, exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. The validity of the instrument was demonstrated by structural equation modeling using AMOS.

Managers and Supervisors participating in the study self-reported a significantly higher safety climate than other participating employees. The individuals in the Maintenance departments of steel mini-mills self-reported a significantly higher safety climate than individuals in other mini-mill departments. Individuals self-reporting no previous work-related injuries achieved a higher safety climate score than those employees self-reporting previous work-related injuries. Despite having the same corporate mandated safety policies a significant difference in safety climate was found among the three corporate owned steel mini-mill locations in the United States participating in this study.

The Hall Safety Climate Instrument was designed, piloted and field tested to be used to assess the employee safety climate at facilities requiring a high safety reliability environment. An industry is considered to need high safety reliability when the high risk environment of workers could mean the use of an unsafe practice could result in very serious consequences for an employee including death or severe injury.

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