Introduction Occupational Health and Safety has known several waves to prevent injuries and worker’s drop out. First, mainly technical measures were implemented. In the 1990’s management systems introduced organisational measures. More recently, one became aware of the vital role of the individual (who uses the techniques according to the management system). The worker’s behaviour (safety awareness) is the missing link between technical and organisational measures. The aim was to explore the relation between organisational culture and safety awareness.
Methods 17400 employees, working in 128 (private and public) organisations (79.0% participation), filled out a self-completed questionnaire. Group level analyses on company level were performed to explore the relationship between organisational social capital (OSC) and 4 safety parameters: importance of safety in the organisation, presence of clear safety rules, recognition of working practices and knowing whom to turn to.
Organisations were divided according to size (<50, 50–99, 100–199, ≥200 employees). 113 organisations were grouped into 10 similar activity groups.
Prevalence rates of the considered safety parameters were calculated by organisation size and activity group.
Relationships between OSC and safety parameters were explored within same activity groups by correlation coefficients.
Results Analyses by company size revealed similar patterns in safety parameters: companies with <50 employees scored best, followed by companies with 100–199 employees, companies with 50–99 employees and worst in companies with ≥200 employees.
Safety parameters scored best in construction and industries, while information and communication companies scored worst.
Depending on activity group and considered safety parameter highly significant correlations were found with OSC (R2 reaching up to 0.87).
Discussion The results indicated a clear link between organisational culture and safety awareness according to company size, but regardless of activity group. The strong relationship between OSC and safety parameters indicates a predominant role of OSC within a preventative approach in safety management.
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