How is safety climate measured? A review and evaluation

Tracey Shea, Helen De Cieri, Trang Vu, Trisha Pettit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Safety climate is central to scholarship in workplace safety, yet there is a lack of clarity and consensus in the way safety climate has been conceptualized and measured. Since Zohar's (1980) pivotal work on safety climate, there has been a proliferation of scales to measure this construct. This is the first review and critical evaluation of safety climate measures. We searched several databases from January 1980 to December 2019 for studies relating to safety climate with the aim of capturing all publicly available generic measures of safety climate. Our search identified 1665 peer reviewed journal articles. After removing duplicates and applying our exclusion criteria, we reviewed 44 articles containing 49 measures of safety climate. The results of this review identified deficiencies and inconsistencies in the way safety climate has been conceptualized and measured. Our review found that the scale validation process has been skewed towards scale development rather than scale evaluation and, despite the inherently multilevel nature of safety climate, the psychometric evaluation of safety climate as a multilevel construct has rarely been examined. Our findings hold important implications and we offer guidance for future research. Clarity, consensus and rigor in measurement are imperative for the advancement of safety climate research and critical to any understanding of the impact of safety climate on safety outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105413
Number of pages14
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Safety climate
  • Scale development
  • Scale evaluation
  • Scale validation
  • Systematic review

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