Barriers to the improvement of occupational safety performance: a leadership group's perspective
journal contributionposted on 07.06.2017, 05:19 by Clissold, Gemma, Sohal, Amrik
Whilst a large portion of contemporary occupational safety research is focused on understanding safety culture and safety climate as antecedents of unsafe behaviour, there is very little research that explores the barriers to the achievement of a positive safety culture or climate. Additionally, there is a paucity of research in the field of organisational safety that utilises qualitative research methodologies. This paper presents some of the results from semi-structured interviews conducted with 120 managers and occupational health and safety professionals working within one organisation. The organisation was in the process of introducing and implementing an occupational safety strategy aimed at decreasing injury and accident rates through the improvement of organisational safety culture and safety climate. Whilst a range of important themes emerged from the interview transcripts, this paper focuses on the barriers to the improvement of organisational safety as identified by the participants. The main barriers outlined were the commitment of organisational members to the improvement process, the dedication of resources, and characteristics of the existing culture. Similarities are drawn between the outcomes of this research and the literature associated with organisational change and resistance to change. Future research directions for the field of occupational safety are suggested highlighting the importance of drawing from research associated with organisational change.