Objectives Research related to safety climate in fire service organisations is limited. The researchers initiated a large-scale safety climate study in the fire service in the eastern and western United States.
Methods The researchers have completed extensive qualitative research to identify and refine the dimensions of safety climate in the fire service and to refine the model guiding the research. Pilot data were collected from 208 firefighters in Georgia. Psychometric analyses were completed to assess reliability and validity.
Results Psychometric analyses identified reliable scales. Group-level factors derived include supervisor support (α = 0.91), vertical cohesion (α = 0.92), and horizontal cohesion (α = 0.94). Key organisational factors derived include management commitment (α = 0.95) and programs/policies (α = 0.95). Other organisational factors included human resource management (α = 0.85) and incident command (α = 0.92). Safety behaviour scales were also derived, including safe work practices (α = 0.79), personal protective equipment use (α = 0.85), safety citizenship behaviour (α = 0.96), safety voice (α = 0.87) and employee rights and responsibilities (α = 0.79). Correlations between these latent factors were mostly highly significant. The only relationships not significant were between human resource management and safety citizenship behaviour and human resource management and personal protective equipment.
Discussion Research within fire service organisations has been limited. This novel work provides some initial exploration into safety climate factors within the American fire service. The initial factors, which were psychometrically determined and analysed, provide initial guidance for future safety climate research in the fire service and provide information that practitioners can use to explore safety climate within fire and emergency service organisations.
- safety climate
- fire service
- emergency services
- safety behaviour
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