Veatasha Dorsey

Project title: Sociodemographic Differences in Perceptions of Occupational Safety Climate

Degree: MS | Program: Occupational & Environmental Exposure Sciences (OEES) - no longer offered | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2014 | Faculty advisor: Noah S. Seixas


Objective: To examine the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, and nativity (country of birth) on worker perceptions of occupational safety climate.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed on 182 worker self-report questionnaires administered across six metals processing industries. Questionnaires surveyed occupational safety climate, as measured by 50-item Nordic Occupational Safety Climate scale (NOSACQ-50). The NOSACQ-50 tool addresses how workers perceive their management and co-worker’s commitment to safety through seven subscales (management safety priority, empowerment, justice and worker safety commitment, safety priority/risk-non acceptance, safety communication and trust in safety ability). Respondents were also asked additional demographic information, and self-reported injury experience. Means comparisons were performed to determine significant differences in associations between sociodemographics and the seven NOSACQ-50 subscales as outcome measures. Age, education, and injury experience are identified as potential effect modifiers, and were adjusted for multiple regression models.

Results: Ethnicity and nativity were associated with significant outcome differences for six out of seven safety climate (NOSACQ-50) subscales.  Black workers ranked their climate perceptions more favorably than White workers. Hispanic and foreign-born workers had the least favorable perceptions of their occupational safety climate compared to non-Hispanic and native-born workers. Educational attainment and company, while significant predictors, were not shown to substantially influence climate perceptions relative to workers’ ethnicity and nativity. The results underscore the importance of developing diagnostic tools sensitive enough to capture potential safety barriers experienced by diverse worker populations and companies.