EMS providers' perceptions of safety climate and adherence to safe work practices

Laura J. Eliseo, Kate A. Murray, Laura F. White, Sophia Dyer, Patricia A. Mitchell, William G. Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. Occupational injuries are an important source of morbidity for emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Previous work has shown that employee perceptions of an organization's commitment to safety (i.e., safety climate) correlate with adherence to safe practices. Objective. To assess the association between perceived safety climate and compliance with safety procedures in an urban EMS system with >100,000 calls/year. Methods. EMS providers were issued a self-administered survey that included questions on demographics, years of experience, perceived safety climate, and adherence to safety procedures. Safety climate was assessed with a 20-item validated instrument. Adherence to safety procedures was assessed with a nine-item list of safety behaviors. Strict adherence to safety procedures was defined as endorsing "agree" or "strongly agree" on 80% of items. The effect of safety climate on compliance with safe practices was estimated using multiple logistic regression. Results. One hundred ninety-six of 221 providers (89%) completed surveys; 74% were male; the median age was 36-40 years; and the median amount of experience was 8 years. One hundred twenty-seven of 196 respondents (65%) reported strict adherence to safe work practice. Factor analysis confirmed the original six-factor grouping of questions; frequent safety-related feedback/training was significantly associated with safe practices (odds ratio [[OR]] = 2.14, 95% confidence interval [[CI]] = 1.01-4.51). Conclusion. EMS workers perceiving a high degree of perceived safety climate was associated with twofold greater odds of self-reported level of strict adherence to safe work practices. Frequent safety-related feedback/training was the one dimension of safety climate that had the strongest association with adherence to safe workplace behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • emergency medical services
  • safety climate
  • workplace safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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