In response to growing concern for occupational health and safety in the public hospital system in Costa Rica, a cross-sectional survey of 1,000 hospital-based health care workers was conducted in 1997 to collect baseline data that are being used to develop worker training programs in occupational health in Costa Rica. The objectives of this survey were to: 1) describe the safety climate within the national hospital system, 2) identify factors associated with safety, and 3) evaluate the relationship between safety climate and workplace injuries and safety practices of employees. The safety climate was found to be very poor. The two most significant predictors of safety climate were training and administrative support for safety. Safety climate was a statistically significant predictor of workplace injuries and safety practices, respectively, and there was an underreporting rate of 71% of workplace injuries. These findings underscore the need for improvement of the safety climate in the public hospital system in Costa Rica.