Organizational safety: which management practices are most effective in reducing employee injury rates?

J Safety Res. 2002 Summer;33(2):259-76.


Problem: While several management practices have been cited as important components of safety programs, how much does each incrementally contribute to injury reduction? This study examined the degree to which six management practices frequently included in safety programs (management commitment, rewards, communication and feedback, selection, training, and participation) contributed to a safe work environment for hospital employees.

Method: Participants were solicited via telephone to participate in a research study concerning hospital risk management. Sixty-two hospitals provided data concerning management practices and employee injuries.

Results: Overall, the management practices reliably predicted injury rates. A factor analysis performed on the management practices scale resulted in the development of six factor scales. A multiple regression performed on these factor scales found that proactive practices reliably predicted injury rates. Remedial measures acted as a suppressor variable.

Discussion: While most of the participating hospitals implemented reactive practices (fixing problems once they have occurred), what differentiated the hospitals with low injury rates was that they also employed proactive measures to prevent accidents.

Impact on industry: The most effective step that hospitals can take is in the front-end hiring and training of new personnel. They should also ensure that the risk management position has a management-level classification. This study also demonstrated that training in itself is not adequate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Management
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Safety Management / standards