Differences in safety climate between hospital personnel and naval aviators

Hum Factors. 2003 Summer;45(2):173-85. doi: 10.1518/hfes.


We compared results of safety climate survey questions from health care respondents with those from naval aviation, a high-reliability organization. Separate surveys containing a subset of 23 similar questions were conducted among employees from 15 hospitals and from naval aviators from 226 squadrons. For each question a "problematic response" was defined that suggested an absence of a safety climate. Overall, the problematic response rate was 5.6% for naval aviators versus 17.5% for hospital personnel (p < .0001). The problematic response was 20.9% in high-hazard hospital domains such as emergency departments and operating rooms. Problematic response among hospital workers was up to 12 times greater than that among aviators on certain questions. Although further research on safety climate in health care is warranted, hospitals may need to make substantial changes to achieve a safety climate consistent with the status of high-reliability organizations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Aviation / standards*
  • Data Collection
  • Hospital Administration / standards*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Safety Management
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States