Does safety climate moderate the influence of staffing adequacy and work conditions on nurse injuries?

J Safety Res. 2007;38(4):431-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2007.04.004. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Problem: Hospital nurses have one of the highest work-related injury rates in the United States. Yet, approaches to improving employee safety have generally focused on attempts to modify individual behavior through enforced compliance with safety rules and mandatory participation in safety training. We examined a theoretical model that investigated the impact on nurse injuries (back injuries and needlesticks) of critical structural variables (staffing adequacy, work engagement, and work conditions) and further tested whether safety climate moderated these effects.

Method: A longitudinal, non-experimental, organizational study, conducted in 281 medical-surgical units in 143 general acute care hospitals in the United States.

Results: Work engagement and work conditions were positively related to safety climate, but not directly to nurse back injuries or needlesticks. Safety climate moderated the relationship between work engagement and needlesticks, while safety climate moderated the effect of work conditions on both needlesticks and back injuries, although in unexpected ways. DISCUSSION AND IMPACT ON INDUSTRY: Our findings suggest that positive work engagement and work conditions contribute to enhanced safety climate and can reduce nurse injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Environment*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Nursing*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Work*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*