Associations between patient safety culture and workplace safety culture in hospital settings

BMC Health Serv Res. 2024 May 2;24(1):568. doi: 10.1186/s12913-024-10984-3.


Background: Strong cultures of workplace safety and patient safety are both critical for advancing safety in healthcare and eliminating harm to both the healthcare workforce and patients. However, there is currently minimal published empirical evidence about the relationship between the perceptions of providers and staff on workplace safety culture and patient safety culture.

Methods: This study examined cross-sectional relationships between the core Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) Hospital Survey 2.0 patient safety culture measures and supplemental workplace safety culture measures. We used data from a pilot test in 2021 of the Workplace Safety Supplemental Item Set, which consisted of 6,684 respondents from 28 hospitals in 16 states. We performed multiple regressions to examine the relationships between the 11 patient safety culture measures and the 10 workplace safety culture measures.

Results: Sixty-nine (69) of 110 associations were statistically significant (mean standardized β = 0.5; 0.58 < standardized β < 0.95). The largest number of associations for the workplace safety culture measures with the patient safety culture measures were: (1) overall support from hospital leaders to ensure workplace safety; (2) being able to report workplace safety problems without negative consequences; and, (3) overall rating on workplace safety. The two associations with the strongest magnitude were between the overall rating on workplace safety and hospital management support for patient safety (standardized β = 0.95) and hospital management support for workplace safety and hospital management support for patient safety (standardized β = 0.93).

Conclusions: Study results provide evidence that workplace safety culture and patient safety culture are fundamentally linked and both are vital to a strong and healthy culture of safety.

Keywords: Health care; Healthcare; Organizational culture; Patient safety; Safety culture; Survey; Workforce safety; Workplace safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Patient Safety* / standards
  • Safety Management* / organization & administration
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Workplace*