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Leadership and Safety Excellence: The Experience of Hospital Support Service Workers

Transforming Health Care

ISBN: 978-1-83982-957-4, eISBN: 978-1-83982-956-7

Publication date: 26 October 2020


Occupational injury in the health care sector in the United States rates among the highest of all industries. Specific to hospital support service workers (e.g., Food & Nutrition, Environmental Services), studies have shown that injury rates for support service workers tend to be among the highest of hospital personnel, and yet there is a shortage of research investigating the safety climate of these workers. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine safety perceptions of support service workers. Surveys were used to measure safety climate leadership factors (per the AHRQ's Survey of Patient Safety Culture) to determine if they are related to individual safety perceptions, as well as ratings of work unit safety. Following established safety climate research, we examined the role of the work environment (e.g., supervisor support and work unit culture) on safety perceptions. We found that both supervisor and organizational safety leadership are positively related to individual safety perceptions and supervisor support. Organizational safety leadership and work unit culture were positively related to work unit safety rating. Our findings demonstrate that the antecedent factors and pathways that promote a positive safety climate among health care providers functions in a similar manner for support service workers. These findings contribute to a better understanding of occupational safety of this understudied work group and provide evidence to hospital administration that developing a strong safety climate among support service workers is not entirely different from what is required to promote a robust safety climate across an organization.



McCaughey, D., McGhan, G. and Yarbrough Landry, A. (2020), "Leadership and Safety Excellence: The Experience of Hospital Support Service Workers", Hefner, J.L., Al-Amin, M., Huerta, T.R., Aldrich, A.M. and Griesenbrock, T.E. (Ed.) Transforming Health Care (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 157-175.



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