Outcomes of Safety Climate in Trucking: a Longitudinal Framework

Abstract

Utilizing a longitudinal approach, this study examined mechanisms explaining how safety climate is associated with truck drivers’ safety behavior and outcomes. The present study also examined the top-down process of how organization-level safety climate (i.e., top management referenced) is related to group-level safety climate (i.e., supervisor referenced). Two waves (matched N = 481) of safety climate and safety behavior data (with a 2-year interval) were obtained from a large US trucking company. Days lost due to road injuries were assessed 6 months after time 2. Autoregressive, cross-lagged, and prospective effects were examined. Safety climate scores and safety behavior were moderately stable across a 2-year period. Both organization- and group-level safety climate scores were positively associated with safety behavior. The top-down association between time 1 organization-level safety climate and time 2 group-level safety climate was supported. Safety behavior mediated the relationship between group-level safety climate and future lost days due to injury. Contrary to suggestions of some prior research, the present study shows that safety climate measures may have lasting ability to predict safety behavior/outcomes in the trucking industry. In particular, the present study supported a hierarchical model in which organization-level safety climate influences safety outcomes through its influence on group-level climate. The top-down model connotes that top management efforts to instill a strong positive safety climate to affect workers’ driving behavior operate through management’s influence on the actions of the workers’ immediate supervisor.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) results for age, organization-, and group-level safety climate, and safety behavior across the matched participants (n = 481) and time 1 only participants (n = 1424) were respectively F = 20.36 (p < .01), F = .00 (p = .95), F = .01 (p = .93), and F = 2.68 (p = .10). One-way ANOVA results for age, organization-, and group-level safety climate and safety behavior across the matched participants (n = 481) and time 2 only participants (n = 4,602) were respectively F = 76.73 (p < .01), F = .65 (p = .42), F = .31 (p = .58), and F = 4.42 (p = .04; the p value was smaller than .05, but 95% confidence interval overlap was found for safety behavior across matched participants [95% CI = 4.449–4.550] and time 2 only participants [95% CI = 4.417–4.454]).

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Lee, J., Huang, Y., Sinclair, R.R. et al. Outcomes of Safety Climate in Trucking: a Longitudinal Framework. J Bus Psychol 34, 865–878 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-018-9610-5

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Keywords

  • Safety climate and safety behavior
  • Top-down process
  • Longitudinal design
  • Autoregressive effect
  • Lagged effect
  • Mediation
  • Trucking industry