Increasing Occupational Health and Safety in Workplaces
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Increasing Occupational Health and Safety in Workplaces

Individual, Work and Organizational Factors

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen

Increasing Occupational Health and Safety in Workplaces argues for greater reporting of workplace accidents and injuries. It also incorporates stress as a factor in rates of accidents and injuries, and suggests ways in which workplace safety cultures can be fostered and improved. This book will be an invaluable tool for students of management, especially those with an interest in small businesses.
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Chapter 7: Safety, health and climate: taking the temperature on nurses’ work health and safety

Valerie O’Keeffe


Nurses experience significant injury and illness through interacting with people, tasks, technology and the environment to deliver care. In response, managers, practitioners and regulators are searching beyond traditional technical and management systems approaches to managing risks. Social behaviour is increasingly being recognized as influential in enacting work health and safety (WHS). Safety climate or culture evaluates perceptions across groups to explain safety outcomes, similar to taking the temperature to indicate the state of health. Like temperature, safety climate may be one symptom of organizational health. Quantitative safety climate measures are widely used, yet qualitative methods expand understanding of the WHS picture, assisting in more sensitive diagnosis to target treatment. Qualitative findings extended quantitative findings by emphasizing nurses’ identity, professionalism, patient-related care and capability development as central to enacting WHS, highlighting how these factors influence injury outcomes. Safety climate questionnaires identify areas for intervention, but qualitative analysis highlights the social and cultural dynamics involved, thereby enabling tailored interventions.

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