LSCAT: Changing Attitudes and Systems in Safety Management
Submitting InstitutionLoughborough University
Unit of AssessmentBusiness and Management Studies
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services: Business and Management
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences: Psychology
Summary of the impact
Developed from Loughborough University research into the employee impact
of safety management, the Loughborough Safety Climate Assessment Toolkit
(LSCAT) has helped change attitudes and raise awareness across a variety
of industry sectors. Freely available in the public domain, it has
facilitated the assessment of safety climate as part of a process of
culture change and wider management system enhancement. Beneficiaries
during the impact period have included the Royal College of Nursing and
the NHS, which have used the tool as a "fundamental" means of benchmarking
best practice, and logistics giant DHL Supply Chain, which has used it to
identify specific areas for improvement in its safety management systems.
Safety at work is a key concern to employers, employees and regulators,
yet there is still no universally recognised definition or model of
employee impact on safety management. From 1980 to 2000 the collaborative
efforts of industry, researchers and regulatory bodies saw considerable
progress towards understanding safety climate (workers' attitudes) and
safety culture (their underlying beliefs and convictions) in "real"
working environments. One outcome of this work in the research community
was an appreciation that analytical tools could be developed to
investigate employees' opinions about safety climate and that information
could be used to encourage and maintain safe practice.
Original research in the area of safety climate assessment was conducted
at Loughborough University between 1996 and 2000 by Professor Alistair
Cheyne (in post from 1993 to present) and Professor Sue Cox (in post from
1984 to 2001). This work, which explored the architecture of employee
attitudes to safety, led to the development of a dedicated analytical tool
for assessing safety climate.
By combining a theoretical evaluation of the safety climate literature
with a practical consideration of organisational issues, Cheyne and
colleagues developed an assessment of safety climate and modelled the main
elements of safety attitudes in relation to individuals' activity in
safety issues [3.1]. The resulting model highlighted that the
strength of employees' attitudes played a pivotal role in explaining
levels of safety activity, confirming the importance of management
commitment in organisations with well-developed safety cultures [3.1].
Given the results, this work was developed to explore the architecture of
attitudes at different employment levels [3.2].
Cheyne and Cox went on to take the importance of different attitude
dimensions further by incorporating such models into the assessment of
safety culture and climate in offshore environments. A set of measures was
designed to assess the tangible outputs of an organisation's safety
culture — for example, how employees might perceive and describe the
importance given to safety issues and how local arrangements might seem to
reflect this. The research used a number of assessment methods, including
questionnaires, focus groups, behavioural observations and situational
audits, to describe and explore the efficacy of health and safety
management systems. [3.3]
This led to the development of the Loughborough Safety Climate Assessment
Toolkit (LSCAT) [3.4]. Initially created for the oil and gas
industry, LSCAT provides an assessment technique that includes practical
tools for assessing safety climate, with the overall aim of aiding the
promotion of a positive safety culture in an organisational environment.
It was designed to be used periodically to examine changes in safety
climate over time and underwent a lengthy development process as part of a
joint industry project, `The measurement of safety climate in safety
cases', which included piloting, revision and follow-up use with Chevron
UK, Chevron Gulf of Mexico, Mobil North Sea and Oryx UK [3.5].
Loughborough's body of work in this field was among the first to use
explicative modelling to explain the relationships between safety attitude
variables. It was also among the first to employ a confirmatory approach
to understanding the structure of safety climate offshore.
References to the research
3.1. Cheyne, A.J., Cox, S.J., Oliver, A. and Tomas, J.M.,
''Modelling Safety Climate in the Prediction of Levels of Safety
Activity'', Work & Stress, 12(3), 1998, 255-271, DOI:
10.1080/02678379808256865 (impact factor 3, 7th of 72 journals
in applied psychology (quartile 1) and continues to be cited (total
3.2. Cheyne, A.J.T., Tomas, J.M., Cox, S. and Oliver, A,
''Perceptions of Safety Climate at Different Employment Levels'', Work
& Stress, 17(1), 2003, 21-37, DOI:
10.1080/02678373.2003.10160665 impact factor 3, 7th of 72
journals in applied psychology (quartile 1)).
3.3. Cox, S.J. and Cheyne, A.J., ''Assessing Safety Culture in
Offshore Environments'', Safety Science, 34, 2000, 111-129, DOI:
10.1016/S0925-7535(00)00009-6 (impact factor 1.402, 19th of 77
journals in operations research and management science (quartile 1) and
continues to be cited (total citations 255)).
3.5. UK Health and Safety Executive. Joint Industry Project: The
measurement of safety climate in the assurance of offshore safety cases.
(HSE ref: project 3389). Cited in Davies, F., Spencer, R. and Dooley, K.
(2001). Summary Guide to Safety Climate Tools. HSE Offshore Technology
Report 1999/063, pp. 28-29.
The quality and importance of the work is recognised in the calibre of
journals and the number of citations.
Details of the impact
The academic safety science community and many organisations now accept
that the inclusion of an assessment of safety climate within a process of
continuous improvement can be a precursor to culture change and the wider
development of safety management systems. LSCAT has enabled this process
by changing attitudes to and raising awareness of the value of safety
Since its development LSCAT has been available free of charge in the
public domain. This has facilitated its continued use both with and
without the direct involvement of the research team, as has been
illustrated by examples of its successful application throughout the
LSCAT's use since 2009 by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has resulted
in greater awareness of employee safety within the NHS. The tool was
brought to the wider attention of the healthcare community through a study
carried out by the Project Manager and Programme Manager for Evaluating
and Improving at the RCN's Learning and Development Institute. They set
out to consider whether the idea of safety climate was a measurable
concept that could be used to support a more positive culture for safety
in a healthcare environment. LSCAT was tested in a large acute services
teaching trust that at the time provided services to more than 600,000
people living in eastern England. The study sought responses from
employees from all staff groups - including nursing, medicine, management,
clerical, scientific, technical and ancillary staff and allied health
professionals — to the questionnaire element of the original toolkit.
The results showed LSCAT was easy to apply and well understood by
respondents. The Learning and Development Institute's Project Manager and
Programme Manager, who had to make only minor modifications to the tool
for their purposes, noted: "[It] is a valuable, user-friendly instrument
for measuring safety climate in an NHS healthcare setting and can be used
effectively in a range of care settings." Explaining the benefits further,
they concluded: "Regular measurement of staff perceptions of safety
climate provide organisations with a way to review periodically the state
of safety at a particular point in time. The most fundamental way of doing
this is to use the revised safety climate questionnaire."
The study demonstrated how the tool could help organisations target their
safety initiatives in a range of specific areas requiring improvement. As
a result, the questionnaire was made available as a web-based application
as part of a range of tools on the RCN's Quality Improvement Hub [5.1,
5.2]. Designed to be a fully integrated element of systems to
facilitate the benchmarking of best practice in safety, it has
subsequently been used by a number of hospitals in both the acute and
mental health sectors. [5.3]
LSCAT's use in industry has led not only to greater awareness but to
enhanced management practice and policies. For example, in 2008 a division
of DHL Supply Chain, Tradeteam, used a slightly revised version of the
original questionnaire to benchmark safety climate with regard to various
locations and functions within the organisation and to relate the
resulting perception measures to other safety performance metrics. The
exercise, carried out in collaboration with the research team, highlighted
disparities consistent with other data gathered on accidents and
incidents, including a finding that depots with poor safety records also
reported poorer attitudes across the range of safety climate measures.
Other key insights to emerge included a link between incident frequency
and perceptions and the importance of management and supervisor commitment
in helping to mitigate incidents.
Tradeteam subsequently drew on the findings to implement a variety of
safety-related improvements. Its National Health and Safety Development
Manager has remarked: "The results of the work helped inform the
organisation on where and to whom specific improvement initiatives should
be targeted." [5.4] The resulting interventions were later rolled
out over the company's entire supply chain business and informed the
development of its organisational safety system.
The success of the Tradeteam assessment encouraged DHL Supply Chain to
apply the tool across all of its supply chain operations in 2010. Once
again carried out with the direct input of the research team, this
exercise gathered more than 17,000 responses, representing nearly 40% of
DHL Supply Chain's employees in all business units (including automotive,
consumer retail, fashion, food retail, healthcare, industrial, Ireland,
non-food retail and Tradeteam). This provided further detailed analysis of
a range of operations and facilitated the assessment of the initiatives
initially applied in the Tradeteam division.
Sources to corroborate the impact
The following sources of corroboration can be made available at request:
5.1. Currie, Cooper, Watterson (2008) Resources for Learning &
Improving. RCN Learning & Development. Safety Climate Assessment Tool:
Briefing Sheet for Senior Managers.
5.2. Currie, L (2008) Introducing the Safety Climate Assessment
5.3. Currie L, Watterson L (2010) Measuring the safety climate in
NHS organisations. Nursing Standard. 24, 24, 35-38. Date of
acceptance: December 9 2009.
5.4. Letter of corroboration from National Health and Safety
Development Manager, Tradeteam, DHL Supply Chain.