Safety professionals periodically rely on the use of employee perception surveys to monitor and gauge safety performance in the workplace. When appropriately developed and assessed, these tools can provide invaluable information. Because of the proliferation in use of perception surveys over the years in the safety profession, this article will address the accepted practices of perception survey development, analysis and interpretation.
Use of Surveys in the Workplace by Safety Professionals
Surveys can play a vital role in safety program management. Perception surveys have been used to assess employee perceptions of the safety culture, safety climate, perceptions of the leading indicator effectiveness, incident risk perceptions and measurement of safety management system components. Surveys can also be a useful component of safety management systems. “Continuous improvement process as part of a safety management system relies on data collection” (Herrera, 2018). Surveys can play an integral part in this data collection. They can be used to determine employee needs and services that should be included as part of a wellness program (Rosen & Spaulding, 2009). Employee surveys are also a useful tool as part of a VPP program for obtaining opinion data pertaining to an organization’s safety culture (OSHA, 2008).
A literature review using the Science Direct search engine identified an increase in published research studies utilizing perception surveys from three published articles in 2000 to more than 30 in 2018. Most notably, perception surveys assessing safety culture and safety climate have accounted for a large number of the published research articles during this period.