Workplace Safety Orientation : The Construct Validation of a New Measure
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This study investigated the ability of a new measure to accurately measure the safety orientation of employees, where safety orientation refers to an appreciation of the importance of safety and knowing how to work in a safe manner. The new measure, designed in the format of a set of ten “spot the difference” puzzles, was created as an objective method of assessing safety orientation in job applicants. Currently safety measures used have the potential for bias. Therefore this study attempts to validate an objective measure to eliminate these biases. To create a hypothetical unsafe environment, subconscious goal setting was used to preserve the safety of the participants while “priming” them for safety. By using this paradigm, the study aimed to determine whether the objective method of assessing safety orientation provided by the safety puzzles is construct valid. The study was conducted in two phases: the first uses an experimental design to allow participants to react to the proposed new measure in a situation which would hypothetically influence their performance, and the second uses a self-report questionnaire to allow for a comparison of the potential new measure to already validated measures. 60 undergraduate students from the University of Canterbury participated in the study, with 58 used for data analysis. The results show that one hypothesis is supported, with participants in the safety-primed environment finding more safety-related differences before neutral differences, in comparison to a control group. This suggests that the measure is not a valid measure as it stands currently, but could be with more research into the variables, sample population, and the actual images themselves. The study provides useful insight into solving a current issue within workplace safety literature. Implications, limitations, and future research are discussed.