Defining academic safety culture: A national study
Gonzalez, Megan E.
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In recent years, safety culture (the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, social and technical practices, policies, and perceptions of individuals in an organization that influence the opportunity for accidents to occur) has been identified as an important contributor in terms of lab safety as well as preventing and predicting accidents. By comparing multiple tools utilized throughout industry, we have identified 24 common critical factors involved in the development of safety cultures in industry. This study aims to apply 23 of these factors to academic research labs in a mixed methods approach in order to determine their impacts on an overall culture of academic laboratory safety and to help provide guidelines for the establishment of proactive safety cultures in chemistry. The mixed methods approach includes exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, multi-group confirmatory factor analysis, thematic analysis of covariance included in the confirmatory factor analysis, and thematic analysis of free responses. Results of all analyses will be used to identify the factors impacting academic safety culture, compare these factors to that of those identified in industry, create a model of academic safety culture and to create a definition of academic safety culture. To narrow the scope of this study, participants include non-undergraduate researchers, staff, and faculty who work in academic chemistry laboratories at doctoral universities in the United States that have achieved R1, R2, or R3 Carnegie Classification status. These departments should offer a doctoral degree in the five basic disciplines of chemistry - analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.