The purpose of an employee safety perception survey is to measure the perceptions that employees, at all levels of the organization, have concerning key factors of an organization's safety management system. These surveys often provide additional vital information that should help management to make improvements to the organization's safety process. At a minimum, the results can suggest to management "the emperor has no clothes."

The fundamental management process is to allocate available resources to a productive end. From a practical perspective, management needs to identify how best to allocate resources to ensure the lowest possible frequency and severity of injuries to employees. Research suggests that it is the safety management system that has the most significant impact on injury rates (Carder, 2003; O'Toole, 2002). Efforts within organizations that include key elements from OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) have demonstrated lower injury rates and often times higher productivity.

Zohar (1980, 2005) used employee questionnaires to identify the relative importance of specific safety factors in several industrial settings in Israel. Bailey (1997) used the Minnesota Safety Perception survey to identify factors that positively contributed to injury reduction in the railroad industry as well as in several other industries. In his follow-up study, the results showed that, at facilities with low injury rates, the employees' perceptions of critical safety factors were highly positive. In contrast, at facilities with relatively high injury rates, the employees' perceptions of those same critical safety factors were low.

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