Work involving forest logging is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. In the intermountain region of Montana and Idaho in the United States, the extreme terrain, remote location and severe weather conditions escalate risk. Although safety has improved through the development of mechanized equipment, logging tasks continue to be very hazardous. Thus, as with leading companies in other occupational sectors, logging enterprises are beginning to consider safety climate as a useful measure in their safety systems. The purpose of this study was to quantify safety climate within the logging industry of Montana, USA and to identify specific determinants of safety climate. A demographic, musculoskeletal symptom (MSS), and safety climate survey (NOSACQ-50) was administered to 743 professional loggers. Analyses were conducted to determine the association between demographic characteristics, MSS, workplace variables and the scores on five safety climate dimensions (management safety priority and ability, workers’ safety commitment, workers’ safety priority and risk non-acceptance, peer safety communication, learning and trust in safety ability, and workers’ trust in efficacy of safety systems). Variables identified as predictors of safety climate included logging system type, supervisory status, age, years of experience and reported MSS. As safety climate is a leading indicator of workplace safety, if work groups with the lowest safety climate scores can be identified, they could receive targeted safety intervention programs or resources; thereby directing resources to the groups who need it the most, without relying on lagging indicators such as injury and fatality rates.
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