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Safety climate in the US federal wildland fire management community: influences of organizational, environmental, group, and individual characteristics

Posted date: September 17, 2013
Publication Year: 
2013
Authors: Black, Anne E.; McBride, Brooke Baldauf.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22(6): 850-861.

Abstract

This study examined the effects of organisational, environmental, group and individual characteristics on five components of safety climate (High Reliability Organising Practices, Leadership, Group Culture, Learning Orientation and Mission Clarity) in the US federal wildland fire management community. Of particular interest were differences between perceptions based on respondents' Incident Position. Those in supervisory positions at the ground level (Type 1 Firefighters) and those at the top (Incident Commanders and operational leads) scored significantly higher than did midlevel supervisors (Single Resource, Division Supervisors, Task Force and Strike Team Leads). This was particularly the case for High Reliability Organising Practices, which measure the degree of communication among and between units, and Group Culture, which measures the tightness of a group and the degree of psychological safety felt by members. Both components directly affect the amount and type of information flowing within and between incident units. That the critical middle links in incident organisation perceive these essential safety-related functions to be significantly lower than do individuals at other levels provides a startling empirical insight into, and powerful leverage for further improving, incident operations and resulting safety outcomes.

Citation

Black, Anne E.; McBride, Brooke Baldauf. 2013. Safety climate in the US federal wildland fire management community: influences of organizational, environmental, group, and individual characteristics. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22(6): 850-861.