Safety climate and hydrocarbon leaks: An empirical contribution to the leading-lagging indicator discussion

Published in Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 24, Issue 4, July 2011, Pages 405-411 Hydrocarbon (HC) leaks are important initiating events for major accidents in the oil and gas industry. This study explores the extent to which a safety climate indicator from a survey on working conditions undertaken in an oil and gas company (n = 2188) can be used as a leading and/or lagging indicator in relation to HC leaks on 28 offshore installations. It was found that more negative safety climate scores were associated with increasing numbers of HC leaks over a 12-month period following the survey. The safety climate indicator explained more of the variance in HC leaks than technical indicators. HC leaks in the 12-month period preceding the survey did also correlate significantly with the safety climate indicator. More HC leaks during this period were associated with worse scores on the safety climate indicator. Thus, the results support that the safety climate measure could serve as leading and lagging indicator for HC leaks. The results and their possible implications are discussed.​