BackgroundThere is growing interest in examining the factors affecting the reporting of errors by nurses. However, little research has been conducted into the effects of perceived patient safety culture and leader coaching of nurses on the intention to report errors.MethodsThis cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 256 nurses in the emergency departments of 18 public and private hospitals in Tabriz, northwest Iran. Participants completed the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture (HSOPSC), Coaching Behavior Scale and Intention to Report Errors’ questionnaires and the data was analyzed using multiple linear regression analysis.ResultsOverall, 43% of nurses had an intention to report errors; 50% of respondents reported that their nursing managers demonstrated high levels of coaching. With regard to patient safety culture, areas of strength and weakness were “teamwork within units” (PRR = 66.8%) and “non-punitive response errors” (PRR = 19.7%). Regression analysis findings highlighted a significant association between an intention to report errors and patient safety culture (B = 0.2, CI 95%: 0.1 to 0.3, P < 0.05), leader coaching behavior (B = 0.2, CI 95%: 0.1 to 0.3, P < 0.01) and nurses’ educational status (B = 0.8, 95% CI: − 0.1 to 1.6, P < 0.05).ConclusionsFurther research is needed to assess how interventions addressing patient safety culture and leader coaching behaviours might increase the intention to report errors.