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Antecedents of Safety Performance Behaviours: A Review

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Management
Wordcount: 2051 words Published: 16th Apr 2018

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Occupational safety is a vital issue that is affecting people’s lives and also countries economies dramatically. As the necessity of preventing the occupational accidents and illnesses occur, more researches are conducted to understand and improve the conditions that cause the hazards. (Neal & Griffin, 2006) In this essay, the antecedents of performance safety behaviours would be critically reviewed.

Work safety and the accident measures are vital for preventing the injuries and the occupation related illnesses. According to the data of HSE (Health and Safety Executive) Statistics 2009/2010; in UK, 152 people died at workplace 1,3 million worker are suffering from occupational based illnesses , 354 430 worker had injured (reportable and other injuries). The accidents and occupational illnesses also have an economic effect as 28,5 million work days were lost in total based on the injuries and illnesses. (The Health and Safety Executive, UK, 2010)

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The dramatic effect of occupational accidents and illnesses on human and economy forces for new precautions and further researches to improve the conditions that would affect the health of the workers. According to Fernández-Muñiz, Montes-Peón & Vázquez-Ordás (2007) , for recovering from the recent situation in occupational injuries and illnesses, safety culture has an increasing interest by several fields. According to the research they have conducted on 455 Spanish companies, they have found out that the managers in the companies has direct and indirect vital roles in the means of providing a safety culture which effects the workers safe behaviour. Managers can affect the workers by founding a management system which would enforce the safety regulations and activities. Managers can also guide them to desired behaviour that would help them to improve a safer work environment.

Safety culture is an important concept that comes to life after the Chernobyl disaster although there were studies examining the companies in the means of the effects of the policies, behaviours and precautions to their safety performance. One of the oldest theory is Heinrich’s Domino theory (1930s) which is based on the five dominos that would fall in an accident sequence as the first one is social environment conducive to accidents and the others are fault of person. Even though lots of research had been conducted after this theory, safety culture is not totally clear in the means of understanding and implementation. Despite the organizational differences defined by industrial, regional, national, technological, companies experiences, managements view on safety culture, legal regulations, there are still common points that would define an efficient safety culture. In a successful safety culture, the workers should be aware of all the risks in their work and also they should be know and practice all the precautionary measures for their own safety. The workers also should be cautious about the new potential risks and inform the management about practices and developments.(Ostrom, Wilhesen & Kaplan,1993)

Safety Performance behaviours are strongly related with safety motivation and knowledge. Psychological and group safety climates are also has vital effects on the safety performance behaviours however group safety climate has the strongest association in the means of accidents and injuries. (Christian, Bradley, Wallace& Burke, 2009)

Neal and Griffin, (2006) argues that occupational performance is an efficient way to examine the relationship between safety behaviour and safety climate. Neal and Griffin, (2002) had divided the safety behaviour in to two as safety participation and safety compliance. Safety participation is related with the performance such as safety trainings, interaction with the other workers in the safety concerns, that is not particularly related with the workers own safety however sustain an organizational culture to improve safety at the workplace. Safety compliance is related with the workers performance that is needed to sustain the occupational safety such as wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) and comply with the organizational regulations.

Christian et all., (2009) categorize antecedents as person related (proximal and distal antecedents) or situation related (safety climate and leadership) . Safety knowledge and safety motivation are determined as the proximal antecedents.

Safety knowledge is important in the means of the personal fulfilment of the safety rules and actions. (Neal & Griffin, 2002) As knowledge has a positive connection with performance behaviour it would also improve the success of the safety performance because the worker who had the related knowledge would behave safer. (Christian et all., 2009)

Safety motivation is vital in the means of the workers motivation to fulfil safety rules and required actions. (Neal & Griffin, 2002). Christian et all.(2009) assumes safety motivation positively effect the improvement in the number of accidents.

Clarke and Robertson (2005), used the big five personality factors to examine their relation with the accidents. According to their research, low agreeableness and conscientiousness were found as related with the accident involvement. Even though highly extraverted workers might be considered as more likely to have accidents, the relation between extraversion and work place accidents were found invalid. The workers who have higher neuroticism are more likely to have problems in risky situations than the others and also because they could easily get demotivated they are more likely to have experience accidents.

Christian et all., (2009) also used the big five personality factors to examine their relation with the accidents. By considering the conscientious workers features as being more responsible, dependable, and also more positively related to motivation than the other workers who has lower conscientiousness levels, they are less likely to have occupational accidents. Also as Clarke and Robertson, (2005) had founded, Christian et. all, (2009) suggests the workers who have higher neuroticism would have lower safety performance behaviour and higher chances to encounter to an accident.

Locus of control is one of the big five personality factors. It is one of the most researched areas in psychology with self-esteem and neuroticism. (Judge, Erez, Bono & Thoresen, 2002) The workers who have internal locus of control are more concerned in the safety issues where as the workers who has external locus of control are less likely to concern the safety. (Christian et. All, 2009)

Propensity for risk taking is one of the big five personality factors that concerns about the reason why some people decide to perform more risky behaviours than the others. To examine the reasons that would cause the risky behaviours would enable the management to found better working risk management systems. According to the research, the tendency of risk consciousness is higher than it was before over the job markets not only about the financial risks but also the occupational accidents. (Nicholson, Soane, Fenton-O’Creevy, & Willman,2005)

Safety climate can be defined as a concept that includes the safety policies, strategies and actions for providing the safety in the organisation. Otherwise safety culture is related with the beliefs and values that are shared by workers in the means of their reactions on the safety risks and management systems. The researches on safety climate generally concentrate on the main configuration of safety climate and also examines the connection between safety climate and outcome variables. Several researches were carried out to describe the safety climate hence they couldn’t compromise on the main scope of safety climate as they provide an extensive scale of various main configurations. (Neal & Griffin, 2002)

As the former researches refers to a considerable connection between safety climate and accident involvement, (Clark, 2006) argues that safety climate has a small relation with occupational accidents even though it is successful in estimating the safety performance behaviours.

Organizational safety climate has more effect than the individuals safety climate in safety performance as it consists of collective concepts in the group than individual ones.(Christian et all., 2009)

Leadership is a situation related antecedent. Lately some researches are conducted in the means of examining the relationship between the leadership and safety climate which might have an effect on accidents and safe behaviour. Leader – worker relations has a vital effect on the workers actions. The workers who have high-quality relationships with their leaders are more likely to have more positive safety behaviours because the leader and the worker would have connected to solve problems together. (Hofmann, Morgeson & Gerras 2003) Also workers who have positive interactions with their leaders are more likely to respond their leaders positively then their colloquies. (Christian et. all, 2009)

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Every year a high number of workers are affected by the occupational accidents and illnesses which forces to research occupational safety to find solutions to improve the current situation. The managers have an important affect in the organizational culture to change the workers safety behaviours. (Fernández-Muñiz et all, 2007) Also workers should be aware of the all risks in their work and know how to prevent them. (Ostrom et. all, 1993) Safety motivation and safety knowledge is important for preventing the accidents. (Christian et. all, 2009) As we conduct the big five factor model to occupational safety behaviours, it has been found out that, low agreeableness and conscientiousness are related with the accident involvement (Clarke & Robinson, 2005) Also the workers who has higher neuroticism are more open to the accidents. (Christian et. all, 2009) Organizational safety climate has also a positive affect on the workers safety behaviours. (Christian et. all, 2009)


Christian, M.S., Bradley, J.C., Wallace, J.C., Burke, M.J.,( 2009), Workplace Safety: A Meta-Analysis of the Roles of Person and Situation Factors , Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(5), 1103-1127

Clark, S., Robertson, I.T., (2005), A meta- analytic review of the Big Five personality factors and accident involvement in occupational non-occupational settings. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78(3), 355-376

Clark, S., (2006), The relationship between safety climate and safety performance: A meta-analytic review, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 11(4), 315-327

Fernández-Muñiz ,B., Montes-Peón, J.M., Vázquez-Ordás, C.J., (2007) ,Safety culture: Analysis of the causal relationships between its key dimensions, Journal of Safety Research, 38, 627-641

Hofmann, D.A., Morgeson, F.P. & Gerras, S.J., (2003), Climate as a moderator of the relationship between leader-member exchange and content specific citizenship: Safety climate as an exemplar, Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(1), 170-178

Neal,A., Griffin ,M.A. (2002), Safety Climate and Safety Behaviour , Australian Journal of Management, 27, 67-76

Neal, A., Griffin, M.A., (2006), A study of the lagged relationships among safety climate, safety motivation, and accidents at the individual and group levels, Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 946-953

Nicholson, N., Soane, E., Fenton-O’Creevy, M., & Willman, P.(2005), Personality and domain-specific risk taking, Journal of Risk Research, 8(2), 157-176

Ostrom, L., Wilhelmsen, C. and Kaplan, B. (1993) Assessing Safety Culture, Nuclear Safety, 34(2),163-172

The Health and Safety Statistics 2009/10,HSE 2010, http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh0910.pdf

Judge, T.A., Erez, A., Bono, J.E., & Thoresen, C.J., (2002), Are measures of self-esteem, neuroticism, locus of control, and generalized self-efficacy indicators of a common core construct?, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(3), 693-710


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