Workers’ risk perceptions and safety behaviours during transition: measuring H&S compliance

Readman, Stephen G. (2009) Workers’ risk perceptions and safety behaviours during transition: measuring H&S compliance. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (4MB)


    The science of human behaviour has looked widely at how we behave and why. Behaviour has been found to be linked to a combination of factors. These include how the individual’s physiological condition, knowledge, skills and social networks change over time and in different situations, which in turn gives rise to a range of possible safety outcomes. Employees working in a climate of change experience a number of challenges and pressures. What this research aims to prove is whether their attitudes and
    perceptions have a bearing on their safety behaviour, and to what extent this is based upon experiences. The benefit of understanding the relationship between risk perception and safety behaviour lies in the ability to measure and
    manage it.

    This study looked at a number of factors that may be responsible for declining safety performance in a company that is expanding and exporting manufactured product into global markets. Five key areas were considered: the relationship between a worker’s safety behaviour and risk perception, whether a worker who is aware of safety procedures is likely to follow safe systems of work, if workplace culture affects an individual’s safety behaviour, whether group working leads to individuals following safe systems of work, and finally if witnessing an accident leads an individual to follow defined safety procedures. The research also looked at a number of demographics over a cross section of the workforce.

    A questionnaire data collection methodology was used to look at the key areas, and a range of statistical instruments was then applied. Analysis of the results suggested that there is a positive correlation between workers' risk perception and safety behaviour, and that those respondents who had received sufficient training were more likely to follow safe systems of work. The safety culture questions did not prove or disprove the supposition that the culture within the workplace had a bearing on safety behaviour. The analysis did, however, suggest that the respondent’s perception of the work environment had important significance as it indicated that respondents were in control of their own behaviour which was unaffected by others but improves when involved in group working. The research demographics showed that safety appears to a gender neutral issue and that length of service does not have a bearing on a person’s attitudes or beliefs towards safety. Those respondents who had witnessed accidents appeared predisposed to ask more questions of management about what they were being tasked to do, although hypothesis that they would necessarily follow safety procedures as a result was not supported.

    The benefits of the research lie in the ability to analyse what individuals think about their workplace and following safe working practices and procedures, and their understanding of both risk awareness and their own corresponding safety behaviour.

    All of these factors have a bearing on measuring health and safety compliance. It is recommended that future research focuses on predictors of unsafe behaviours and accidents when taken in the context of attitudinal or ultural aspects of the workplace.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > Learning at Work
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 11 May 2011 15:34
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:29

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...