Predicting workplace safety outcomes through subordinate and supervisor involvement in safety issues

Date of Completion

January 1997


Health Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety|Business Administration, Management|Engineering, Industrial|Psychology, Industrial




Despite repeated calls from scientists and practitioners alike, industrial and organizational psychologists have been reluctant to substantively address workplace health and safety issues. Human and financial costs would seem to mandate that social-organizational processes which may affect or minimize injury occurrence receive significant empirical attention.^ The objective of the present study was to examine the influence of subordinate involvement in safety issues upon subordinates' intentions to approach and correct co-workers engaged in unsafe acts, subordinates' likelihood of performing unsafe acts themselves, and subordinate injuries. A secondary objective of the present study was to examine the role of supervisor involvement in safety issues as a potential cross-level moderator variable in the subordinate safety involvement-subordinate safety outcome relationship. It was expected that the relationships between subordinate involvement in safety and approach intentions, unsafe behaviors and injuries would be stronger among subordinates with supervisors with high safety involvement as compared to subordinates with supervisors with low safety involvement.^ Data were collected via questionnaire from 27 units responsible for light industrial work in three organizations. Principal components analysis indicated that subordinate involvement in safety was comprised of four distinct factors: (1) safety training, (2) responsibility for safety, (3) safety importance, and (4) control of safety. Supervisor involvement in safety appeared to be a unitary construct.^ Predictions were tested through the use of moderated multiple regression. Results indicated that each of the four subordinate safety involvement factors was an effective predictor of subordinate approach intentions, unsafe behaviors or both. The subordinate safety involvement factors were relatively ineffective with respect to predicting subordinate injuries. The relationship between subordinate control of safety and two subordinate safety outcomes, (approach intentions and serious injuries) was moderated by supervisor involvement in safety, although not in the direction predicted.^ The results of this study provide preliminary evidence regarding the linear and interactive influences of subordinate and supervisor involvement in safety on workplace safety outcomes. Continuing exploration of social-organizational influences on safety is warranted. ^