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The impact of communication on safety behavior of employees

Lümker, L.H. (2012) The impact of communication on safety behavior of employees.

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Abstract:Workplace safety is an important focus for a lot of organizations, but despite this focus there are still many industrial accidents. Therefore organizations invest in safety and subsequently in communication plans and resources. That investment is justified by previous research which states that communication is an important factor that influences safety behavior of employees and therefore safety performance. This safety behavior can be divided into safety participation and safety compliance. Previous research on safety behavior was mainly focused on the investigation of safety climate and its influence on safety behavior of employees. With this communication was one of the safety climate variables that had a positive effect on safety behavior. However, it has not been indicated what specific aspect(s) of communication affect(s) safety behavior. Therefore the following research question was stated: which aspect(s) of communication affect(s) safety behavior of employees? This study contributes to the research field by distinguishing communication in six aspects: communication climate, organizational integration and perspective, personal feedback, media quality, horizontal and safety communication and relationship to superiors. Along with the attitude of the employee was examined which aspect(s) of communication have an effect on safety behavior and consequently safety performance. Employees of a large industrial organization (N=213) were surveyed to determine which of the six aspects of communication and the safety attitude items were related to safety behavior in terms of safety participation and safety compliance. Included in the survey were demographic questions and five open ended questions to discover a deeper meaning behind the safety behavior of the employees. The effects of the communication aspects, safety attitude items and safety behavior were tested via a series of hypothesis. The research shows that organizational integration and perspective emerge as significant predictor of safety participation. Media quality as significant predictor for safety compliance and horizontal safety information influenced both safety participation and safety compliance. Also, the communication aspects have a positive effect on the safety attitude items which partly effect safety behavior. The open ended questions revealed that employees hands were often injured, and falling or crushing were the main courses of accidents. Respondents indicated that especially the communication aspects, media quality and relationship to their superior were seen as important aspects for a positive safety communication. It was also examined whether different groups gave different answers, this was not the case. Implications of the research to increase safety behavior were discussed as well as the contribution of this research to practice and science. However, some limitations of the present study should be considered by the interpretation of the results. For example, this study was conducted by only one company in one safety environment and in one country and the sample primarily consisted of men. Future research is needed to investigate more about the impact of communication on safety behavior and to improve the external validity of the results.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/64596
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