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Safety citizenship behaviour: a proactive approach to risk management

Shama Didla, Kathryn Mearns and Rhona Flin

Journal of Risk Research, 2009, vol. 12, issue 3-4, 475-483

Abstract: Risk management is an integral part of industrial business due to its high environmental, human, legal and financial implications, especially in the oil and gas industry. There are two dimensions to risk management: technical mechanisms and human behaviours. The technical risk management systems have been developed highly. Organizations are now focusing on building a human risk management system, which means limiting risky behaviours and enhancing safety behaviours. It has been found that compliance with safety rules and regulations is influential in lowering the risk of accidents. However, safety researchers have realized that in order to achieve high safety levels, mere compliance is not sufficient. Organizations need individuals who are also proactive in participating and initiating improvements in safety. These types of proactive behaviours are termed as safety citizenship behaviours (SCBs). This study investigates the concept of SCB, and aims to understand the motivators and consequences for employees engaging in these types of behaviours. The study is based on 24 semi-structured interviews with supervisory-level employees in an oil and gas organization. The findings indicate that a positive safety culture was an influential factor in encouraging people to participate in SCBs, in addition to the innate human need for self-preservation. Previous research indicated that compliance behaviour bears consequences like employee role overload, stress and work--family conflict, but interestingly, SCBs did not show any of these negative effects. However, results suggested other causes for role overload and stress. These issues are discussed with relevance to the work context of the employees.

Date: 2009
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