AnActivelyCaringModelforOccupationalSafety - An Actively...

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An Actively Caring Model for Occupational Safety: A Field Test 1. Abstract Actively caring refers to individuals caring enough about the health and safety of others to act accordingly. Actively caring behavior in an industrial context can take the form of continually looking for environmental hazards and unsafe work practices and implementing appropriate corrective actions when unsafe conditions or behaviors are observed. Individuals presumed most likely to actively care are those high in self-esteem (i.e., feel valuable), optimism (i.e., feel they can make a difference), and group belongingness or cohesiveness (e.g., feel close to members of their work group). In order to test the actively caring model, this study assessed the relationship between self-esteem, group cohesion, and optimism with employees' self reports of willingness to actively care. In addition to self report data, we assessed the occurrence of certain actively caring behaviors in the work setting. Specifically, actively caring was measured by counting the number of "actively caring thank you cards" given or received for actively caring behaviors. Self-esteem, group cohesion, and optimism scores predicted significant and independent variance in self reports to actively care. Furthermore, those workers who either gave or received thank you cards scored significantly higher on measures of self- esteem and group cohesiveness than those workers who did not give or receive thank you cards. Implications for future research and application of the actively caring concept are discussed. Introduction Safety equipment is often uncomfortable to use and safe operating procedures are often inconvenient and time consuming to follow. Furthermore, management often gives mixed signals to employees concerning safety issues. On the one hand, employees are told not to work unsafely, but to perform more, faster, or better, and this often entails risky behavior. In addition, the chances of an employee being involved in an accident is relatively low. On average, only about four employees in 100 are involved in lost work time accidents per year (National Safety Council, 1991). Therefore, when workers fail to use safety equipment or don't follow safety procedures they are often rewarded by increased comfort, convenience, or speed of work without experiencing any aversive consequences. In other words, rewards for working unsafely are often soon and probable, whereas the penalties for working unsafely are usually delayed and improbable. One way to increase the supportive consequences for safe behaviors and the aversive consequences for unsafe behaviors would be for management to make rewards contingent on following safe work practices and penalties contingent on unsafe work behaviors. However, managers are often absent when dangerous work is accomplished.
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course BI 200 taught by Professor Potter during the Fall '11 term at Montgomery College.

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AnActivelyCaringModelforOccupationalSafety - An Actively...

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