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Special Issue "Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2023 | Viewed by 21632

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marco Giovanni Mariani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Interests: work psychology; industrial psychology; human resource management; human resource development; performance management; safety; questionnaire; measurement; training and development; social psychology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Dina Guglielmi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Full Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Interests: job related stress; psychosocial risk factors; occupational health; career development; competences development and evaluations
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of IJERPH, we are organizing a Special Issue about the psychosocial factors and processes associated with safety in the workplace. IJERPH is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes manuscripts in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health.

Existing data on accidents and safety show that we have much to gain from a deeper understanding of the factors that affect workplace safety. In recent years, researchers have been allocating increasing attention to workplace safety, as well as psychosocial factors and the processes involved. Beus et al. (2016) defined an integrated safety model, which summarized the existing knowledge on safety theories. This model highlighted how personal resources (e.g., cognitive, emotional), safety knowledge, safety motivations, and social factors in the workplace have an essential role in safe/unsafe work behaviors and the occurrence of accidents.

Based on several theoretical models that support the importance of non-technical perspectives, the aim of this Special Issue is to study the underlying psychosocial processes of safety behaviors, by exploring ways in which safety performance, and the related level of safety, can be enhanced by working on psychosocial factors such as perceptions, attitudes, motivations, skills, and emotions.

We invite the submission of high-quality conceptual and empirical papers. We would appreciate the use of a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Lastly, we encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and perspectives. We also welcome high-quality case studies of psycho-social safety issues explored in real contexts. Suggested themes might relate to, but are certainly not limited to, safety climate and culture, motivation, safety participation, safety leadership, risk perceptions, safety training and assessment, and non-technical skills and sustainability.

Assoc. Prof. Marco Giovanni Mariani
Prof. Dina Guglielmi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human error
  • Leadership
  • Mindful organizing
  • Motivation
  • Non-Technical skills
  • Resilience
  • Risk Perception
  • Safety Citizenship
  • Safety Climate
  • Safety Performance
  • Safety (and risks) of new technologies
  • Safety training

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Integrating Human Barriers in Human Reliability Analysis: A New Model for the Energy Sector
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052797 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
Human reliability analysis (HRA) is a major concern for organizations. While various tools, methods, and instruments have been developed by the scientific community to assess human error probability, few of them actually consider human factors impact in their analysis. The active role that [...] Read more.
Human reliability analysis (HRA) is a major concern for organizations. While various tools, methods, and instruments have been developed by the scientific community to assess human error probability, few of them actually consider human factors impact in their analysis. The active role that workers have in shaping their own performance should be taken into account in order to understand the causal factors that may lead to errors while performing a task and identifying which human factors may prevent errors from occurring. In line with this purpose, the aim of this study is to present a new methodology for the assessment of human reliability. The proposed model relies on well-known HRA methodologies (such as SPAR-H and HEART) and integrates them in a unified framework in which human factors assume the role of safety barriers against human error. A test case of the new method was carried out in a logistics hub of an energy company. Our results indicate that human factors play a significant role in preventing workers from making errors while performing tasks by reducing human error probability. The limits and implications of the study are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Disengaging Leadership Scale (DLS): Evidence of Initial Validity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062824 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2965
Abstract
The main goal of this study was to develop a scale for measuring Disengaging Leader-ship (DEL) behaviors and to provide preliminary evidence for the validity of this new instrument. Developing such new measures is needed given current concepts that tap into negative leadership [...] Read more.
The main goal of this study was to develop a scale for measuring Disengaging Leader-ship (DEL) behaviors and to provide preliminary evidence for the validity of this new instrument. Developing such new measures is needed given current concepts that tap into negative leadership behaviors are rarely based on a sound theoretical framework. Drawing on the core premises of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) regarding employees’ basic needs and, more specifically, building on its more recent extended framework, including employees’ needs frustration, we derived four dimensions that constitute Disengaging Leadership behaviors (coercive disengaging leadership, isolating disengaging leadership, eroding disengaging leadership, and demotivating disengaging leadership). To examine the factor structure and psychometric properties of the new Disengaging Leadership Scale (DLS), Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), and reliability analyses were conducted. Results supported the hypothesized four-factor structure of the DLS and showed that this factorial structure remained invariant across employees occupying blue-collar, white-collar, or managerial positions. Finally, we successfully tested convergent, divergent, and construct validity of DLS. We established that DEL is associated with employees’ needs frustration and with their experiences of emotional exhaustion. It is concluded that the DLS has sound psychometric properties and can be used in future research on the dark side of leadership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
Article
Safety-Specific Passive-Avoidant Leadership and Safety Compliance among Chinese Steel Workers: The Moderating Role of Safety Moral Belief and Organizational Size
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2700; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052700 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
Despite the documented relationship between active-approaching leadership behaviors and workplace safety, few studies have addressed whether and when passive-avoidant leadership affects safety behavior. This study examined the relationship between two types of safety-specific passive-avoidant leadership, i.e., safety-specific leader reward omission (SLRO) and safety-specific [...] Read more.
Despite the documented relationship between active-approaching leadership behaviors and workplace safety, few studies have addressed whether and when passive-avoidant leadership affects safety behavior. This study examined the relationship between two types of safety-specific passive-avoidant leadership, i.e., safety-specific leader reward omission (SLRO) and safety-specific leader punishment omission (SLPO), and safety compliance, as well as the moderating effects of an individual difference (safety moral belief) and an organizational difference (organizational size) in these relationships. These predictions were tested on a sample of 704 steel workers in China. The results showed that, although both SLRO and SLPO are negatively related to safety compliance, SLPO demonstrated a greater effect than SLRO. Moreover, we found that steel workers with high levels of safety moral belief were more resistant to the negative effects of SLRO and SLPO on safety compliance. Although steel workers in large enterprises were more resistant to the negative effects of SLPO than those in small enterprises, the SLRO-compliance relationship is not contingent upon organizational size. The current study enriched the safety leadership literature by demonstrating the detrimental and relative effects of two types of safety-specific passive-avoidant leadership on safety compliance and by identifying two boundary conditions that can buffer these relationships among steel workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
The Role of Organizational Support in Non-Technical Dimensions of Safety: A Case Study in the Automotive Sector
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052685 - 07 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Background. Historically, the most important approach to safety management consisted of controlling variability and error in human performance. This assumption was questioned by the changes of the economy and technology, which introduced higher levels of unpredictability and uncertainty. Starting from this consideration, [...] Read more.
Background. Historically, the most important approach to safety management consisted of controlling variability and error in human performance. This assumption was questioned by the changes of the economy and technology, which introduced higher levels of unpredictability and uncertainty. Starting from this consideration, our research aimed to investigate the issue of organizational safety from the dual perspective of individuals and organizations, with the aim of highlighting the weight that both actors have in the co-construction of a safe workplace. Method. A cross-sectional study was performed among workers of a multinational company of the automotive sector, through an online self-report questionnaire. Results. The results highlight the key role of two variables investigated, linked to safety management: organizational mindfulness and organizational citizenship behavior for safety. The first seems to be a partial mediator in the relationship between organizational support and affective commitment; the second, instead, seems to be a complete mediator between organizational support and safety ownership, otherwise non directly related. Conclusions. This study confirms the importance of considering both individual and organizational contribute to safety management in organizations, emphasizing the existing link between safety promotion and employee’s motivation and their personal involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Simulation as a Training Method for Electricity Workers’ Safety
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041591 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1765
Abstract
Background: Simulation is a useful method to improve learning and increase the safety of work operations, both for technical and non-technical skills. However, the observation, assessment, and feedback about these skills is particularly complex, because the process needs expert observers, and the feedback [...] Read more.
Background: Simulation is a useful method to improve learning and increase the safety of work operations, both for technical and non-technical skills. However, the observation, assessment, and feedback about these skills is particularly complex, because the process needs expert observers, and the feedback could be judgmental and ineffective. Therefore, a structured process to develop effective simulation scenarios and tools for the observation and feedback about performance is crucial. To this aim, in the present research, we developed a training model for electricity distribution workers, based on high fidelity simulation. Methods: We designed simulation scenarios based on real cases, developed, and tested a set of observation and rating forms for the non-technical skills behavioral markers, and we tracked behaviors based on non-verbal cues (physiological and head orientation parameters). Results: The training methodology proved to be highly appreciated by the participants and effective in fostering reflexivity. An in-depth analysis of physiological indexes and behaviors compliant to safety procedures revealed that breath rate and heart rate patterns commonly related with mindful and relaxed states were correlated with compliant behaviors, and patterns typical of stress and anxiety were correlated with non-compliant behaviors. Conclusions: a new training method based on high fidelity simulation, addressing both technical and non-technical skills is now available for fostering self-reflection and safety for electricity distribution workers. Future research should assess the long-term effectiveness of high-fidelity simulation for electricity workers, and should investigate non-invasive and real-time methods for tracking physiological parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Non-Technical Skills in Social Networks: The Spread of Safety Communication and Teamwork in a Warehouse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020467 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1741
Abstract
Safety at work should be considered as the result of the daily interaction of operators. The present research wants to analyze which factors are involved in the development of social networks about safety at work. We assumed that two relational non-technical skills, such [...] Read more.
Safety at work should be considered as the result of the daily interaction of operators. The present research wants to analyze which factors are involved in the development of social networks about safety at work. We assumed that two relational non-technical skills, such as safety communication and safety team member support, affect the in-degree and out-degree bonds of workers in social networks. One hundred and eight workers of a warehouse were the participants of the research, in which they were asked to fill out a self-reported questionnaire. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Results confirmed that safety communication and safety support skills play a role in determining the quantity and the quality of social bonds that workers can create at the workplace. To be specific, while safety communication was found to be associated with out-degree centrality (b = 0.24; p = 0.01), a nonsignificant relationship was found for in-degree centrality. In contrast, safety team member support was found to be associated with in-degree centrality (b = 0.28; p = 0.04). In other words, on the one hand, it was found that high levels of safety communication skills are associated with the tendency of workers to proactively search for colleagues with whom they can share information about safety. On the other hand, workers with high levels of safety support skills tend to be considered as reference points in terms of safety by colleagues, who are more prone to look for their help. Implications for both scientists and practitioners are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident: A Longitudinal Investigation on the Antecedents of Safety Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124332 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2146
Abstract
Research recognizes the shared perceptions of the priority attributed to safety in comparison to other organizational goals (i.e., safety climate) as a potential antecedent of safety behavior among construction workers. This type of climate can dismantle barriers to the promotion of effective strategies [...] Read more.
Research recognizes the shared perceptions of the priority attributed to safety in comparison to other organizational goals (i.e., safety climate) as a potential antecedent of safety behavior among construction workers. This type of climate can dismantle barriers to the promotion of effective strategies to mitigate workplace hazards. On the other hand, the current understanding of the underlying process that links the perception of a safety climate to the implementation of safety behavior is far from being exhaustive. Accordingly, this study aimed to explore the role of risk perception and safety knowledge in explaining the positive impact of safety climate before attending a training course (Time 0) and safety behavior after the training completion (Time 1). Data were collected at two time-points on a sample of N = 278 construction workers taking part in different safety training courses promoted by a vocational training organization in Northern Italy. The hypothesized relationships were tested using a serial mediation model bootstrapping approach. The obtained results indicated that the perception of a safety climate at Time 0 (T0) among construction workers is associated with higher risk perception and safety knowledge that, in turn, resulted in a higher implementation of safety behavior at Time 1 (T1). These findings contribute to the understanding of those factors that constitute a fertile ground for preventing injuries and accidents in the construction sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Understanding the Sociocognitive Process of Construction Workers’ Unsafe Behaviors: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051588 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3014
Abstract
Previous literature has recognized that workers’ unsafe behavior is the combined result of both isolated individual cognitive processes and their interaction with others. Based on the consideration of both individual cognitive factors and social organizational factors, this paper aims to develop an Agent-Based [...] Read more.
Previous literature has recognized that workers’ unsafe behavior is the combined result of both isolated individual cognitive processes and their interaction with others. Based on the consideration of both individual cognitive factors and social organizational factors, this paper aims to develop an Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) approach to explore construction workers’ sociocognitive processes under the interaction with managers, coworkers, and foremen. The developed model is applied to explore the causes of cognitive failure of construction workers and the influence of social groups and social organizational factors on the workers’ unsafe behavior. The results indicate that (1) workers’ unsafe behaviors are gradually reduced with the interaction with managers, foremen, and workers; (2) the foreman is most influential in reducing workers’ unsafe behaviors, and their demonstration role can hardly be ignored; (3) the failure of sociocognitive process of construction workers is affected by many factors, and cognitive process errors could be corrected under social norms; and (4) among various social organizational factors, social identity has the most obvious effect on reducing workers’ unsafe behaviors, and preventive measures are more effective than reactive measures in reducing workers’ unsafe behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Article
Influence of Social Safety Capital on Safety Citizenship Behavior: The Mediation of Autonomous Safety Motivation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030866 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2517
Abstract
In recent years, the safety issue of construction workers has become a research hotspot, and many researchers have achieved results in the impact of safety behavior regarding China’s construction industry. However, the existing research about the driving factors of safety citizenship behavior is [...] Read more.
In recent years, the safety issue of construction workers has become a research hotspot, and many researchers have achieved results in the impact of safety behavior regarding China’s construction industry. However, the existing research about the driving factors of safety citizenship behavior is insufficient. To fill this gap, this paper explores the driving factor of safety citizenship behavior from the perspective of social capital theory. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey, involving 311 Chinese construction workers, was conducted to verify the influence of Social Safety Capital on Safety Citizenship Behavior. The results showed that safety citizenship behavior made by workers was significantly related to social safety capital. Autonomous safety motivation mediated the relationships between social safety capital and safety citizenship behavior. Further, this research supports the differences between social safety capital and autonomous safety motivation. Specifically, the paper found that social safety capital had the largest regression coefficient for participation of suggestion-making, and autonomous safety motivation had the largest regression coefficient for the relationship between superior and subordinate by multiple regression analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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Review

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Review
In Search of Concrete Outcomes—A Systematic Review on the Effectiveness of Educational Interventions on Reducing Acute Occupational Injuries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186874 - 20 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2087
Abstract
Education is a common strategy used to prevent occupational injuries. However, its effectiveness is often measured using surrogate measures instead of true injury outcomes. To evaluate the effectiveness of workplace educational interventions, we selectively analyzed studies that reported injury outcomes (PROSPERO ID: CRD42019140631). [...] Read more.
Education is a common strategy used to prevent occupational injuries. However, its effectiveness is often measured using surrogate measures instead of true injury outcomes. To evaluate the effectiveness of workplace educational interventions, we selectively analyzed studies that reported injury outcomes (PROSPERO ID: CRD42019140631). We searched databases for peer-reviewed journal articles and sources of grey literature such as abstracts, registered trials, and theses published between 2000 and 2019. Studies on educational interventions that reported fatal or non-fatal occupational injury outcomes were selected. Two reviewers independently and in duplicate screened the studies, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Heterogeneity in the data precluded meta-analysis, and the results were reviewed narratively. In total, 35 studies were included. Of which, 17 found a significant reduction in injuries, most of which featured a multifaceted approach or non-didactic education. The remaining studies either described equivocal results or did not report statistical significance. Overall, interventions in the manufacturing industry were more effective than those in the construction sector. Risk of bias among included studies was moderate to high. In conclusion, educational interventions could be an effective part of multifaceted injury prevention programs. However, over-reliance on didactic education alone is not advised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-technical Perspectives for Improving Safety in the Workplace)
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