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Safety climate and increased risk: the role of deadlines in design work

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journal contribution
posted on 22.06.2016, 08:35 authored by Kevin Daniels, Nick J. Beesley, Alistair Cheyne, Varuni P. Wimalasiri
Although much research indicates positive safety climate is associated with reduced safety risk, we argue this association is not universal and may even be reversed in some contexts. Specifically, we argue that positive safety climate can be associated with increased safety risk when there is pressure to prioritize production over safety and where workers have some detachment from the consequences of their actions, such as found in engineering design work. We used two indicators of safety risk: use of heuristics at the individual level and design complexity at the design team level. Using experience sampling data (N = 165, 42 design teams, k = 5752 observations), we found design engineers’ perceptions of team positive safety climate were associated with less use of heuristics when engineers were not working to deadlines, but more use of heuristics when engineers were working to deadlines. Independent ratings were obtained of 31 teams’ designs of offshore oil and gas platforms (N = 121). For teams that worked infrequently to deadlines, positive team safety climate was associated with less design complexity. For teams that worked frequently to deadlines, positive team safety climate was associated with more design complexity.

Funding

We would like to acknowledge the support of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant number D04863X).

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

HUMAN RELATIONS

Volume

69

Issue

5

Pages

1185 - 1207 (23)

Citation

DANIELS, K. ... et al., 2016. Safety climate and increased risk: the role of deadlines in design work. Human Relations, 69 (5), pp. 1185-1207.

Publisher

SAGE (© the authors)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2016-03-03

ISSN

0018-7267

eISSN

1741-282X

Language

en