Introduction: Previous research has shown that employees who experience high job demands are more inclined to show unsafe behaviors in the workplace. In this paper, we examine why some employees behave safely when faced with these demands while others do not. We add to the literature by incorporating both physical and psychosocial safety climate in the job demands and resources (JD-R) model and extending it to include physical and psychosocial variants of safety behavior. Method: Using a sample of 6230 health care employees nested within 52 organizations, we examined the relationship between job demands and (a) resources, (b) safety climate, and (c) safety behavior. We conducted multilevel analyses to test our hypotheses. Results: Job demands (i.e., work pressure), job resources (i.e., job autonomy, supervisor support, and co-worker support) and safety climate (both physical and psychosocial safety climate) are directly associated with, respectively, lower and higher physical and psychosocial safety behavior. We also found some evidence that safety climate buffers the negative impact of job demands (i.e., work-family conflict and job insecurity) on safety behavior and strengthens the positive impact of job resources (i.e., co-worker support) on safety behavior. Conclusions: Regardless of whether the focus is physical or psychological safety, our results show that strengthening the safety climate within an organization can increase employees' safety behavior. Practical implication: An organization's safety climate is an optimal target of intervention to prevent and ameliorate negative physical and psychological health and safety outcomes, especially in times of uncertainty and change.

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Journal of Safety Research
Department of Public Administration

Bronkhorst, B. (2015). Behaving safely under pressure: The effects of job demands, resources, and safety climate on employee physical and psychosocial safety behavior. Journal of Safety Research, 55, 63–72. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2015.09.002