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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Attention to the part that human behavior plays in occupational safety has increased in recent years. As a result, safety improvement strategies now commonly target employee safety motivation and behavior. This chapter reviews the current employee safety motivation and behavior literature and outlines ways in which the principles of self-determination theory (SDT) can be applied to advance this body of research. In this chapter we argue that SDT provides a theoretical framework that explains how two competing approaches to safety improvement (i.e., behavior-based safety and safety culture/climate) can both be effective at motivating employees to work safely, something that has been missing from much of the literature up until this point. We also present information on the recently developed self-determined safety motivation scale, including initial results of the scale’s psychometric properties. This information, along with a detailed future research agenda, is presented to encourage more SDT-based occupational safety research.

Keywords: safety motivation, self-determination theory, safety behaviors, behavior-based safety, safety culture/climate

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