What does being civil have to do with being safe?

What does being civil have to do with being safe

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is not a secret… when the workforce perceives that management considers safety to be as important as production, this is associated with great outcomes.
A group of researchers decided to dig in deeper (1). They collected data from employees working in hazardous jobs and found what they suspected — there is a significant relationship between management commitment to safety and higher worker safety motivation, higher safety participation (safety behaviors that go above and beyond what is required), and lower injuries (1). They took it a step further by examining what these relationships look like when employees report working in a civil environment (one with norms supporting respectful treatment among workgroup members).

The results were fascinating — the relationship between management commitment to safety and the safety outcomes (motivation, behavior, injuries) was
stronger for those working in a unit/workgroup with more civility and weaker for those working in a group with less civility. This means that the way workers treat one another matters.

For tips on how to foster workplace civility, please see our other blog:
kindness is key.

At Propulo Consulting, we care about the health and wellbeing of all workers. We partner with you to improve the world of work using the latest insights from research. Our team has the expertise to help your business build a safer and healthier culture.

(1) McGonagle, A. K., Childress, N. M., Walsh, B. M., & Bauerle, T. J. (2016). Can civility norms boost positive effects of management commitment to safety?. The Journal of Psychology, 150(5), 591-605.