Background Interest is growing in safety as a value in business life. However, there is no generally accepted definition of safety as a value nor a conception of the factors that predict a high value for safety at work. The aim of this study was to examine the different aspects of safety as a value, and to determine the factors that predict that safety will be highly valued in organisations, and the relations between personal values, work values and safety as value. Understanding the factors related to the high value of safety is essential when aiming to improve safety in organisations, since values influence employee perception of safety and safety performance.
Methods We developed a ‘Workplace values and value of safety’ (WVVS) questionnaire based on a literature review and interviews. The questionnaire consists of A) three safety aspects: 1) safety performance, 2) safety values, and 3) factors that strengthen safety as a value; and B) Schwartz’s Basic Human Values Scale (BHVS); and C) a Work Value Survey (WVS). The respondents (n > 1200) are from three Finnish companies from different fields of industries representing different personnel groups. We will use conventional statistical analysis, but also exploratory data-analysis techniques, aiming to identify interesting sub-populations whose behaviour differs from the norm, as well as to form a novel hypothesis regarding the effects of values on occupational safety.
Results The results show the factorial structure of the WVVS questionnaire, reveal the factors that predict a high value for safety, and show the relations between personal and work values and the value of safety.
Conclusions Our results improve understanding of practices that could support, promote and share safety as a value in organisations. We need new tools to share values and encourage members of the organisation to acquire them.
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